[As part of the installation crew for House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective, technician Phil Docken is charged with the intricate assembly of Bat Project IV. This is the first installment of his ongoing documentation of the process. He’s the guy in the striped shirt.]
The nose of a Lockheed EP-3 arrived at the Walker this summer. It will be the forward section of Huang Yong Ping’s Bat Project, a reference to the infamous incident of 2001 off the coast of China.
Our plane had been cut into seven pieces at the bone-yard in California and arrived in a jumble at the museum. Re-assembly plates accompanied the jumble and I set about learning how to put the nose of the surveillance plane back together. I cleared out leaves, dust, Pepsi cans and bugs which were testimony to the length of time this plane had sat waiting for H Y Ping to designate it as part of an art work.
Photos show the center section swinging from a gantry. We listen to Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew while we figure out the next step. We’re swingin’ too!
And we are having fun. This is a brush with greatness! Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works designed and built the SR-71, the fastest and sleekest aircraft ever made……..
Fast? Yes. Those SR-71 pilots had their own Psalm: “…yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I shall fear no evil. For I am at 82,000 ft and climbing…’ “