A man who became trapped inside a remarkable public artwork in Edmonton made up of large silver spheres was arrested shortly after firefighters helped him escape from the structure.
Edmonton firefighters were called to the Talus Dome sculpture around 8.30pm Sunday after a passerby noticed a strange sight.
A man was inside the mound of polished stainless steel balls with no way out.
Connor Schwindt said he was having dinner after Easter outside the sculpture perched on the edge of Fox Drive and the Quesnell Bridge when he noticed a commotion.
Firefighters were trying to extract the man. Schwindt said he asked firefighters if it was a man or an animal trapped inside.
When he learned it was someone inside, he began documenting the incident on his phone and poked his head inside the sculpture to get a closer look.
He said the man inside the structure was starting to panic.
“It was a bit like watching a mouse fall into a bucket,” Schwindt said.
“He was just running inside, starting to panic because he couldn’t get out.”
Police said the man had climbed to the top of the structure and was trapped inside soon after.
To extricate the man, firefighters had to cut into the structure and remove one of the bullets, said Sarah Jackson, spokeswoman for the Edmonton Fire Services.
Three crews, including a technical rescue team, were involved in the call, she said.
No injuries were reported.
Shortly after the man slipped out of the sculpture, he was arrested.
According to police, the man damaged several bullets while climbing to the top of the structure.
The 26-year-old was charged with one count of mischief over $5,000 and later released, police said.
The public art installation has proven polarizing among Edmontonians for years.
Hans Klaver is a fan of the play and went to the rescue scene on Sunday after hearing about it on Facebook.
“I like balls, I’m one of the few people that does, so I went downstairs to have a look. There was a guy inside,” he told CBC News Monday.
“Apparently he climbed somewhere, found a hole big enough to slip through and slipped in. And then he couldn’t get out.”
Klaver said he had admired the shiny chrome display for years and always wondered what it would look like from the inside, but was never “curious or dumb enough” to try it.
He said he met the girlfriend of the man who told Klaver she never thought the scale of the sculpture was a good idea.
“Maybe they should have left him there overnight, you know, threw him a sandwich or something,” Klaver said with a laugh.
“But they saved him.”
The Talus Dome, maintained by the Edmonton Arts Council, is part of the City of Edmonton’s public art collection.
Built in 2011, the structure designed by Californian artists Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues cost around $600,000.
Schwindt said his video of the incident has since gone viral, and it’s no surprise. The installation, often referred to as Talus Balls, has been a divisive issue among Edmontonians for years.
“Seeing a guy trapped in there was weird, but seeing the fallout on social media is even weirder,” he said.
“I mean, it’s so Edmonton,” he said. “How polarizing the Talus Balls are, it’s already funny and to have a dude slipping into them…I just thought it was humorous.”
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