Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pantitlan, again

Let's look at another obsession. This time, "stationary things that appear to be moving." I'm not talking about op-art, but the better example is the "streamlined" pencil sharpener of 1930s fame, just about anything art deco or moderne is a good example too.

Pantitlan's dynamism comes from the site's total lack of foundational groundedness. There is hardly a place where you can figure out how it rests on the ground.

The depiction of movement through stationary means is always dependent on line, the second dimension. Even if we are talking about pixelation or pointilism, we need to connect the dots with lines, or no movement happens, no sense is made.

Pantitlan is a cascade of lines, most of them stationary, the exception being the orange lines of the train cars that connect the site with dozens of other lesser sites. The rest is utility, edges, rails, platforms, loading docks and queues.

Often I see these buses waiting. To call what they do "waiting" is similar to calling a line "moving." It was my eye moving and not any line, and it is me passing a bus doing nothing that causes me to think a bus is waiting.

In the same way that I anthropomorphize buses, I give Pantitlan movement that is not there, movement being like spirit, a quality that wasn't there before.

I can and can't do lot's of things. I can't insist that everyone see movement in lines and interpret it as spirit, and I can't imagine that my naming something made of concrete will imbue that distant, cold concrete with life.

I can't imagine that the rat's nest machine gun turrets still embedded along parts of the Long Island waterfront are imbued with life or with history, nothing happened there. No political fate was decided by concrete that never shot back. 1946 came and went and no one looked through the concrete partition for German airplanes and no one wished there to be home at long last.

I've thought in the past that buses are among the most un-loved of humankind's creations. I was tormented by a yellow one when I was a child, it's sinister lights flashing a yellow macabre as it approached the edge of my childhood yard. And many of those you see here are driven by teenagers, crammed with greasey fingered passengers, and they belch smoke and barrel through intersections sending pedestrians scurrying. And who am I to say that they are waiting or hurrying, when it is only the people, saying this or that, that humanizes them, making the second dimension seem like the 4th or the 5th.

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