Urban Archeology

cat graffiti

I’ve passed over this piece of sidewalk graffiti more times than I can count and each time I have wondered about the circumstances of its making. And no, the image isn’t reversed as the “words” scrawled into the concrete would suggest. What do they say and to whom? The whole reminds me of ancient Roman graffiti – but one doubts it will last as long…

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Empty – Week 2

empty city

 having not played enough as children,
city officials create “recreational” installation in downtown core

All the action must have been on another street. Just a typical Saturday morning in the middle of town but there wasn’t even the blur of movement. It was as if, for just one moment, everyone had decided to sleep in, roll over, put it off, get just another five minutes before cramming in their weekend errands. That’s just the way we like it and one of the reasons we’re craving a return to the core of the city.

Someone artsy, and definitely with connections to the adjoining culture museum, thought that it would be a brilliant idea to squeeze in a little play-space between some of the office towers. Accessible to the office drones for their smoke-breaks or to unwrap some fast-food during a too short 1/2 hour lunch, it seems contrived rather than spontaneous, synthetic and linear despite the half-hearted use of organic shapes. We couldn’t find that little white plastic sheet defining the area’s use but imagine it might have said something like

“So and So’s work discards the traditional to become the site of poetic transformation. Stopping to encounter each work, the viewer is obliged to reimagine the nature of the the city and its change from a passive to an active space.”

Yep. A bit barren that particular morning, we did like the orange astroturf carpet circles….

“How does empty look to you?” – the glass half-filled, a bathtub drained, a look that’s lost or filled with pain, crumbs of cake, that last bite, big blue skies over a big blue lake – We would love to see your vision…

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Travel Theme: Big

big

big plans for a big hole become a big condo
big change in the neighbourhood

Have a look at this location one year ago at A Word a Week Photography Challenge – Worker then go and live large in the entries of Where’s my backpack?’s Travel Theme: Big.

Story Challenge: Tagged “U”

Tagged U

Uri, Uri, look Up there
it’s Ulla in her Underwear
Understand she’s incomplete
pink Unmentionables
in the street
Ultra heels Unlawful high
Unkempt adolescents sigh
Umpteen grannies look in awe
Unbelievable
what they saw

!!!

Unlock the entries in Frizztext’s Story Challenge: Letter “U”.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Random

random

waiting for the bus

In this part of the world, the seasons dictate just how far Across the Bored strays from the comforts of home. In winter, when everything is literally snowed in, we have every excuse to hibernate and apply ourselves to tasks close at hand (or keyboard) but once the sun exposes dusty corners and dog nose prints on windows those indoor pursuits are quickly abandoned. A northern climate can be intense in its fluctuations – one week we are parking-wearing warriors the next everyone has stripped down. In this city the joke runs that as soon as the temperature hits 50F (10C) everyone takes their clothes off and the first thing they do is get out and about to see what has changed since last summer.

That’s exactly what we did: one day not to any place in particular and the next to a destination decidedly more tourist-oriented but on both occasions good weather made us like a kid in a candy shop –  armed with nothing more cumbersome than a phone camera and a few bucks for a gelato and a cold drink, everything looked vividly different.  Excursions should be veritable voyages of discovery, no matter how dull the reason for going out in the first place, no matter how pedestrian, no matter how routine. We just have to open our eyes to opportunity and see things in a different light. The Two Cents Tuesday Challenge throws down the gauntlet to look at your world and find things that are odd, out of context  – Random.

“How does random look to you?” –  A mess on the floor, wildly painted door, clouds in the sky or the reflection in her eyes, an arrangement of fruit or toe of a boot…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Graffiti

graffiti

many hands make light work

A few decades ago musicians playing a gig in the city would roll into a little motel with an exotic name just off the highway. It was far enough away from the downtown core that they could kick back after a show with a bottle, or something more nefarious, and make some noise long into the night without incurring the wrath of any neighbours or a visit from the police. Originally built to resemble its classic American counterparts complete with two-tier attached guest rooms, lots of parking and the requisite umbrellas and beach chairs around the pool, it never seemed to attract the wholesome family tourists its architecture aspired to. As the years passed it came to be known as that seedy place at the end of the strip where businessmen in ill-fitting suits with bulging breast-pockets, card sharks and other creatures of the night could skulk in and out in quiet anonymity.

At one point, the motel was taken over by new management but a change of name and a taller sign by the side of the road did little to change the sketchy nature of the place. With the passing of the seasons things got a little more run-down, the paint on the guest room doors started to fade and peel and the little restaurant that had once boasted a “home-cooked” breakfast served its last cup of coffee – we knew the end was near when we could see mattresses stacked against the walls of the now empty party room through the long-unwashed windows. From one day to the next it closed – no fanfare, no hue and cry from the long-time residents who had been swindled out of their trust funds, the shady ladies long-past their prime or the substance abusers with no where else to go. Like so many landmarks it just faded, still visible on the perimeters but a hollow shell of another more prosperous time. Various plans to convert the boarded-up buildings into a small hotel or condominiums never materialized and soon it was completely abandoned.

Or so most people thought. The squatters and vagrants found their way in, the homeless kids with their dogs, the junkies unable to get any further, all found a room for the night or in some cases, longer. The sheets of plywood covering the doors and windows must have seemed like a canvas in search of a saviour for one day the first tag appeared in bright, roiling cursive. It wasn’t long before each door and window was covered in spray-paint, its bold colour reclaiming the urban landscape as invasively as the weeds in the asphalt of the parking aprons. It began to look somehow … better and while waiting for the lights to change at a newly installed intersection we would peer across trying to pick out which new tag or message had appeared overnight.  In what the insurance companies like to call an Act of God, the motel was struck by lightning and went up in flames like so much kindling.

What’s left will soon be demolished – construction on an overpass progresses slowly as the cold concrete threatens to take over the last bits of green but already the first aerosol artists are laying claim to their very own Two Cents Tuesday Challenge with – Graffiti.

“What does graffiti look like to you?” –  Political comment, die-hard declaration of love or mash-up missive to the world, cursive or abstract, community code, floral ode, tag on a train, scribble near a drain, Art or eyesore…

We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary on a random topic that pops into my head (such as the above) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Please, don’t just link to an old post… challenge yourself.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

 SO – Create your Two Cents Tuesday Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “Two Cents Tuesday Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Two Cents Tuesday” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge page
  5. Remember to Follow My Blog to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

The conversation of crows mutes the low rumble of traffic

Remain in the same spot and the urban landscape changes slowly, depart for a few months and the transformation of little details begin to pop, return after many years and neighbourhoods once familiar seem foreign territory. We tend to contemplate our surroundings at eye level, taking stock of the doors and windows, pedestrians and passing cars for it gives us a sense of place. Unable to get out and document just how much childhood neighbourhoods have been altered, this week’s photo challenge: Urban forced some archive digging and a little thinking outside the box. No matter which side of the country we may find ourselves, a constant can be found in the crows, ravens and blackbirds that love to congregate in big trees.  As the cityscape changes at a sometimes furious pace, they watch, wait and follow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Urban, meet wild – concrete kissing rock

A fashion photo-shoot along the causeway illustrated proof that many west coast urban areas seem to run right into the Pacific.  For all that is intrinsically wrong with cities taking over once-green spaces (the subject of a future post) there is still much beauty to be found, sometimes right beneath our feet.  This weeks’s photo challenge: merge and the very act of just looking down are serendipitous indeed.