Fire Symbolic Clay Projectiles Using a Medieval Weapon At Riverrock This Weekend

by | May 14, 2014 | POLITICS

This year at the 2014 Dominion Riverrock fest, you will have a chance to load small symbolic projectiles into a ballista and fire them at a clay wall.


This year at the 2014 Dominion Riverrock fest, you will have a chance to load small symbolic projectiles into a ballista and fire them at a clay wall.

This large-scale public monument will be created through performance art by veterans and anyone else who wants to commemorate a loved one’s military service. The Veteran’s Impact Project will take place on Saturday, May 17 from 12:00 – 6:00 pm. and Sunday, May 18 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm. Art on Wheels, the organization behind the project, is collaborating with sculptor James Robertson to make it all happen.

Registered participants will operate a Roman siege device called a ballista to hurl objects symbolic of military service into large clay walls. The result of the process will be a 3 x 15 ft relief sculpture honoring military service. The sculpture will be permanently installed for public display.

Andrea Orlosky, executive director of Art on Wheels, is excited to be a part of a project that not only honors veterans in conjunction with Armed Forces Day, but also includes them in the making of the piece. “We are hoping to have about 150 veterans,” she said, “And we will have as many people in addition to that as we have time for.”

Anyone can register to honor a veteran, and group registration is available. “If there is a veteran in your family or you have a friend who is a veteran, you can actually register to fire the ballista in their honor as long as you have the military service information that we need for the monument plaque,” said Orlosky. You can register here. Registration will also be open during the event.

The Veteran’s Impact Project is about celebrating veteran’s military service and gives veterans a platform to communicate to a broader audience about their experiences. “We wanted to create a project that allowed people who have hidden struggles and difficulties that are not always recognized to react to that experience with force,” Orlosky said. Veterans were first asked to identify symbols of military service. Those symbols were then cast into small projectile objects so that veterans and community members who want to honor a veteran at the event can choose the military symbols that speak to them. Then they will load those symbols into the ballista and fire them at the clay wall.

Preparation for the event is underway. The ballista has already been created, and the projectiles are almost complete. “We are currently very busy making the symbols of military service,” said Orlosky, “And we are in the process of testing the ballista to figure out exactly the distance and angles to ensure that when a veteran or community member fires the ballista, they will hit the target most of the time.”

Orlosky is looking forward to the “infantry unit” the most. “Objects too large to be cast and fired out of the ballista are going to be part of what we call the ‘infantry unit,’” said Orlosky, “For example, a World War II helmet, a casing for a mine, things like that. The veterans will be able to actually pick out the object and pound it into the wall. I think it will be fascinating to watch—quite the spectacle.”

Registration is free, and anyone who is a veteran or looking to honor a veteran is encouraged to participate in The Veteran’s Impact Project at Dominion Riverrock on Saturday, May 17 from 12:00 – 6:00 pm. and Sunday, May 18 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at BradKutnerNPR@gmail.com




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