The bronze statue “Finals Week” was moved inside the Salem Campus library over spring break. She stood just outside the library along the curved window pane since 1999.
(Yes, she. Our librarians found a Courier article reporting the artist conceived the statue as a female.)
Chemeketa Connects caught up with Finals Week before and after the move to learn how she felt about the change. While she is just three and a half feet from where she always stood, the move was pretty big deal for a statue who is used to being stationary.
CC: I want to start by acknowledging how awkward it is that we are just meeting for the first time. I’ve bumped into you several times over the years but never bothered to introduce myself. I apologize. May I call you Finals?
Finals: Some people call me “Final Exam” and my hip hop name is “The Ultimate Test.” I have a twin named “Cramming for Finals,” so I’m happy for you to call me Finals. Oh, and don’t apologize for not stopping to talk. I always seem to be in a hurry.
CC: You do appear chronically stressed. What’s going on?
Finals: Well you know I lost my wax core at birth and I’ve struggled to cope ever since.
CC: I imagine the upcoming move isn’t helping is it?
Finals: I’m ambivalent right now. I mean, you know change is hard for me. I’ve been standing in the same place for over 17 years for cryin’ out loud.
But that’s just the thing. I can’t cry out loud. I’ve had no way to express remorse when people turn that corner and either face plant into this stack of books or do a quick little two-step to avoid a collision.
I die a little inside every time I hear someone gasp or see their fear. It’s not great for building self-esteem you know? I know only emptiness or distress. So maybe I’ll feel more welcome in my new home. I can see inside the library out of the corner of my eye and it looks like a quiet, orderly place.
CC: So after multiple incidents over the years, why move now?
Finals: I hear the rumors whenever someone calls me a hazzard. The Oregon Commission for the Blind persisted in advocating for my change of venue. I understand the Americans with Disabilties Act was amended since I got here, so the move is legally necessary.
CC: Were you consulted?
Finals: No. Let’s not dwell on that oversight. I’m trying to have a positive attitude about change.
Good people were involved: Phil Wright from facilities; Don Brase and Kay Bunnenberg from arts and humanities; Mack Holman my creator; Rebecca Hillyer, legal counsel; Karen Alexander, disability services; Allen Bunch, risk management; Jill Ward, I’ve lost track of what she does now; and Natalie Beach, my new landlord; speaking, well, figuratively because I can’t pay rent.
A crew of four men from Omega Morgan moved Finals Week on Wednesday, March 29. The process took over 5 hours. Chemeketa Connects checked in with Finals throughtout the day beginning when she was rigged up to a gantry in preparation for the move.
CC: How are they treating you?
Finals: Given how they understand load, force and balance they must have a masters in applied physics but look at me. I’m strung up like some old-time criminal about to hang from the gallows.
Some guys are downstairs right now in the Teaching and Learning Department unscrewing the nuts that bolt me to the floor. This sling they wrapped around me feels secure like a diaper, but I’m worried about my stability.
CC: Have they explained the process to you?
Finals: Not directly. But I heard they are going to lift me up so the bolts in my boots come out of the floor. Then they are going to lay me down on some dollies and wheel me into the library. Then they’ll hoist me up on the gantry again and lower me back down into new holes drilled into the library floor.
Meanwhile, James Berndt is running over to Building 20 with the steel plate that used to secure me to the floor. It has to be modified to fit into its new location.
CC: Wow, that sounds like a complex yet precise procedure. They have to handle you delicately because you are a piece of fine art, though you are also quite a load. Mind if I ask how much you weigh?
Finals: (Sighs.) Do we have to go there? Have I no privacy? Must I lose my dignity as I lose my place in the world? Fine. I weigh the same as I did when I got here 17 years ago. Who can say that? I don’t eat but I don’t exercise either. My magic metabolism has kept me at about 300 pounds all these years.
The interview went south from that point so we’ll let Finals narrate her own story through the pictures and videos below.