Monday, August 25, 2008
images, top to bottom (moving geographically from south to north):
1, 2: Salmon Street Plaza, overlook north of Festival Plaza. Propose attaching flags from edge of overlook platform to shopping cart, wooden door, or other detritus washed up under platform
3: Near Belmont Street signage, propose attaching flags (flags attached to one another on cables) from cleat to log protruding from water, just offshore.
4: Overlook just south of Morrison Bridge. Propose attaching flags from railing overhead, either hanging down like banners, or attached to nearby trees.
5: Cantilever Walk, just north of Morrison Bridge. Propose attaching flags underneath platform to wooden posts, as shown.
additional sites north of Cantilever Walk may also be proposed.
Stop Carrying Out Your Intentions and Wait For My Signals is a project designed to chronicle Portland's maritime history, utilizing the coded language of marine signal flags. These hand-sewn nautical flags are assembled from second-hand clothing collected throughout the Pacific Northwest; garments are chosen that may amplify the content of the message. The recycled articles offer their own history, bringing a community forward. As an example, Go Tusko is pieced together from sheer blouses and fabrics, evoking the memory of Tusko the Magnificent, a ten-ton, twelve-foot costumed elephant that (in reponse to a low-flying airplane piloted by Tex Rankin) rampaged Lotus Isle in 1930, destroying buildings across the waterfront amusement park. Complementing this vision is our cheering Go, supporting his efforts, and simultaneously pointing towards the vibrant urban growth of Portland in subsequent years.
A deep interest in investigating the signal flags is questioning how they have been compromised in terms of their content-- when we initially went out to decipher flags on the waterway near our home, we were saddened to find that the letters didn't add up; nonsense, babel. What does this intone for our work? As (now) students of the language used for centuries to safely traverse foreign waters, what does it mean that the language has been (if not lost, then) transferred to something...else? Does it look better? What is the purpose of a visual language without a translation? We are outsiders to Portland, visitors who have surveyed your history and focused on images that resonate with us, however briefly or oddly. These flags are hung strategically along the Eastbank Esplanade, like graffiti, occurring at multiple sites. Walking the waterway becomes an aspect of this project, discovering flags and unveiling histories along the way. Meanings are suggested in fragmentary, partial ways, emerging erratically and transitionally.
Like a flag waving in the wind.