Good News, Detroit, Your 11 Foot Tall Robocop Statue is Finally Complete
Okay, I have to be real here...when I first saw this headline I was SURE it was an Onion article. After all, discovering that Detroit finally has a long awaited, long anticipated Robocop statue sounds made up. At least to this former Floridian.
It is, in fact, a real story that I found on Metrotimes.com. Now, as someone who is brand new to Michigan I hope you can understand why I've never heard of this. After all, most days my news feed was filled with dumb Floridians doing dumb Floridian things. However, just in case some of my fellow Michiganders were unaware of this dedication to a popular film character, here's how this all started and why it took so long to complete.
How it started:
This month, ten years ago, someone sent a tweet to the Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, pushing the need for a Robocop statue. Why? Because Philadelphia had a statue of Rocky and, apparently, "Robocop would kick Rocky's butt."
Of course, the idea caught on like wildfire, going viral within 24 hours. And when something gets that much attention that quickly it usually prompts ideas for how to keep the buzz going. That's when Brandon Walley, filmmaker, curator and former chair of Imagination Station, became involved. At the time, Imagination Station was commissioning local art projects. In his interview with Metro Time Walley said,
We thought - Whoa, we could really create a big buzz and gain a lot of attention for what we're doing. We might be able to take it to the next level!
Through crowdfunding efforts 2,700 backers pledged over $65,000 in just six weeks.
So, what happened?
Well, backers started wondering the same thing after a year with no statue. Promises were made that the statue would be completed in 2013 but, clearly, it still didn't happen.
Things went wrong along the way, as they always do. The cost of fabrication of the statue was higher than expected, people involved with the project moved, and the person in charge of manipulating the metal, Giorgio Gikas, found himself fighting for his life after a cancer diagnosis. He worked on the statue for nearly 7 years even while battling cancer. Fortunately, today he has a clean bill of health.
Metro Times points this out and I would like to as well: the money was refunded when Walley realized the project would not be completed in a reasonable time. As well, they could've thrown together a haphazard statue that wouldn't have lasted. It sounds like they wanted this project to be done correctly. And now, it's finally done!
Where is the statue going to be?
The question now that the giant Robocop statue is finished is, "Where the heck is this thing going to be placed?" Currently, the statue is living at the Michigan Science Center. They were partners in the project and had planned to install the statue on their grounds after other improvements were made. But, the pandemic slowed their plans financially and it was decided that the cost would be too much.
The Michigan Science Center went on to say,
The creation of the bronze work, which combines centuries-old metalworking techniques with 21st-century technology, remains an amazing STEM story. As Michigan's STEM hub, MiSci hopes to be able to support Imagination Station in the search for a new and appropriate home for this iconic work.
The statue will be removed from the Michigan Science Center to...who knows where? That question remains in the air.
Metro Times did an wonderful job diving into the history surrounding this incredible, albeit bizarre, dedication to something from pop culture. Until the final resting place for this statue is decided we'll all have to continue to practice some patience. After all, it's been 10 years. What's a few more months?
If you're feeling nostalgic for the 1987 flick (or its 2014 remake) here's a little clip to help you feel reminiscent.