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Blog Prompt #1: Tracks

Prompt: Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy (and our discusions today), document and investigate, through text and image - this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.

I was contemplating how to respond to the above prompt today, when it began to snow. I began thinking about Andy Goldsworthy's connection with nature, and decided to take photos of the tracks that I began to see appearing in the snow that was accumulating on the ground all around me.


As I walked, I noticed that there were different types of tracks in the snow that represented different relations between time and space. For example, there were footprints, obviously left by people walking, but there were also tracks from bicylcles, and of course cars. Each of these types of tracks represent a different rate of travel, a different flow, but they also speak to the values of the person that left them. Were they in a hurry, were they conserving energy by biking or walking instead of driving? the energy of the people that had been there could be seen in the marks in the snow. shuffling, running, or just strolling, the attitude of the markings changed.

I then became interested in patterns. Most of the tracks from the various modes of flow were grouped together. It seemed that design drove the paths that most individuals chose to take. Car tire tracks stayed in the road. Bike tracks stayed in the bike lanes. Footprints stayed on sidewalks and in crosswalks. There were a few exceptions. sometimes I found footprints over bike tracks, or deviating from the sidewalk, or crossing the road where tere was no crosswalk. these were the free thinkers, or were they deviants? you decide.


There is so much we can learn from the seemingly simple tracks left in the snow. as a classmate pointed out to me, you can tell where the slippery spots are due to the long skid marks that end in footprints. the places where more people go, the snow was packed down. It was even melting away in the highest traffic areas. It can only be described as the energy of people passing by left on the pavement.


In some places, only a few indentations were made. in one case, on a stairway, I found a set of fresh prints over top of a group of older ones that had been softened by the continuing snowfall. this demonstrates the passing of time and its effects on the record of flow in the city. as time passes, it becomes harder to dicover the energy of the past.