The Green Line light rail route announced itself over the weekend with free rides to anyone wishing to visit the twenty-four stops along its transit between St. Paul and Minneapolis. Using the construction of the line as a conceit to explore the inter-urban landscape of the corridor through which it traverses, this eleven-mile stretch has been the primary focus of rammingspeed’s photographic energies for more than two years. I don’t know if there is a way, nor a point in devising one, to calculate the amount of varied energies we have all expended in exploring, researching, and documenting this landscape. For me the calculation would be moot, too close to the metrics utilized within the resume padding “Up With People!” aspirational work born of conference rooms and Leadership training. – see: “placemaking”, a turn of phrase nauseating in both its vacuity and its ignorance. Like all landscapes shaped by the human hand this one vacillates between the ugly and the sublime, lines often so closely drawn they emerge as one. Disentangling them, or drawing them together when the case must be made, is the heart of what we do as photographers, or dare I risk it, artists. The world is not a kindergarten nor should we aspire to make it one. It cuts more often than it rewards and with this project we have been carefully, honestly, making work that minds the edge, allows the cut, yet pulls back before it is mortal. Maybe we are wrong in this; perhaps we have reached the point where complex notions of identity and legacy are best expressed through hashtags, or, the physical equivalent, public chalkboards adorned with affirmative messages. But I doubt that as much as I doubt God buried the dinosaurs to test our faith. I doubt that because of all of the people, friends and strangers alike that graced us during our second exhibition along the Green Line. Sitting in the front window of the gallery the other night, not even close to too many whiskeys in, it was a sweet thing to shift my glance from the fourteen-minute intervals of the train to the thoughtful readers parsing the show. We make work because it is the only way we know to make sense of, apologize for, and rant back at the world. It is a blessing to have thoughtful people acknowledge the same, to take our hands and say thank you, I was looking, looking, but you loaned me a voice. That trumps all the calculations of value and reward so precious to the “placemakers”, because, like any well-crafted work, it is a true affirmation, a Haiku rather than a selfie.
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
-John 19: 17
Gûlgaltâ (Aramaic) >
Κρανίου Τόπος – Kraníou Tópos (Greek ) >
Calvariæ Locus (Latin) >
Culvers, 1489 University Ave. W
These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.