At first glance, and even on closer inspection, it’s hard to tell that Belgian art collective Captain Boomer’s beached whale sculpture is actually art installation and not the real thing. The extremely realistic and life-sized sculpture “washed up” on the shores of the river Thames for the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, just days ago. The shocking, life-like sculpture was accompanied by a team from the British Divers Marine Association who answered questions on what to do if you are to ever come across a real beached whale.

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Photo: Mike King

One day before the Docklands International Festival began, the giant whale was craned-in and placed along the shore of the Thames in Greenwich. The purposeful placing right on the water’s edge was staged to seem like a real whale beaching and included a team of actors who acted like scientists, surveying the site and performing investigations on the condition of the animal. The performance was meant to rouse the community, cause an interaction between the faux-whale and onlookers, and to instigate the feeling of wanting to help.

The rouse, however, wasn’t immediately given away, and many spectators ended up believing that the sperm whale was real. After the beaching performance, the whale sculpture was moved to a grassy knoll on the festival grounds, where it remained for the duration of the event.

Captain Boomer has previously staged other beachings of the whale sculpture around Europe, in an attempt to not only educate people but also to give members of each community a link to nature.

+ Greenwich and Docklands International Festival 

Via My Modern Met

Lead Image © Stu Mayhew