Random image, and return from Fallingwater

(above, a quilt from last century, made from Klan hoods...talk about loaded imagery. Pleasant dreams...).

Back from anniversary vacation to Western PA; specifically Fallingwater. A 20th century masterpiece. More on that later.

Just handed in, last evening, my long labored-over Eastern State Penitentiary proposal. I am generally pleased; once again I waited too long to begin on it in earnest, so the bulk of it was done in one day. It is now, however, in the hands of the Committee. To give you an idea of what the proposal was about, and what it might look like, I had wanted to scan the whole thing for you to see...but haven't gotten there yet. Hang tight.

Described briefly, the project would include creating an inch-to-inch reproduction on a grassy lawn area, of two adjacent cells from the prison space; this would be done with metal stakes and nylon cord, and include the thickness of the original walls. Within this corded off space, I'd allow the grass to grow to its natural height, weeding, watering, fertilizing and otherwise maintaining it, creating a sort of "natural wall." Inside of the walls, I'd have a reel-mower maintained cell-garden area, with the original shared wall eliminated, and two long, rectangular pools sunk to ground level, replicating the cell's original ceiling skylights. These would be filled with water, and their bottoms lined with mirror. The grass area surrounding the installation would be mowed according to normal schedule. So, for visitors seeing this cell-garden, hopefully they would have thoughts of self-reflection, and natural order interacting with introduced/imposed order, upon seeing the living wall and the reflecting pools. And too, think about the relationship between the prison structure and the space it's built on, and how that's somewhat parallel to placing a human in a contrived space, as part of the interplay of "chaos and order" in the entire act of incarceration. Essentially, we can see ourselves, which we often think of as "orderly," reflected in seemingly "chaotic" places, such as the Penitentiary, and realize that, to reappropriate Dostoevsky, the line between [chaos] and [order] runs straight down through the heart of all men...as much as, like evil from good, we'd like to place evil over there, away from us, and disassociate ourselves from it. No use; the line passes right through our centers.

As with most of my work, these thoughts will congeal completely only when I've brought the piece to a more fleshed-out form...but I congealed my thoughts as much as possible for the proposal deadline.

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