Artistic protest at SLO Veterans Memorial Building is short-lived but pointed

On Wednesday afternoon, Dante Iniguez fumbled to attach four 40-inch silver mylar balloons on long tangled strings to the gun shaft of the tank at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Memorial Building.

The letter-shaped balloons spelled an artistic political statement: HOAX.

The project was meant to call attention to the sensationalism of the recent “balloon boy” media frenzy and priorities in news.

“The war in Iraq, specifically,” Iniguez said. “It basically was a hoax. We were lied to as a country. Why was the balloon boy so popular when people are still dying in Iraq?”

Iniguez, a 23-year-old Cal Poly student, created the installation in response to an assignment for his Art Theory and Practice class.

However, the installation was short-lived — at five minutes, it was too fleeting to enrage veterans or engage passersby.

In fact, Iniguez detached the balloons in order to untangle and rearrange them more clearly, and while passing the cumbersome letters to his assistant, Mai-Chi Vu … up and away floated H-O over a tree and into the sky.

“Oh no,” Iniguez gasped, and then couldn’t help but laugh. “It was cool for like 10 minutes.”

A failed art project?

A hoax?

“It was an accident,” Iniguez said.

It seems The Tribune was the only witness to the project.

And fortunately, no reports emerged of small children in tow.