Walk to a place in public. Lie down for ten seconds on the ground, somewhere that doesn’t make sense. Get up and walk away normally. Once you are out of site of where you laid down, look at someone who didn’t see you do so. Think about what you’ve just gotten away with doing that they don’t know about.
This weeks walk was most striking to me because of how transgressive it felt. Leaving my apartment to walk somewhere and find something felt like a very odd thing to do. It felt like I was cheating somehow, because I wasn’t sure where I was going or how long I would be gone, or even what exactly I would be doing when I got to where I was going. I was also once again walking at night, so the idea of closely exploring anything in public felt like it would be performative by virtue of how odd it would appear to any viewers.
As I walked I looked for whatever the “architectural development” would turn out to be. I passed a giant walled off school that’s being built near me, but it felt too soon. Though I did feel it’s isolation from the population that surrounds it manifested by it’s walls. That was pretty strong. It’s a private elementary school with a 40k+ tuition fee, a block away from the second largest housing projects in the city. The construction site is walled off by a solid fence of eight foot high green plywood, topped with razor wire.
I passed several other areas of new construction, but they were all walled off or guarded to keep the riff raff out. Finally, just as I knew I would, I saw it. It was on the ground. A spot of pavement that had recently been dug up. While it might not have been what the authors of the assignment meant by Architectural development, it was certainly a development in the architecture of the city, and it was new, with seams and plenty of texture.
I started by walking around the edge of it, and studied it’s shape. Rectilinear. The new asphalt was floating on the old, surfing on a rip tide of electric dreams. I noticed the coins embedded in the new processed black oil earth coating. Con Edison, 14. I felt the clatter of the jack hammers and the pressure of the steam roller. The white on black helped safely convey 11 people during my interaction with the ground. The buzz of power lines hemmed and hawed under my feet. When I had walked it, studied it, felt it’s textures with my hands and bandaged fingers, I knew there was only one more thing to do. I laid my head to rest on the pillow of the street, and the vibrating pulse of the city raced through the earth and into my veins.
I felt like the readings this week were all sort of swirling around one of the central tenets of my life right now. I teach people how to construct things with their hands and various tools. This requires two distinct forms of knowledge. One of them is very cerebral, and one of them is entirely kinesthetic. Both of them are valid and real forms of knowledge.