In early December, people out for strolls on Yuigahama Beach near Kamakura, Japan, saw something quite unexpected. Surfer Tatsuya Hirata made “first contact,” as it were, with the strange item floating towards the shore. The item? A giant Lego figure made from fiberglass, measuring over eight feet and “dressed” in a red shirt and blue pants. Written on the front of the shirt was the odd phrase, “No Real Than You Are.” On the back read, “Ego Leonard.”
So what”s weirder than a giant Lego person washing up on shore from parts unknown? The fact that this happened before.
The latest Ego Leonard on the Yuigahama beach in Japan. This is the first time an Ego Leonard piece appeared in the Pacific. All others were in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first outsized Lego pulled out of the ocean appeared in the Netherlands off Zandvoort in August 2007. It also bore the “No Real Than You Are” phrase on its torso. The oddly worded phrase was suggested to be a mangled variation of “no more real than you are,” but it”s still unclear as to the meaning behind it. It also bore the phrase “Ego Leonard,” assumed to be the name of the person or group behind the mysterious Lego men. More figures appeared in the following years in Florida (also accompanied by a mysterious email) and England.
Children play with the figure that appeared on Brighton Beach in the U.K.
The figures are made of fiberglass, stand over 8 feet tall, and weigh over 100 pounds.
Some suspected this was a marketing ploy by the Lego company, but their spokespeople denied this. Though no one knows for sure, some have connected Ego Leonard to Dutch artist Leon Keer, whose work features Lego figures and who also partook in the Sarasota Chalk Festival. The arts festival featured Lego figures, as well as phrases similar to and including “No Real Than You Are.” Keer denied being Ego Leonard, but said that he and Ego were close friends.
The Ego Leonard figure that washed ashore in Florida. It was suspected to be connected to the local arts festival, which featured similar imagery by Dutch artist Leon Keer.
The figures were generally a hit with locals, despite their strange appearances and shadowy origins. After all, pretty much everyone loves Legos. There are a few people who offered some UFO-related ideas about the figures; for their part, whoever is behind Ego Leonard seems to encourage this theory. On the Ego Leonard website, Ego”s “biography” states that “according to you [the public] I come from a virtual world. A world that for me represents happiness, solidarity, all green and blossoming, with no rules or limitations.”
So what”s going on with these giant Lego people? Are they a strange new form of guerrilla public art? Are they a publicity stunt? Is Lego Island real? (That”s the one we”re hoping for.) We might never know the answer, but in the meantime, if you find yourself on the beach, keep on the lookout for something big and yellow. You might make a new friend.
(Via Huffington Post)