About a week ago I took a trip down the eastern seaboard by train. My sister and I needed to get from Boston to Baltimore and since she hates to fly we decided to take the train. Neither of us had ever traveled very far by train, and not in the area in which we would be traveling. It was an interesting experience. We boarded the train in Westwood, MA and debarked at BWI in Maryland. The scenes from the train varied widely over the course of the trip. We took a “local” and the trip lasted 7.5 hours going down, and 6 hours coming back. While it was not some loftly “trip across America” it impacted me in ways I did not expect. It brought both great joy and wonder at the wonderful place that is America. Yet, this was tempered by equal amounts of sadness and despair. The joy can be attributed to beautiful views of the coastline and green vistas along the route. The sadness and despair were brough on by visions of trash, slums and urban decay. I have decided to base of new body of work upon the scenes I viewed from the train. As a start, and to cement ideas in my mind, some of my postcards will now revolve around documenting these scenes in an abbreviated form. Today’s miniature collage is the first of these.
In far too many areas, along the train route, trash littered the sides of the tracks. Often the train would be in a shallow trough with buildings and the towns above us. It was sad to see that the sides of this trough were covered with discarded refuse. Out of sight of mind must have been the idea behind tossing it there. I would not even say that the parts of town that this occurred in were the “bad” parts of town though I can’t say for sure. More likely they were just the unseen parts that the townspeople did not have to look at and therefore chose not to address. Thankfully, on the return trip we did see some cleanup being undertaken in one area, likely by some individuals doing enforced public service. I tried to give a sense of this scene in today’s work through collaged pieces cut and torn from magazines