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Rubber Duck afloat in the Garden Expo Lake

 

One of Dutch artist Floretijn Hofman's celebrated Rubber Ducks has arrived in Beijing, and is now inflated for public viewing. Shortly after the International Garden Expo opened its doors, a small crowd worked its way to where the duck contentedly floated at the northern end of Expo Garden Lake.

 

The 18-meter-tall duck is the third largest of Hofman's series. The largest duck, presented in France in 2007, was 32 meters tall.

 

Like Hofman's Big Yellow Rabbit, the simply named Rubber Duck impacts the eye and mind in a way that is surprisingly fresh. Indomitably happy and cute, Hofman claims that the duck has healing properties. "It can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!"

 

And of course the rubber fowl also challenges the public to reconsider our presumptions about context: what sorts of objects belong in what sort of spaces. The duck has a reputation for reshaping iconic city skylines. In Hong Kong, some people even went so far as to say that the city would never be the same. However, in Beijing the duck has been relegated to a somewhat far-off corner of the city. The more cynical may say that it's just an excuse to get people out to the very new and somewhat pricey International Garden Expo.

 

Still, a lot of people have already shown themselves willing to make the trek out. A lady surnamed Li was one of many amateur photographers who were on the scene. "It's a rubber duck. And it's fun" she stuttered before laughing, "I don't know anything more than that!" It seemed that no visitors required any intellectual analysis to enjoy the duck's presence. Nor did the duck; smiling constantly, even though its beak was under-inflated.

 

The entrance fee to the International Garden Expo is 100 yuan and the nearest subway station is the Garden Expo Park Station, located on Line 14.