Orb-shaped ark placed in Duluth Harbor Tuesday sinks


"It is the wreck of the Ark of the Anthropocene and it will float again."

Those are the words of Minneapolis artist Sean Connaughty, speaking via Facebook after his art/eco biosphere project was pulled from the bottom of Lake Superior just two days after it began floating there.

The ark – a concrete-and-glass ball which contains a multitude of plants and artifacts, creating a diverse biosphere – was dropped in the waters of Duluth Harbor (near the Great Lakes Aquarium) Tuesday, and Northland's News Center reported it was expected to remain there for four to six weeks.

But by late Wednesday, Connaughty began noticing it sink as he was swimming nearby, doing checks on his project, the Duluth News Tribune reports. He told the paper it sank quickly, and was likely due to damage from the shackles used to lift it, causing an air leak. He has a close-up of the damage on Facebook.

Two divers went in the water to help rescue the ark, Connaughty explained on Facebook, and a crane was used to lift it out of the water. The ark had filled with water and weighed a whopping 13,000 pounds when it was pulled out – way above its initial weight of about 4,000 pounds.

When the 7-foot-wide sphere hit the sidewalk – where it sits now, in a holding cradle – the water came gushing out.

Connaughty said it's mostly intact however, and hopes to salvage it, the News Tribune reports.

He initially raised more than $4,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to get it from his home in Minneapolis to Lake Superior.

The ark precedes an exhibit Connaughty has opening at the Duluth Institute of Arts on Sept. 11.

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