Photographs by Andy Osterlund
2/4/2016 – 117 West Street, Raleigh – Hosted by Christ the King Presbyterian Church
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
These are the places in our city that are the most precious. They disappear quickly. Today’s parking lot is tomorrow’s office tower. They are in the news. They are works in progress. They will not remain the same for long. Their future is coming.
These are the places in our city that are the most dangerous. Faded striping on pavement, hazardous pathways, bounded by busy roads. Containers of chemicals in the open, with uncertain soils below. Sharp objects and holes are obvious, and there’s much more we don’t see. All the occupants are trespassers.
We asked what might happen when people inhabit these spaces for a period of time. So we staged events for each photograph: gatherings of friends, a few items, a task. At each event children played, followed a couple of instructions, made their own rules. These places, often deemed ‘empty’ were, suddenly filled with music and dance, inhabited by princesses, routes for parades. We held the emptiness like the surrounding buildings hold their places. We are left with questions. What do these spaces engender in our bodies? Did we tend towards abandon, even in the midst of structure? Could the adult bodies be characterized as physically intimidated by the vastness of the spaces, while the child bodies responded in a spirit of unadulterated limitlessness? And finally, how else might we engage these spaces, and what further experiments within them might engage us more deeply with the cities we inhabit?
We are expectant. We are unafraid. We work for the new construction. And, while we wait, we enjoy the beautiful Carolina sunshine on pavement and red brick.