Urban Cliff Project Proposal

Abstract

Tacit acceptance of the proliferation and enlargement of U.S. urban centers, their ubiquitous encroachment into rural areas and of historic architectural aesthetics/idioms generally oppositional to naturally occurring structures suggest that an integration or perhaps a reverse penetration of natural into the man-made urban environment could function as a referent of its prehistory while questioning both structural and landscape architectonic idioms.

Many cities’ plans include plantings and parks but although nurtured, they seem to exist only by permission. They are often locked in cages of sidewalk or kept under control within carefully defined limits. Generally, public landscape idioms derive from two sources, namely the 18th century English garden (an interpretation of the Japanese garden) or from the 17th century French garden (e.g. Versailles.) There is a commonality within these idioms of control over nature and that each aligns with a particular aesthetic. Note that the “naturalistic” English garden’s aesthetic is in fact a highly controlled expression based on preconceptions of “picturesque.”

Rarely are natural elements allowed to freely coexist with an urban setting. Although architectural examples integrated with pristine natural environments exist, urban centers generally do not. This is particularly true within the American idiom. The traditions of settler, pioneer, conqueror of the wilderness embody the need to control and dominate. This fused with America’ s love affair with the automobile and the overwhelming influences of consumerism and technology have modeled American cities.

Proposal: The Urban Cliff

A local cliff will be climbed and photographed. The photography will be a contiguous series of images representing approximately 30 ft (vertically) and 6 ft (horizontally) of a that cliff. These images will be spliced together and printed at full scale producing a 30 ft long x 6 ft wide print. It is proposed that this be installed on the exterior west wall of the elevator shaft of the Warwarsing Town Hall building. The print material will be resistant to weather and the installation is intended to be semi-permanent. It is further proposed that the installation be done during the July 1st opening of the 2 other art venues in Ellenville and that it be done using conventional climbing equipment. All phases of the project will be videotaped.

Abstract

Tacit acceptance of the proliferation and enlargement of U.S. urban centers, their ubiquitous encroachment into rural areas and of historic architectural aesthetics/idioms generally oppositional to naturally occurring structures suggest that an integration or perhaps a reverse penetration of natural into the man-made urban environment could function as a referent of its prehistory while questioning both structural and landscape architectonic idioms.

Many cities’ plans include plantings and parks but although nurtured, they seem to exist only by permission. They are often locked in cages of sidewalk or kept under control within carefully defined limits. Generally, public landscape idioms derive from two sources, namely the 18th century English garden (an interpretation of the Japanese garden) or from the 17th century French garden (e.g. Versailles.) There is a commonality within these idioms of control over nature and that each aligns with a particular aesthetic. Note that the “naturalistic” English garden’s aesthetic is in fact a highly controlled expression based on preconceptions of “picturesque.”

Rarely are natural elements allowed to freely coexist with an urban setting. Although architectural examples integrated with pristine natural environments exist, urban centers generally do not. This is particularly true within the American idiom. The traditions of settler, pioneer, conqueror of the wilderness embody the need to control and dominate. This fused with America’ s love affair with the automobile and the overwhelming influences of consumerism and technology have modeled American cities.

Proposal: The Urban Cliff

A local cliff will be climbed and photographed. The photography will be a contiguous series of images representing approximately 30 ft (vertically) and 6 ft (horizontally) of a that cliff. These images will be spliced together and printed at full scale producing a 30 ft long x 6 ft wide print. It is proposed that this be installed on the exterior west wall of the elevator shaft of the Warwarsing Town Hall building. The print material will be resistant to weather and the installation is intended to be semi-permanent. It is further proposed that the installation be done during the July 1st opening of the 2 other art venues in Ellenville and that it be done using conventional climbing equipment. All phases of the project will be videotaped.

Andrew Reed: Urban Cliff I Andrew Reed: Urban Cliff II
Urban Cliff #1 : West 41st Street, NYC; 1991; (Andrew Reed)
Urban Cliff #2 ; Ellenville, NY; 2006; (Andrew Reed)

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