Thursday, July 22, 2010

Recology San Francisco

Last weekend I went on the tour of Recology San Francisco in preparation for applying to their artist residency. That place is amazing! I highly recommend checking it out. It makes such a difference to be reminded that trash & recycling don't cease to exist after they are thrown into a container and out of site.

Images in order from top to bottom

Image 1: "Treasure Hill"
Items gleaned by employees from the cacophony of detritus delivered daily to the "dump"

Image 2: Unloading the trash.... I forget exactly what happens here.... and where this stuff goes... It might go to another station where it gets sorted...
(Anybody remember?)
....update: Micah, our tour guide, refreshed my memory... this site is the Transfer Station. "The transfer station is the building where all the trash (black bin) in San Francisco goes to be transferred into larger trucks and taken to the landfill in Altamont. Nothing in the black bin gets sorted. That’s why its so important for residence to know how to use their bins." -Thanks Micah!

An interesting thing about this area was that it was frequented by Gulls.
I inquired about what the relationship was between Recology and the Gulls and what I found out was Amazing! Apparently the company struggles to keep the birds out of this area where they can get injured and likely ingest harmful debris. Well, they've tried loads and loads of deterrents and what they've ended up with is a falconer! They've enlisted the services of a professional falconer who brings falcons to the site Monday - Friday. The presence of predators in the vicinity has kept the Gulls mostly at bay! It's fascinating that after many manufactured attempts (streamers, barriers, etc.) it is a natural dynamic that succeeds. Seems like there is a lesson there that has relevance to issue of waste management: that what we try to accomplish through invention, often can be achieved by noticing what is already there.

Image 3: (We got to wear cool florescent yellow vests.)

Image 4: Stepping stone made by middle schoolers under the guidance of a resident artist. Materials were found on site.

Image 5: The most recent addition to the sculpture park.

Image 6: Path through the Recology sculpture park.

Image 7: Last but not least: Public Disposal.
During the residency artists scavenge and sort through the drop-off center.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Portal To Parallel Dimension Revealed On Cloudless Day

It was recently discovered that an edifice on 6th Street, in San Francisco's downtown building district, is actually a portal into a parallel dimension. On its North face the building hosts an area roughly 15x12 meters, which was previously thought to have "just been painted blue," according to frequent passersby. However, this past week, on an unusually sunny San Francisco summer day, the rectangle in question was witnessed to have released several wisps of fog and cloud from the atmosphere of this "other world" into our own California sky. Scientists have been monitoring the site since the first reports and they now believe that the phenomenon has been occurring for some time. Whitman Roberts PHD., of the University of Columbus, explained that "There is no indication that this is a 'zygotic concurrence', as we say in the field. It's probable that slight permeations have been taking place for years. What's clear to us now is that the specific area of the portal was previously believed to have 'just been painted blue', and we are now quite certain that this is not the case."
Roberts and his team are continuing to monitor and study the quadrangular threshold and are in the process of orienting a robotic butterfly probe for crossover and further investigation.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


This nice woman explained to me that the yellow (and the white as well) lines on the road are made with plastic now. So she was preparing the yellow plastic substance to be laid down on the new surface on Valencia St.

I love the aesthetics of construction zones. So much high contrast: black and white and florescent yellow and orange. Simple geometric shapes, soot, raw material. They're actually very sensual, primal locations if you think about it... in a gritty sort of way. - I love this set up: the two shoots for yellow and white plastic, the operator directing flames at them and scraping to get a flow going. It's just the basics. Nuts and bolts. "This is how it's done."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Castle In The Sky

Sometimes the fog seems to wrap around San Francisco like arms, a nest, a snuggie. On this day I was taken by a feeling that we were on some floating island in the sky, hidden from the trials, threats, and concerns of the rest of the world around us. What would it be like to be an invisible self-sustaining community? My initial thought was that it would be somehow liberating. That people would relax, and maybe, just be friends.... I'm such an idealist. The more that I think about it, I suppose people do try to insulate themselves from the rest of the world... I think these groups are usually called: "cults". Then there are also "gated communities" - So much for my utopian vision al la "Ferngully" (eye-rolling here). -- Still, it is strange, and somehow comforting to find oneself enveloped in a mist.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Random(?) Urban Rothko

Sometimes beautiful things pop up in the most unlikely places. Actually, that happens pretty often I guess. Maybe that's one of the characteristics of beauty, that it is a challenge to one's sense of what is expected. And maybe, it is a confluence of grit and banality that indeed encourages beauty to grow.
I saw this red on red door as I was riding my bike home tonight and it grabbed me. The monochromic, layered, and seemingly illegible quality of the graffiti seems unusual (of course, I'm hardly an expert, but I'm more interested than many and I do pay attention). Anyway, the marks seem to be layered as if over a long time, and yet there is a uniformity and cohesion to the mass that seems immediate, intentional, and composed. Sometimes, property owners will use a specific color of paint to mask graffiti that appears on their doors/walls. Over time, these cover-ups can begin to look like works in and of themselves. Could that be what's happening here? Not sure... Maybe I'll go ask next week...
In any case, it was lovely to stumble upon on this otherwise grey day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ever Wondered What Escalators Looked Like Underneath?

I never really did either, but it's kind of interesting. I always imagined that all of the steps were connected like some big zipper, or slinky, or like the expandable part of a bendy plastic straw. Not so. Separate steps afterall. Each step, it's own little moving platform. More like the rocks that Ludo calls forth to save them when they're trapped in the Bog of Eternal Stench. (It was 'Ludo' right?)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Other Pataphysics

Doing some research on Alfred Jarry and I came across this group out of Australia/Singapore. Their lyrics are smart and they make really nice sounds.