Sunday, August 21, 2005

aesthetics of the ugly. i've been thinking recently about the aesthetics of the ugly. of things generally not accepted as pleasing. for me there is something fundamentally significant about these images. they are moving, touching, in their own way. on the train back from philly today, i thought about the strip of land between the tracks and whatever it borders, whether that be a road, buildings, or a waterway. this is piece of land is always dirty, littered, overrun with weeds, etc. although not generally pleasing to look at, it represents many important things.

first, neglect. no one is concerned about this land. it has not real use or function other than it must exsist. eliminating it is almost impossible, and making it conform to the generally accepted aesthetic isn't 'cost effective'. this makes me think of our national health care system (or lack there of). our marginalized communities aren't worth the cost of helping, even if we can't get rid of them. but this isn't meant to turn into a political debate, just to show how aesthetics can be a metaphor for 'real' problems.

second, balance. as a. clearly observed, it is a reminder that with beauty there is also ungliness. and to me, in a world increasingly plastic, it is a reminder of the true nature of things. we have abstracted our lives away from the land and the elements, but we cannot escape them. what grows will also decay; what thrives will eventually rot.

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