By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Normally the tool of metalworkers or vengeful cartoon characters, anvils don’t often turn up in day-to-day life. Unless you happen to pass Leg-In-Boot Square, where Maskull Lasserre’s colossal installation “Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea” arrived last fall. It’s part of the Vancouver Biennale, a public art exhibit that brings large-scale sculptures to the city’s streets. And although its landing place may seem haphazard, the aptly named square was actually once a place of industry, home to boat builders and stevedores. (It was also where a boot with a leg still in it was displayed in 1886, in hopes that the owner might return to claim it—hence the name.) The prodigious art piece isn’t just a nod to the past—it’s a tool-turned-instrument, thanks to the delicate violin f-hole that slices through the anvil’s centre. Put your ear to it and tune in to the sounds of the ocean, just as you would a conch shell. Hear that? It’s the sound of the area’s sea-bound past and future.