Canadian artist Ken Hall built Legacy based on 3D scans of the skeleton of Hope, an Orca that died on the cost of Washington in 2002
Originally published on http://www.smithsonianmag.com/
November 18, 2016
When Ken Hall first knocked on his neighbors’ door, it wasn’t to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg. He came to ask for the remains of their rotting decks—he needed cedar wood and lots of it.
They asked, “What’s it for?” Quite unexpectedly, he said, “I’m going to build a whale!”
Hall found himself in the midst of this story because of a shift in direction. After 15 years of building 3D worlds for computer games, he wanted to build something that could be touched and seen without a screen. But what?
The Canadian artist
knew he was going to create something big. Hall was drawn to large animals, especially those that had community and social structures, similar to what we know as humans. Hall found a story that caught his attention—it was the story of Hope, an orca that beached and died on the coast of Washington State in 2002. A necropsy found that the female animal contained the highest level of contaminants ever recorded in an orca
, along with signs of significant bone loss and a bacterial infection. The Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) led the effort behind the removal of Hope from the shore, and subsequent necropsy.