Calgary

Contesty McContestface: City of Calgary wants you to name its latest public art

There are few hard truths in the world, but they do exist: Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line; burrowing owls live in a hole in the ground; don't pee into the wind; 42. A recent addition to that pantheon of truisms is that one should be cautious when asking the internet to name things, but the city appears unaware of the fact.

New sculpture, temporarily titled Ascend, stands adjacent to the Rocky Ridge YMCA

The two sculptures that make up Ascend, standing on a hill by the new Rocky Ridge YMCA. The city wants to hear your suggestions for a new name. (Mike Symington/CBC)

There are few hard truths in the world, but they do exist: Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line; burrowing owls live in a hole in the ground; don't pee into the wind; 42. 

A recent addition to that pantheon of truisms is that one should be cautious when asking the internet to name things, but the City of Calgary appears unaware of the fact. 

Not only that, the city wants the internet to name a piece of public art in a city that, well, perhaps doesn't have the most nuanced view of such things.

Current name: Ascend

Currently, the new work adjacent to the Rocky Ridge YMCA is called Ascend, but the artists behind the large sculpture, Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan, are apparently keen to hear the public's suggestions.

The contest opened Nov. 15, and although a glitch erased the online information for how to enter, the city says it is fixing the problem. Those who want to make a suggestion can email the name to publicart@calgary.ca with the subject line "Rocky Ridge naming contest" before March 1, 2019.

There's a limit of five suggestions per person.

Inspiration

The write-up on the sculpture — actually two sculptures that work together — provides some context. 

"Each sculpture on its own may evoke the shape of a cornucopia — the horn of plenty — to some viewers," reads the blurb on the city website.  

"Viewed from another angle, the sculptures merge into a shape reminiscent of bison horns, or mythical creatures. This form was inspired by the changing shapes of flocks of birds ascending and descending; horns; the movement of herds; the curves of Chinook clouds; and animal nests and dens."

Suggestions to date

There are bound to be submissions along the lines of Arty McArtface — a consequence of the most widely shared name-this-thing contest where the most popular suggestion for a British scientific vessel was Boaty McBoatface.

There's likely to be worse than that. In fact, thanks to social media, there already is. 

Over on Reddit, we have:

  • That Which Collects Plastic Bags.
  • Eyebrows of Doom.
  • Buncha Sticks Standing on Sticks Connected by Sticks.
  • Broken Olympic Dream.
  • Not the Blue Ring.

Twitter was also a-tweetin' with its usual subtle view of the world and suggested things like:

  • Property Tax Hike.
  • Nenshi's Tiara.
  • Tribute to the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos.
  • PM's Eyebrows.
  • Horns of a Doughlemma.

Or just this:

The city says the name submissions will be reviewed by the artists, who will choose the winner. 

To date, they have received 141 emails with a range of one to five name suggestions each. 

The city says the winner of the contest will be announced in the spring, with YMCA gift cards up for grabs. 

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