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Yes They Can 

Wednesday, Jun 15 2011
Here’s an unlikely combination. The contestants are engineers, designers, architects, and contractors. The material they have to work with is canned (and otherwise packaged) food. The goal is to make sculptures – big sculptures. The result? Stop right there – we know what you’re thinking: some weird Close Encounters thing made of beef stew and refried beans in some madman’s living room. But no. It’s San Francisco Canstruction, an exhibit that makes uncanny (um, sorry) use of the most mundane items. It’s the first time the nationwide food drive and fundraiser has come to San Francisco, but if the images from previous years’ efforts are any indication, it must be seen to be believed. A panda (made from tuna) is surrounded by bamboo trees (made from soup) sitting on a bed of rice (packets). Shepard Fairey’s well-known “Hope” image of President Obama is re-created using various brands of (whoa!) black beans. Giant red and yellow mushrooms (canned salmon in disguise) twist and bend as if they’re alive and dancing. According to the promoters, all the food used in the 14 sculptures was donated, and it will all go to the San Francisco Food Bank when the exhibit closes. Each piece was built in a single day, and awards have been given for structural ingenuity, best use of labels, and (this is our favorite) best meal. According to Lauren Sherman of ZFA Structural Engineers, who’s leading the effort, there’s absolutely no adhesive allowed. So our biggest question is: How did they get some of these things to stand up and hold together? But no one’s saying. You know engineers and architects. They do have their trade secrets.
Thursdays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: June 23. Continues through June 26, 2011

About The Author

Keith Bowers


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