Monday, June 14, 2010
Over the past few weeks several people have asked me to include a little more about what I'm working on, so here goes. Above is a detail from a painting I'm still struggling with. I'm interested in playing with ideas of and obliteration and erasure. I've always loved maps and history, so I've been looking at the idea of how places can be wiped out and then papered right over, or built upon, and then others go on about their business with no idea of the destruction beneath their feet. But of course some people do know, and do remember, and so that must alter their feelings about the place.
Above is the corner of Holmes and Reva in Cerritos, California. I used to drive past it on during the late 1986 after an Aeromexico plane came down, wiping out 10 houses, damaging a lot of others, and killing a total of 83. First the debris was cleared up, then there was a big dirt lot for awhile, and finally, after I didn't seem to be driving that way anymore, big giant houses when up to replace the more modest 70s ramblers surrounding them. And now, if you go to Realtor.com, you can see that one is for sale for 950K. I'd be surprised if there was any mention of the history of that plot of land. And would it matter to you? Would you feel as though you were buying a house of spirits? Does what you don't know really not hurt you? (Do I sound like Carrie Bradshaw trying to be Isabel Allende?)
Anyway, with the boon of Google maps, it's possible to drop in on places we remember that have been altered, that carry some memory of fear or horror, and see what the look like now, after the events/construction/activity of a few decades or a few centuries have obliterated their appearance and rearranged the atmosphere of the place.
Do you have places you recall as especially interesting or powerful? Were they meaningful only after you read about the history of the place or did you have an instinctive response to the place before learning its past?
P.S. If you'd like to read more, there's a short LA Times article written 10 years after the crash. I found it interesting that almost no one agreed to be interviewed and those questioned told the city they did not want any commemoration of the event. Only one family of those who lost relatives stayed in the area (and that family is interviewed.) All the others left.