People amaze and amuse me. It is a wonderment that never ceases. Often times it can be appalling, the brutal and insensitive nature of humanity, but for the most part, I've always found it inspiring. Man is capable of the grandest achievements - philosophically, artistically, and mechincally - and yet, simultaneously, can be reduced to tearful, hysterical laughter by a really good fart joke. It is this duality of the human spirit that moves me; the sacred and the profane, the high-brow and the low-brow, the earnest endeavor and the flight of fancy.
There is a tree at the Kings Island amusement park in Ohio. I forget which ride it is, one of the big water rides. The line you have to stand in winds through a forest to the attraction. There are many trees along the path, but one in particular was singled out by the throngs of hot, idle park-goers for a piece of impromptu collective art. I've always called it the gum tree. There, on the right-side of the path stands the small tree, it's trunk almost completely covered in globs of chewing gum of every color imaginable. It's not like base graffiti, an essentially one person show of artistry on a public canvas. Sure, graffiti when un-checked results in a collection of various artists in a localized area, but it's not a collective effort on a singular undertaking. Someone, most likely a group of someones, standing in that line decided to all stick their gum on that tree. Consequentially, over the years, more and more people added more gum to the tree, resulting in the myriad of color that exists today.
I discovered a similar phenomena in central Nevada. Trees are rare here in the desert climate. One is generally hard pressed to spot a tree on the stark landscape. U.S. Highway 50 runs laterally through the center of the state, from Ely on its eastern border all the way to Lake Tahoe. It is a beautful drive, with long stretches of open country. Often times you can drive anywhere from 50 to 100 miles between towns with nary a house in site.
Between the small towns of Fallon and Austin stands a tree on the side of the highway. Much like the gum tree in Ohio, it has become a living, breathing work of collective art - a piece which has an unwritten history and a fluid, unending future. It exists by the sheer will of its anonymous participants and the spirit of conspiracy. I present to you, in all its breathtaking majesty and glory, the Nevada shoe tree.( Collapse )
You can see the entire set of photos I took that morning in my photo galleryx-posted to found_objects