The Big Shot Rocker is the first “piece of sculpture” by an installation builder, and it’s a throwback in more ways than one. Socrates Sculpture Park, The Big Shot Rocker, and the process of the sculpture’s construction converge under the rubric of pioneering. Socrates Sculpture Park is a beachhead of Manhattan in the outer boroughs. Its founders still arrive by outboard motorboat from south of Houston street. Forbidden by charter from seeking profit, these colonists are simply missionaries. Terretorial conflicts are still in the future; land grabbers are yet to come.

It’s hard not to think back five generations here to the port my people passed through on their way to the Midwest. It’s hard not to, with the frontier conditions at the Park working outdoors among wary natives on a raw piece of land with no municipal utilities.

While being built, the sculpture took on the forms of 19th-century engineering: the ironwork bridges, the bicycle wheel, the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

The Big Shot Rocker is a passenger ship for a reverse migrant arriving wide-eyed from California. Is sails upriver, reflecting air, canceling skyscrapers and factories to repeat, with its bobbing approximations, water power, muscle power, horizon.