Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cobbletale

Cobbletale

A few photos of Cobbletale, on the Portland State campus at 11th & Mill St. The artist statement, via the UO Library's One Percent for Art digital collection:

Cobbletale metamorphises the West Hall courtyard into a topographic landscape and kinesthetic artwork. It is meant to be experienced by touching (feet, hands, posterior) as well as by sight. Cobbletale examines and appreciates, both geologically and in the more recent historical sense, Portland's cobblestones. In a subtler way, Cobbetale is a site-specific metaphor for history's layers and transformations. Either way, it constradicts and expands the notion of the courtyard. Through its materials, shape and scale, Cobbletale empowers the site's surrounding architectural forms and landscape paintings. The idea for Cobbletale came from the design team's discovery that cobblestones were unearthed during preparation for West Hall's construction. Sometime around the turn of the [19th] century, they had been laid along a streetcar route on Southwest 11th. Their location was at the edge of the present artwork. Some of these original cobblestones are now a part of Cobbletale. During the sixteen-month period of creating Cobbletale, the artist gained assistance from eleven different state and local agencies and bureaus, as well as three museaums and numerous private individuals. In order to gather an appropriate ""pallet"" of materials, the artist hand cleaned over 6,000 cobblestones with a hammer and scrub brush, eventually using approximately 4,000 and returning the remainder to the city's storage (Mayer, 1992).
Cobbletale

The fun thing about Cobbletale is that it was created in 1992, nearly a decade before today's Portland Streetcar began operating. Streetcars were strictly an object of romantic nostalgia at that point, and there was every reason to believe they were gone for good. The present-day streetcar has a stop just two blocks west of here, and another two blocks north. Still, cobblestones haven't really come back into vogue yet, so there's that.

Cobbletale

The bottom photo in this post was actually taken way back in 2006. I knew I had an old Flickr photo of it, but I couldn't recall writing anything about it, so I figured it must've shown up in one of those "miscellaneous random photos" posts I used to do. But I checked all of those & didn't see it, and neither Blogger search nor Google were any help. I had a multi-megabyte full-blog-export XML file lying around from the last time I updated the Cyclotram Map, so I was able to track it down that way (although TextEdit bogged down on the big file & I had to use Emacs instead).

Cobbletale

Another sort of blog post I used to do was a bullet point list of unrelated news items and tidbits from around the interwebs. Which seemed like a great idea back then because Twitter didn't exist yet. In a post of that sort from almost exactly 7 years ago, I tacked an item on the end linking to (but not inlining) a few photos I hadn't used yet. I needed to do that because I didn't yet have a Flickr Pro account, and until recently free Flickr accounts only let you browse your 200 most recent photos. You could still access them if you had a direct link, but you couldn't browse through your photos with the 'next' button and see them. So I posted links just so I'd continue to have access to those photos. But I didn't even bother explaining what they were photos of, so it's entirely possible -- probable, even -- that nobody has ever clicked those links in all this time.

Cobbletale

I'm thinking maybe I'll go back and edit the old post & inline those photos. Just on the general principle of trying to do things the right way, even if nobody ever sees it. I don't get search hits on 2006 posts too often. People might find it from the post you're reading now, assuming anyone stumbles across it. Which they might now, but in another 7 years? I mean, nobody's going to want to look at plain old photos in the year 2020. Either a.) You'll need full holographic video with HD smell-o-vision, or your fickle audience will go elsewhere; or b.) everyone's too busy scavenging and fleeing atomic mutants to worry about this stuff. I'm not really sure which is more likely.

Cobbletale Cobbletale

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