Manhole 452 – Jeanne C Finley + John Muse

Monday, April 18, 2011

by Leah Garchik

The arts:

— “Manhole 452,” Jeanne Finley and John Muse’s exhibition at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery until mid-May, combines a series of charcoal and graphite drawings of Geary Street manhole covers with their 12-minute film about the possibility that those covers will blow up. (Most fascinating footage was of covers that seemed to be tap dancing in place, their movement caused by pressure building below, the “music” based on clanging.)

In a 2005 real-life incident at Post and Kearny, an explosion resulted in a flying manhole cover. In the movie, the narrator was in his Volvo when a flying manhole became wedged in the roof, an incident that wasn’t fatal because (1) it didn’t happen; (2) those Swedes are good on roofs.

The narrator becomes obsessed with the possibilities of future flying covers. The “452” is the number of manholes he counts along Geary as he rides the bus west from downtown.