~e; EM aesthetics+ (photos)

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sat, 30 Mar 2002 17:48:20 -0600

[after going through hundreds of undeveloped photo negatives,
a few stood out with regard to previous ideas about the aesthetics
of electromagnetism (em) and em art, science, and technology. so
the negatives scanned today (no more, in the near future, it seems)
are to further demonstrate a few basic connections between things.]

traffic lighting .jpg	~32k

this is as mundane as it gets, yet the lowly traffic light (in the USA,
red=stop, green=go, yellow=yield), invented in the UK sometime
early 2oth century it seems, is interpreted by cultures which use
the automobile and are urbanized to some extent. it is a basic form
of modernism, sometimes an artifact can be found in a bar or cafe,
and old traffic lights have novelty of a time now gone by. the newest
lights include systems for the blind to navigate via sounds/chirping,
and the older lights have been replaced by LED systems, that can
be seen in the daylight. they are also structural, as is the  L-shape,
which needs to be cantilevered from a deep enough hole and with
enough weight so as to withstand pressures of nature, and crashes.
it is this most basic e-infrastructure, this one is for transportation, 
which the commonality between nations can be seen, even those
of the most divergent of ideals and ideologies. this technological
architecture can, as an engineer's aesthetic, create typologies that
are beyond the will of any one superdesigner of the modern genre.


tensile mast  .jpg		~32k

one of the most direct comparisons of the e-pole (utility/telephone/
distribution) has been with wooden masts on boats. this is not an
ideal example, but one found in the photonegative search & scan.
while the lines in a boat (smaller craft in this instance) do not extend
outward into horizontal space (beyond the boat's structure, that is),
it is a self-contained system of stretching a wire or wires to create
stability in the structure, to withstand forces that a single pole would
not be able to, especially with winds blowing it, and pulling/pushing
it along, a lot of force. and those wires take the momentum and put
them into the rest of the structure by distributing the load (if basic
structural physics are the same as they are in buildings). so, in one
comparison with an e-pole, the 'tension' lines (e-wires) are held up
and help stabilize the poles, while the poles also act as a mast in
a sense by putting their center of gravity towards the bottom, and
also by using 'guy-wires' that are most similar to a boat, to bring
the angular forces (weights, weather) into the ground (or boat).
funny thing is, boat building and human habitation have quiet
a common story in ways, at least as some have proposed.


e-cross unstrung	~52k

i must say i've always had difficulty with the comparison of the e-pole
as a symbolic cross. as i assumed it had only religious meaning, and
a specific one at that. not knowing the full story of the cross as 
yet knowing it was a form of capital punishment in Roman times, prior
to its Christian iconography, it is in this way interpretable with 
to many points of view about what this comparison may mean. as it is
always odd to consider there are crosses like these in former aetheistic
states, or those who are anti-Christian. it is an odd thing that is hard 
resolve in any satisfactory way, without knowing more about it. a guess
is that it may arise as a common form, and this is pure speculation, from
boating culture. and with the rise of industrialization, that 
nations adopted the standard or made a variant that worked in a similar
but somewhat different way, all the while aesthetically, typical. while
in these days this issue is a bit clearer, meaning, interpretation-wise,
without a delineation between 'the public' and 'the private' realms, an
e-pole that is also in the shape of a cross can be contradictory, as can
online space, which has yet to define what is public and private in the
basic areas of (property, if that needs to be the word) communications,
via crypto, firewalls, public forums, private messages, and whatnot. it
is a jumble, as is any 'common sense' or default interpretation of this
picture of an e-pole that was yet to be strung into a line of e-poles.
early 1990s, mpls.mn city lakes area


e-mural. .jpg		~80k

one of the benefits of exploring something is that others can share
their interests with you, about the same subject, from a different
vantage. that is how i found out about Sutro tower. and possibly
about this mural inside of Coit tower in San Francisco, by one of
the 2oth century's greatest muralists. (forgot the name, memory).
It seemed to be about Hoover dam and the workers (WPA) assoc.
in the USA during the depression, in the 1930s, yet it is not like
Hoover dam, in what i have seen of it, in literal equivalence. yet
it is in form like the Hoover structure, but the bottom-most area is
somewhat generic. if anyone is in the SF area, please take a look
in Emeryville (North Bay, between Oakland & Berkeley) at the PG
& E building there. it has a most amazing architectural design and
incorporates e-iconography into a type of relief-scultpure on its
outer walls (which protect e-goods like rolls of wire, etc). it has
a story on it, like an arch of old, with transformers, workers, the rest.


eiffel night .jpg		~48k

favorite find for last. memory is so faded but think that this photo
may have been taken of the eiffel tower from the Pompidou Ctr
museum, on some outer walkway on a windy night. at least that
is the only memory connected to this. the reasons it is important
are a few fold. one being that it is an architectural structure of a
type of new material (metal) which had no purpose when built
but became a radio broadcasting tower later on. 2nd, this form
is repeated by other 'broadcast towers' in a literal and sublime
way. 3rd, it is an icon of culture as was mentioned about Sutro
tower in SF, especially during the dot.com era & silicon valley
rising to cultural prominence. currently, am working on photos
of towers (water towers and e-towers) to compare new & old
typologies of towers. as these can be seen 'at a distance' and
thus, like a GPS waypoint or marker, can help one to orientate
oneself in the largest civic/public space. likewise, while an old
tower may do so visually, one can see it at a distance, the EM
towers actually radiate (communicate) the same distance as
they can be seen visually, miles and miles, the taller=farther.
thus, someday such an idea will be more formally presented.


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