Entity, Unique (prompt 1)
Andy Goldsworthy’s art was obviously influenced by the natural world around him and built using his understanding of nature, an understanding he gained through his experiences in nature. The film on Andy Goldsworthy, I thought, seemed to emphasis a connection to the land, or at least the space that one inhabits. A primary feature of the land that was used was rivers and tides; they posses movement and rhythm, features which could represent the continuation of nature, perpetuation of time, cycles of life and so forth….
Well Andy lived somewhere out in the countryside of Scotland where he seemed to enjoy a quiet bucolic romance with the world around him, but I live in the center of a large urban community were the connection to the land is substantial different…..The question that has been posed to my peers and I is to examine the concept of energy, flow and transformation through the city. For this topic I have decided to take a look at the MetroTransit’s Hiawatha Line, better known as the Light Rail. Although the Light Rail can not really be directly connected Andy Goldsworthy’s work (at least none that I can draw), I feel that it can be used to encapsulate the ideas of energy, flow and transformation through out the city.
I will begin with the concept of flow. Rivers flow. Rivers provide humankind with a means for potable water and transit, because of this civilizations have surrounded rivers since the beginning of civilization. The Light Rail can be compared to a river and its flow for several reasons. First of all, like a river the Light Rail is used as a means for transit, transit that moves on a single linear path through the city, the same as the river. I will differentiate the Light Rail from the buses in that buses are free to move about on any path that the driver chooses, the Light Rail, like the river, is destined to move on a specific path, from point A to point B. Also buses are substantially more subjected to street traffic, which will intern effect their ability to move through the city; the Light Rail is more unobstructed in its movement, like the river (lest there be a damn), but also like the river it is confined in its movement.
What is the energy behind a city or urban area? This question could raise countless questions and debates, each with a legitimate answer, but for the purposes of my argument I will suggest that it is people who are the energy behind a city, lots and lots of people, the presence of a large population implies the existence of a urban area and vice versa. The Light Rail moves a large amount of people through out the city each day, whether it be commuters heading to downtown, workers from the city to the Mall of America or sports fans trying to get to the game, the Light Rail more than exceeded expectations for its passenger load. In short the Light Rail is a major artery for the life blood of the city: people.
Transformation. As I stated early the Light Rail is bound to maintain its course from point A to point B. The two points which the Light Rail connects stand in glaring contrast to one another, at one end there is downtown Minneapolis, the epicenter of the urban experience with its towers and bustling streets; at the other end of the line is the shinning symbol of all that which is suburbia, the Mall of America, an almost surreal city in and of itself. During the course of the trains travel from one end of the line to another it encounters several different landscapes of the metro area. It starts out in suburbia, moves past the massive complex of the airport and then into several neighborhoods. Next the train follows Highways 55 and past the rail road tacks and grain silos which remind the rider of the agricultural economy of the state outside of the urban context. From here the train works its way through several more neighborhoods terminating in the jungle of that which is downtown.