Monday, March 21, 2011

Tacky isn't just American

On Saturday Kyra went to London with a friend (they saw Wicked - you feel sorry for her I know).

Kyle wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to tour without whiny kids.  He decided what he wanted to do was go see a monastery on the coast of Belgium.  It is called Ten Duinen Abbey.   The actual abbey no longer exists, it is in ruins and has over time been the study of archeologists.  On the site there is a museum which is fairly decent that explores monastic life during the abbey's most prosperous times.

While it was a good museum and mostly interesting, I doubt we will take any guests there.  It wasn't extraordinary and worth a special trip in comparison to other locations accessible from our house.

What was notable was our experience of visiting the abbey's ruins.  Amongst the bricks and stones was a bunch of colorful plastic.   The plastic took the form of bunnies - extra large and large, seals (red) and Franciscan monks (also red).

Incongruent is the word that comes to mind.

I do need to note that the abbey was a Cistercian monastery so even the giant red monks didn't really go with the setting (as if giant red monks have a natural habitat).

The children did enjoy climbing on the plastic but that really seemed to be its only value.

On our way out we did stop by the visitors' center to see if these giant plastic things had any particular significance.  There was a written explanation.  It was an art installation called PET THERAPY.  PET is some acronym for recycled plastic.  The theme was caring for the earth and taking care of living things.

 There was a significance to the forms of a bunny, seal and monk and a reason that the bunnies were multi colored but that the seals and monks were only red.  I don't remember because I pretty much got the sense that they were making up reasons for the significance of these details as they were going along.

I found that giant plastic kind of distracted from the ruins but I did take comfort in the fact that apparently Americans aren't the only ones who are tacky.

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