A sculptor laid out his tools in front of a blank block of marble. He closed his eyes and envisioned the finished product. He wanted to carve a bust of Pallas. Why not? They’re all the rage these days, and he could sculpt like no other, creating a truly unrivalled Athena. He set to work carving, and within a few hours he had a beautiful sculpture. He gave it to a museum to display, but they rejected the piece. The letter from the curator said that marble sculptures were tired and cliched. They were looking for pieces carved from new, exciting materials like thorium.
The sculptor, not one to be easily rebuffed, put on his best HAZMAT suit and started carving a new sculpture from thorium. The new sculpture was just like the old one, only with a silvery metallic colour, and the inconvenient habit of causing anyone who directly touched it to grow a third arm. The sculptor sent this one in, too, but received it back with another letter from the curator. This letter, written in very shaky handwriting, said that he liked the artistic statement the sculpture made, but it doesn’t demonstrate new horizons in the craft of sculpting. It uses the same old techniques that everyone’s been using for hundreds of years. The letter suggested that the sculptor try something innovative. Read the rest of this entry »