So many London construction sites struck me as brilliant, ready-made PopArt; this one just behind the Tate Modern readies the eye for that building's Modern and Contemporary Art. As well, these sites reminded me of a building in another city, one whose buildings and ongoing construction are generally less exuberant (yes, I'm risking a generalization there, and not without recognizing numerous outstanding contemporary buildings.)
Dodging the hard hats and the dump trucks at the London construction site, head tilted, neck strained, I automatically thought of a Meccano set, just as I do at the Beaubourg.And this wasp-nest like accrustation, part of a recent project by Tadashi Kawamati, only intensifies my awareness of the similarities and differences between the London construction and the Parisian art centre: it highlights in both their emphasis on, and exposure of, buildings and their structures; at the same time, the organicity of its material (salvaged wood) and the assemblage of that material sets off the mechanic, inert, even hard lines of our contemporary architecture.
These long-since-collapsed stones, whose place in a set of stairs can barely be discerned anymore, like the exposed metal structure in the contemporary buildings, reveal the basic elements of a building, but are suffused with a nostalgic beauty even as they are being grown back into the earth, first by lichens, then by small resilient plants, eventually by drifting soil, a shrub, until they've disappeared to be discovered by some 24th-century archaeologist . . . Or just as likely, cleared away to make room for the bland, white-plastered, red-tile-roofed houses that are becoming just as plentiful in this area as the stone homes I love to look at, but might not be so keen to live in.
Much of what travel is/does for me involves comparing and contrasting, and I bring a changed eye back home to view my everyday surroundings. Yesterday Pater spent most of the day constructing a shelter to keep our firewood dry and accessible, and as I watched him work, the panoply of images I've sketched here flashed a certain limited history of building.