Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vacant Spaces

We know the word vacant to be defined as "open, ready to occupy, space available." But to think in terms of a city, the word vacancy takes on a negative connotation. This is true. A stigma and bias towards vacant spaces creates a negative stereotype in cities such as Holyoke.  To be frank, that is just bullshit.. Yes, the argument that a depilated building that is half fallen in on itself is a problem, is without a doubt a topic that is addressed by city officials, economists, real estate professionals, and anyone that sees that. However, time and time again, I hear things about Holyoke, buildings in Holyoke, and places, where this negativity is continuously propelled into the world, local community, and fosters that stigma. As you pass by in your car, you might not be aware of what is happening on the inside. Fear, ignorance, and uncertainty keep us from paying attention to what is really going on. This kind of thinking is an old form of thinking and prevents the idea that something new is alive, thriving, and happening.

Vacancy can actually have a positive meaning. The possibility of something new, something better, something great, something inhabiting the space. Like a hotel with a room free and open, the vacancy sign swings as an attraction to passing motorists saying, "hey come in and stay here." An empty space means that there is a chance of something creative growing, bringing back to life the space itself, the building, or the surrounding community. It takes the right kind of person to invision a space that will be used for a different purpose, other than what it was built for. The right kind of person that will put back into the space the creativity needed to make it thrive. Below is an example of a space that is vacant. At the moment the shutter reverberated around the white walls, bouncing around the room like the pouring in afternoon light, the space sat alone. Empty and warm, the space is waiting. It is waiting for its new tenant to move in and occupy it. Creativity will flourish and new life will emerge.

To the person passing by looking up, you will see two windows, arched yellow bricks, and a front door that says 80. It is our hope that you will be moved to point where your curiosity sways you into examining more critically what really is here. Sure, we have some vacant buildings. They might out number some other areas, but at least our vacant buildings are beautiful and historical. I for one would rather see an empty mill vs an empty strip mall.

Monday, June 17, 2013

After The Rain...

When the clouds part and the last drops hit the pavement, the sun glistens across the shadowed blacktop. The sky is not clear, but the sun beams through finding patches of asphalt, metal, glass, and concrete to reflect off of. The city glows as a post-evening shower leaves behind wet blades of grass and quickly drying blacktop. The sound of the shutter is dampened by the passing cars splashing water up as they whizz by. The city looks like a ghost town except for a few stranded passengers of the public transit system and the occasional pedestrian avoiding puddles and cars passing by. The city, for a minute looked magical [After The Rain.]

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Found in Holyoke: Bones

If you think metaphorically, then yes, these are the steel bones that held up a concrete parking deck between the court house and police station, just behind High St. For the past few weeks the jack hammers have been tearing up the concrete. I passed by towards the end of the week and saw this image, partially ghastly in nature, yet strikingly beautiful. I was reminded by a friend to pass by again. I did and made a few "autopsy-like" images of the last remaining bits of concrete draped down from the re-barb and steel legs that held the deck together.