June 28, 2006

Potato Guns for Peace

Potato Guns for Peace

Plans for a potato gun

Dangerous things you can find on the Internet [ariel.chico / Flickr]

Scrolling around for potato pictures on Flickr today, we came across these: detailed diagrams for making potato cannons, with instructions in Hebrew. Ariel Schlesinger posted them; he made what he calls his “spudzooka” for an art exhibit in Tel Aviv.

We had to know. What happens when you shoot off an artillery piece in violence-charged Israel and a potato comes out?

Everybody gathered around me [at] a safe distance. I had my protection gear on of course, my really stupid big green ear protectors because I’m really sensitive to loud noise, and this machine makes loud noise.

I explained [to the crowd] that it was very cheap to make. It was only like 50 shekels, which I think is about 12 dollars or something like that. You need plastic pipe, like for plumbing, hair spray, switches, potatoes.

I load the potato, sprayed some hairspray into the chamber, pushed the lighter in and ignited, and of course nothing happened. (Most of the things I build don’t work on the first time.)

Ariel Schlesinger, in a conversation with Open Source, 6/28/06

On Ariel’s third try, it worked, and the potato soared 50 or 60 meters into the sky.

Everybody started to shout ‘Oh we should give [one of these] to the Palestinians! It can be our way of saying — I don’t know the word for it — a demonstration that we’re sharing their problem, that we can identify with them.’

Ariel Schlesinger, in a conversation with Open Source, 6/28/06

Yes, in lefty Tel Aviv, you shoot off a homemade cannon and people actually want to hand them across the checkpoints in a show of solidarity. Go figure.

Audio clips from our conversation with Ariel coming soon.

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