Friday, July 17, 2009

Time Machine: Tuesday, June 30th....The Last Sunrise

I was out with Lisa and Amanda bright and early to finish up Amanda's block by block documentation of the Mid City neighborhood that is in a tug-o-war between two competing medical interests that wish to level the area to build a new hospital.

After that, I brought them to one of the gems of the St. Roch neighborhood, a strange "venue" --a row of houses actually--called CC Projects. The houses have disintegrated more and more over the last year plus I've been going there. The students know I feel very strongly about not trespassing in people's houses, and don't think that was okay in the photographic wake of Katrina. CC Projects is this eerie constantly changing performative installation, speaking to the flood in different ways by different artists. Having been there three or four times since Winter of 2008, I see the remnants of earlier artists under the newer coats of paint, frenetic drawings, and deteriorating mud covered floors.

The white house piece was so moving to me--so pristine and bold in its commentary on the impossibility of returning home for so many. Perhaps is is more profound as these imploding installations to its left, live in equally stunning skeletons of the same shape--same era--same architecture. All uninviting and funerary to me. I feel bad for my trespasses, even here. I want to get into the white house, but even as our light leaves us on this last sunrise shoot, it's far to early to knock on the door across the street where the owner who holds the key resides.

The last two images are from around St. Roch. Another Banksy found on an out building that leads me to new questions about architecture--the neighborhood is loaded with these ornate Spanish influenced structures, behind main houses. I'm very curious--and surprised that the students continually lead me on paths where I find new faces of a city I feel I know so well.

I can't wait until next Wednesday night--I ran into a couple of our students from the trip this week--between new classes. They all looked clean and well rested--luxuries none of us enjoyed much of in the dripping weather a southern June can deliver--two days the hottest on record in New Orleans. But next Wednesday, we get to remember again, and see wider edits of everyone's work. My favorite time, when we start talking about making books, my old stomping ground.

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