March 23, 2004 - Ed Meets Wind-A-Ma-Jig
Next to the play structure at Goleta Beach stands a work of art called Wind-A-Ma-Jig. It is a ground-based wind actuated mobile consisting of wind-driven cones rotating around several axes. It makes noise by striking mallets against different sized pipes. The wind pulls one of the 4 mallets away from its pipe until the mallet can’t stand it any longer. Finally, it breaks free and flies toward the pipe with speed. Bong. Ding.
It sounds more like a buoy than a song. If it was a song, it be a Who song.
“Keep me movin', groovin', groovin', yeah
Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile ...”
And, the cones would start spinning faster and faster, and Pete Townsend would smash his guitar against the sand until everything exploded into a fiery blaze.
I guess we should be thankful that it is not a song, just “Bing, Bong, Dong, Bing, Dong, Dong.”
The statue is was created by George Rhoads, an artist whose works are on display in many places including the New York Museum on Modern Art, LAX, and the Santa Barbara Airport. Rhoads now lives in Ithaca, NY - the home of Cornell University and the Moosewood Restaurant. He shows a bunch of his art on his website.
David Bermant, partriarch of the Santa Barbara development company, brought the statue to Santa Barbara in 1990. He has since passed away, and today his sons Jeff and Andrew are the “TARGET” of much controversy. The elder Bermant was a shopping center developer in his time as well. He liked to install nontraditional art at his centers. In a number of instances in the Midwest, he incited a great deal of public outrage. Wind-A-Ma-Jig was a little controversial in its day as well. Today, there are just a lot of people who don’t like it.
The Santa Barbara airport hosts one of his more popular pieces. It is the Good Time Clock IV that sits outside in the back waiting area. It doesn’t keep very good time, but it is one. A bunch of balls are conveyed up to the top of a ramp so they can travel down using any of a number of different paths. The balls bounce off of things and into things making a series of dings and bongs just like the mobile. If there were a song, it would be “Let the Good Times Roll” … but we’ll spare you the lyrics.
Another George Rhoads mobile can be found at Leadbetter beach, between the restaurant and the bathrooms. This one makes no noise.
The dedicated staff of edhat.com made a quick phone call to Rhoads at his Ithaca studio. He was rather quiet. He lets his art do the talking (and binging and bonging). One piece of info that he did share with us was that he had not been to Santa Barbara for “5 or 6 years”.
Many edhat.com subscribers correctly identified the statue and correctly identified either the airport or Leadbetter beach as the location of another Rhoads sculpture. EdBoo and PoloLady correctly identified the locations and guessed 1998 as the last time the artists was here in town. A random drawing chose EdBoo as the winner. Boo gets to choose between a coffee card and movie ticket coupons. Gone with the Wind?
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