March 13, 2012

Unreal city

1. “I still have a strange sense of dissociation, as if I am an observer of someone else’s disaster movie.”

2. “It must have been 1951. Frankfurt was bombed flat during the war ... Frankfurt was indescribable. I’d borrowed a studio from a painter who was himself in Paris. I was working there for an exhibition in the Zimmergalerie Franck, and every morning I took my son to school. The walk to the school was across an enormous bombsite. A great heap of rubble, with here and there some places that had been flattened so you could walk over them like paths. There were some outer walls of houses still standing. A doorway, and some stretches of wall. It was a surreal landscape, and it inspired me enormously. If you walk through a town that lies in ruins, then the first thing you naturally think of is building. And then, as you rebuild such a town, you wonder whether life there will be just the same, or what will be different.” -- Constant Nieuwenhuys, interviewed in BOMB magazine, 2005.

3. “Night after night, day after day, each majestic scene I witnessed was so terrible and so unexpected that no city would ever again stand innocently fixed in my mind. Big buildings and wide streets, cement and steel were no longer permanent. They, too, were fragile and destructible. A torch, a bomb, a strong enough wind, and they, too, would come undone or get knocked down. But I so loved the unity of those times. I loved Lakeview Avenue, my street -- and it was my street -- and I loved the Community Union. I mostly loved everything I was seeing, and especially all that I was learning.” -- Bill Ayers describes riots in Cleveland, Ohio, 1966, in Fugitive Days (Beacon Press, 2001).

Mobile phone pictures taken on Peterborough St, Avonside Drive, Madras St, Manchester St, Victoria St, Colombo St and in Lyttelton, Shirley and Woolston, between January 4 and March 2, 2012.