Thursday, February 2, 2012

My travelogue documents the places I went within a Saturday. I walked around Monroe Park, around the campus buildings and surrounding streets, as well as Belle Isle. I chose these places because they are where I spend most of my time in Richmond.

 In these two pictures, the cracks in the cement show the natural breakdown of manmade structures. Cement borders and walkways around the grassy areas of the park are meant to keep nature bound. However, in the picture to the left, grass is growing from the cracks. Nature always finds a way.

This is a picture of a line made by a bicycle tire. It reminded me of Richard Long's A Line Made By Walking, which I think is one of the most interesting expressions of earth art. It shows that both man and nature wear down on each other.

These two boards had been propped up against the trunk of an enormous oak tree in Monroe Park. I liked the juxtaposition of the sturdiness of the tree next to the breakage of the boards.

I found this interesting because the plant is growing within the tree. One can't know whether this is a naturally occurring event or whether someone planted it with this specific intention. Either way, I've only seen plants growing from these hollows a couple times before.

On arriving to Belle Isle, I saw the rise in the concrete, which reminded me of tectonic plates colliding and creating rifts, as well as earthquakes, which also cause things like this to happen. However, since most earthquakes don't severly affect the Richmond area, I assume that this rift is naturally occuring.

These two pictures (above and to the left) show the overtaking of the base of the bridge by ivy and/or vines. The structure is being reclaimed by the nature upon which it has imposed.
This stump, which has been pruned down to nubs, was growing (or used to grow)
between the concrete border of the Belle Isle parking lot and the dirt around the inside of the parking lot.
The above pictures show two manmade paths. The one to the left is the path that leads up to the walking bridge, which some people use instead of the concrete walkways up to the bridge. The one on the right is a path at the base of the supports of the railroad tracks, and it leads down to the water. Both of these were made by walking, which again reminded me of Richard Long. I find these kinds of paths to be the most simplistic form of earth art.

When walking across the bridge to Belle Isle, one can see the stone structures
that were presumably the supports for an old bridge. The water has gradually broken
these down, and this particular one has begun to lean as a quarter of its base has fallen off.

This metal frame (above and to the left)  has begun to rust and vines and ivy climb up, down and over it. The juxtaposition of the metal against the vines is really striking. 
This tree below was broken a quarter of the way up its trunk, where most of the bark had fallen off and some had bent out at an awkard angle. It's kind of like a natural overpass.

This metal pole stands erect in the ground, like a tree. When I saw it, it almsot seemed like it was growing from the ground, like a metal plant. 

In the middle of the ground, I found this concrete tomb-like depression,
inside and over which plants were growing.

These four pictures (above left, below right) depict a single brick wall which stands abandoned on Belle Isle. Parts of it have been knocked down, as shown in the bottom right pictures.

This picture is one of my favorites of the day. These bricks are covered in moss and seem to just be growing out of the earth. Another thing that is really cool about this is that the bricks border a small cave.

These pictures (two left, one above) depict tunnel-like structures. The one above and the one to the immediate left are the same tunnel made out of metal. The one to the bottom left seems carved out the stones above it. These reminded me of Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels.

There are a lot of wooden posts used as steps on Belle Isle because of the steep landscape. The steps have to conform to the earth, rather than the other way around.

During warm weather, a lot of people draw on the rocks at the edge of the river. Here is the faded chalk drawing of a butterfly. A once vibrant human creation has been dulled by the wind and the rain.

This boulder has been manipulated by man to also be a cupholder.
It has also been decorated with a pictograph. Man has bent nature to his will once again.

Walking down Pine St, I saw this on this side of a brick wall. A tiny plant has managed to grow within this old rusted pipe. I like it because it's like the plant is just rising from the depths of manufactured goods.

This image reminded me of an ashtray. A portion of brick is missing from the sidewalk, which makes the sand beneath it visible. Right in the middle of the sand lies a cigarette. It's almost the perfect image for our generation. I've known many people to steal bricks from the sidewalk (for whatever reason), and most kids smoke now, and most litter.

This is another of my favorites. This is the perfect image for decay:
a half-eaten, rotting pear being slowly devoured by ants.

I found this while walking on Grove Avenue. I really liked the juxtaposition of the orange peels against the brick, both in color and manufacturing. It reminded me of a compost heap, but in the middle of the sidewalk.

This board was the only board in a tall wooden fence that had warped and bent out of uniformity.
I really like the curviture of its line compared tor the straight lines of the rest of the fence

Vines and ivy growing over buildings and fences have always seemed really beautiful to me; I love the collision of nature and structure. Here, I like it even more because it spans across not only a fence, but the brick building, too.

I took a picture of th bottom of this structure, the top of which is used as an ashtray, because I like the way the rust is bleeding from the holes. It almost personifies it - like thsoe holes are puncture wounds.

Usually, these are used to desginate parking spots, but these turtarriers have been placed in odd positions, so that one can't really use them to park. I thought that was really interesting; why would someone waste the money to get them there if they weren't to be used in the typical fashion? it is even more interesting because it is in a perfectly functional parking lot.

This last picture was taken on the fire escape of my apartment building. Thes tain is from human defecation. While the matter is no longer there, the mark remains, and probably will for a very long time since no rain can reach it.

Through this travelogue, I have become much more attentive to the world around me, especially the interactions between manmade things and nature. What most interested me was the decay of things, the impermanence of everything, and I think I would like to involve time or permanence in my final project.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice pictures. My favorite one is the picture of the metal pole that seems to be growing out of the soil. I also liked the re-occurrence of pathways with the entire series.