Kspeirs's Blog

Down the Rabbit Hole

June 10, 2010
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Curiouser

…and curiouser

Who says you can never go home again?  My return to New York City, my former home, generated at least initially a vague feeling of loneliness.  It was sad to see that the city I had missed so much had not missed me.  Or so it appeared.  On it marched, unfolding in new vibrant ways, untouched and unaffected by my absence.  All of this threatened my sense of individuation — I cared more for the neighborhood corner, the institutions (the little barbershop, the best slice of thin-crust in the Village, the corner of the Park) than it cared about me.

And how much had I missed in my ten years in the City?  So much, I had not thought I could miss so much.  What I thought I knew felt small and insignificant next to the things I was now seeing and learning.  Brooklyn came to life and with it a sense of my own limits of vision and knowledge.

And so with these two overwhelming impressions — that my prior experience was far more special to me than to anything I had said goodbye to here, and that I was so limited in my perception of the landscape around me — I started humbly.  I started with the idea of looking down, at the ground, at one thing that grabbed me, and to hold on to that, to know it a bit, and to begin to build from there.  Enter the manhole.

I like the name.  Manhole.  Funny and sexy and quaint — a possibly offending, certainly absurd set of words thrown together.  Manhole.  And what a vast world it is, over 600,000 in NYC, serving to protect horses from slipping, to beautify the streets, and now to keep my eye focused. 

And so I became a rabbit of sorts, down the hole.  I took a number of photos of manhole covers (renamed in Sacramento as “maintainance covers” in order to mute the word’s gendered gruffness and insensitivity).  This was fun, and it forced me to look for one thing in one place.  How wrong I was!  They were everywhere, and in lots of shapes.  And they were beautiful, rugged and steeled and settled.  This led me to begin to see things round.  All the round things around me.   And so it was, round and steely and urban and old.  I love these things.


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June 10, 2010
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