Re-imagining Bertha into artwork

She pushed and clawed and fought her way from one side of Seattle to the other. Now, Bertha might just find a way to stick around.

SEATTLE - She pushed and clawed and fought her way from one side of Seattle to the other. Now, Bertha might just find a way to stick around.

“We're doing our best to show people what's possible,” said landscape architect Guy Michaelsen.

Michaelsen says the world's largest tunnel boring machine is an unsung hero.

“And I think Bertha got a bum rap,” said the urban designer.

Political controversy and mechanical problems overshadowed the massive drill's giant achievements.

“It seems wrong to just cut it up and melt it and have it become something completely new,” said Michaelsen.

Guy has teamed up with artist John Fleming to dream up a new mission for this 6,000-ton engineering marvel.

“And we worked on numerous projects together, and I've admired his work for a long time,” said Michaelsen. “And one of the things John does is just that. He takes old things, in particular, old pieces of steel, and he crafts new, amazing things out of them.”

Michaelsen wants to find a way to tell the story of Bertha and reshaping the city. Perhaps what's left of Bertha could become part of a performance space or public sculpture through the Bertha Art Project.

“What are the pieces we can save, and how can those be re-imagined?” asked Michaelsen.

The huge cutter is being rapidly disassembled and sold for scrap. Guy hopes he can acquire a few pieces.

“Find a place to store them and then let the process play out a little more,” said Michaelsen.

A fitting tribute to a city with a history of redesigning itself.

“This land we're sitting on now was once Elliott Bay,” said Michaelsen. “It was all filled. So, we have this history of reshaping our landscape and Bertha is really just a continuation of that legacy. But the critical thing is to save some of those pieces so that something great can happen.”

Supporters of the Bertha Art Project have set up a Go-Fund-Me page to try to acquire some pieces and set them aside.

© 2017 KING-TV


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