Old.World.ErosionPublicerad den 4 oktober 2009 klockan 19:39 av Mikael
It feels like I’m a day behind with the blogging. It might’ve had something to do with all the ‘Big Baby Spritzers’ I drank in Kalamazoo on friday night, but I swear I was working!
You see, I only get to abuse my local crew on the weekends because they have things like jobs, children, hobbies and pets. So by the time Saturday rolls around, I have every second of their precious free-time already mapped out for them. I’m a natural co-dependent.
On thursday I made the long trek to a place called ‘Look-Out Hill’. There had been a lot of buzz about it being a big ArtPrize venue. I should’ve read the ArtPrize map instead of just walking there (sigh…men). I originally planned to walk around and photograph some artwork and scout for new locations for the army of babies. What happened was I started seeing familiar places from my childhood. Sometimes I get this magical, prickley/tickley sensation as if a dream is opening itself into my waking life. I know how that probably sounds to rational people but I’ve learned to respect an pay attention to this feeling whenever it comes around. To make a short story shorter, I aloud myself to wander into my old world for a day.
When I finally arrived at Look-Out-Hill, about all I found was a bench…
…I nearly blew milk out my nose…
The view was not very interesting – but I would like to know the backstory behind this pair of blue-jeans.
I kept walking…down the hill…and over the railroad tracks…
up the stairs through the woods…
Finally I arrived at the house I lived in from 1969 – 1984.
I knocked on the door but no one answered.
Here’s my old basketball hoop.
At this point, you may be wondering what this has to do with art or culture. There’s a strong chance that it has nothing to do with anything. I have found that turning the soil from my past oftentimes reveals forgotten treasures and even new insights. At any rate, it’s all part of the process that leads to what the fancy people call ‘art’.
In the photograph below is a pile of trashbags filled with household garbage. In 1978 (I was eight years old), my mom helped me call the EPA (environmental protection agency) so that I could tell them that people were dumping garbage and broken glass in the woods where I played. The next week they came and installed a ‘no dumping’ sign in the exact spot where this photograph was taken. I was SO PROUD of that.
I spent most of my childhood playing alone in these woods. It was my own magic place and I knew every branch of every tree. As I walked beneath the twinkling green canopy, I felt the same spirit of the woods that I had felt so many years before. The trees had grown into giants and about 15 meters of the hill had eroded toward the house, leaving only a fraction of the flat ground that used to be there. For a minute I had been transported back to beautiful summer days spent swinging like a monkey in my Mullberry trees.
…and then I looked down.
There was garbage EVERYWHERE.
These two photographs were taken almost exactly 32 years apart in the exact same spot.
I kept walking down the hill to Highland Park where we used to go swimming. For the most part it looked the same. The interesting thing is that I never realized what a dump it was. As kids, we used to call this dirty stretch of water ‘the crick’.
It was actually sewer run-off.
I walked another few blocks down the road, excited at the possiblity of going into my old elementary school and taking photographs there. The building was locked up and for sale. Oh well…so much for childhood.
- Jonathan, out