Constructed in 1913, the Whaleman lives in Downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts, just outside the New Bedford Public Library.
The monument features a whaler at the stern of his boat, poised to strike a whale with his sharp harpoon. The statue honors those who lost their lives in the whaling industry, and whose prosperity built the New Bedford community.
I’ve been thinking about monuments recently. While I love looking at monuments, often I feel like an outlier. I don’t get the feeling many people care about momuments, often not acknowledging their very presence. I became curious, about one of New Bedford’s iconic monument, the Whaleman.
Have New Bedford residents become numb to the monument’s existence? Are monuments becoming a thing of the past? Are people simply neglecting the art installed in communities across the country? Are we too busy with our digital lives to stop for one second and look at the world around us?
I don’t really know the answer, but I wanted to perform a simple experiment.
I spent an hour in Downtown New Bedford to produce this film. I was curious about the relationship people had with this statute. I wanted to see how everyday people respond when walking near the Whaleman Monument. This short film captures the essence of the statue and the relationship it has with today’s residents.