Millennium Bookball Assembly

George W. Hart

My Millennium Bookball sculpture is a spherical assemblage of sixty wooden "books," five feet in diameter, with bronze connecting "donuts". On Saturday, November 13, 1999, we had a community assembly event at the Northport Public Library in which we successfully built the sculpture.  The picture above shows the result at the end of the day: the sculpture is completed and sitting on a temporary stand, ready to be suspended.  The empty stand can be seen at the far end of the image below.


Above is the start of the event.  We cleared a space and pushed the reading desks together to hold the wooden "books."  I'm the one standing in the space explaining the process to the group.  The sculpture was designed in such a way that a large number of people had to hold the components together in relative position and slide them towards each other simultaneously.

Above is a closer look at the books, or fifty of the many way; the other ten are on another table.  I prefabricated the sixty different books, each carved with the title and author of one of  the best books of the century.  The letters are all gold leafed.

I used six different woods used for the covers: walnut, purpleheart, bubinga, sapele, cherry, and maple.  The "paper" of each book is a birch frame, 8.5x11 inches, and the covers extend a quarter inch in all directions. The above close up shows the cover a walnut book, the end of a maple book below it, and parts of a cherry book behind it.  There is a structural steel rod straight through each book, which slides into holes drilled in the connecting "donuts."

The donuts are laid out on the table here.  These were cast in bronze, then drilled and threaded for set screws that are tightened to lock the rods in place.  Twelve donuts have five holes; twenty have three holes.

Here is the initial step of the assembly.  Four of the books are being assembled into a structure.  (Their rods outline a "golden rhombus".) The participant-assemblers have to hold them together while I kneel down tightening one of the set screws to secure the metal rod. More components were then built in the air and joined together with these.

When enough parts were conjoined, we could put the bottom of the sculpture in the wooden stand and start adding to it. Above is just after the half-way mark.  These are 35 of the 60 books.  We then worked in the air again, assembling the top portion.

Above is the final junction.  The top unit of 25 books has been carried over and is being lowered down over the 35 in the stand.  Ten independent connections must be made---ten rods simultaneously into ten donuts. It took a few tries and many people aiming simultaneously.

Here is the final sculpture, ready to hang.  From left to right are Stephanie Heineman (Northport Library director), Mary Ellen Moll (librarian for Community Services), Sara Bluestone (Huntington Arts Council decentralization coordinator), me (exhausted sculptor), and Eileen Minogue (assistant director).

This project is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Huntington Arts Council. The photos on this page were taken by Mary Ellen Moll and Carol Ghiorsi Hart.  For other photos, see my news clippings page.