How did this get here?

Do you ever wonder what future generations will think of all the art we leave lying around?  By art I mean the various sculpted pieces that dot the urban landscape, sometimes looking like they were dropped there by absentminded giants whose attention turned elsewhere.

Each of these apparently had a sponsor or patron to commission the creation and are the result of a thoughtful process by the artist, moving from contemplation through raw materials and technique to arrive at the finished product and placement.  Perhaps each installation isn’t universally appreciated (or understood) but for the select group involved, there is great meaning and celebration surrounding the achievement.

But will that connection between art and viewer remain?  After the buildings are gone or the parks overgrown, once the plaques are removed or defaced completely and the installation is forgotten by all but the random pedestrian happening upon it, what will the meaning of it be and how will future generations find a connection with it?

If art is our way of expressing some enduring meaning in a dynamic world, and sculpture one of the more permanent forms of that expression, what ongoing effort is required of us to pass that meaning down to subsequent generations distant from the original motivation?

 

Ilford HP4+ 125 sheet film, 210mm, 1/15 sec., f/45

We have in Omaha an installation of forms called “Sounding Stones” by Leslie Iwai.  The sculpture is not that old, dating from 2004, but is of such a form that it appears well grounded and somewhat timeless.  As an outdoor installation on the grounds of a wooded park, it brought to my mind the original idea here – who will know what these are in a hundred years?  Why are they here?  What do they signify?

As photographers we are able to be a part of the effort to answer these questions.  Our images can be distributed broadly along with the stories necessary to honor the work of an artist so long ago and the interests of patrons interested in seeing a story told.

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