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Ink Tea
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20 + 110 points

Trespassing the Future by Ink Tea

August 23rd, 2008 2:10 PM / Location: 43.159988,-97.69214

INSTRUCTIONS: Go to a place you will not be able to go to in 10 years; for instance, a place under development that will never be the same again.

Perhaps I've done this wrong, but this was my first thought upon seeing the task, even though it now feels like I've trespassed the past. I completed this task in mid-June and am only writing it up now.

My first memory of the Other Place was visiting my great grandmother, who still lived there, but wouldn't for much longer, as her Alzheimer's was making it harder to live there on her own, even though she was a quarter mile down the gravel driveway from the House, where my grandparents lived.

The Other Place

The Other Place was the original house on the centennial homestead that my great-grandfather had claimed as part of the "timber culture" of the Homestead Act of 1862. When my great grandmother moved out of the house 25 years ago, no one ever moved into it. This was likely because my aunts and uncles were now all adults living far from the farm, as were their cousins. I don't even remember any of my relatives staying at the Other Place during Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving- there was always enough room at the House. The Other Place refers not only to my great-grandparents' house, but also to that part of the farm.

But the Other Place was still present- we'd go up to mow the overgrown lawn or to re-shingle the roof. I don't think we thought about who was going to move into the other place, we just upkept it. My family was one of the families who didn't leave the state, so things like that naturally fell to our responsibility. Over the years, the place slowly started to be less secure- some raccoons moved into the attic, a skunk got into the basement, a vandal (way out in the middle of nowhere?) broke a window to get in and try to steal something (though there wasn't much to steal at that point.)

Years have taken their toll on the Other Place, and it's getting dangerous to visit it. The siding is long gone, and the walls are little more than slats of wood in some places- the floors and ceilings dangerous, too. Holes gaped in the floor and debris lay there in the basement. There was a ladder, propped up into one of the holes in the ceiling up to the second floor, but the state of the floors and ceilings were precarious and I was alone and unwilling to climb if I had no one to go and call an ambulance if I fell through and hurt myself.

I've been into the house at the Other Place a number of times in its decrepitude- another heavy winter will make me unwilling to risk myself into it again. The old White Barn (the Red Barn was painted white years ago, but we must differentiate somehow, so it is still the Red Barn in spite of its whiteness) has a vile lean on it, and is kept from falling entirely by supports. Rural midwest is for me, the proof of strength of time, weather, and nature on man's structures. Decaying barns and farmhouses are a regular sight. They sink inward from the roofs, crumble from one end to another, or slowly lean like Pisa until they come moaning into a crash. The house at the Other Place still stands upright, though the wind blows right through- I don't know how this ghost will finally crumble, but I most definitely feel like I have tresspassed its time.

the other place

+ larger

The Other Place
Hatted grandfather with aunt, 1945
Grampa and Aunt, 1946
Mother and Aunt, 1948
Aunt on the Porch, 1948
The Other Place, 2008
Front Door, 2008
Porch Support
Jeri's Talc
Vacation Bible School
Cokes and Plaster
Livingroom and Kitchen
Screen Door

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5 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by teucer on August 23rd, 2008 2:21 PM

Ten years might be a little pessimistic, but the thought of losing a place that's meant that much to you in the past is a very inspiring one. Nice work, though it's a shame you had a chance to complete it this way.

(no subject) +1
posted by Ink Tea on August 23rd, 2008 2:24 PM

I wish I had a photograph of the snow up to the second story- even one bad South Dakota snowstorm could probably be the end of this place. Two years ago the farm had 20 foot drifts. Combine that with wind? I don't think I'm being pessimistic.

(no subject) +1
posted by Bryce on August 23rd, 2008 3:58 PM


Now I just got a totally depressing idea for this task that I will never do.

(no subject) +2
posted by Ben Yamiin on August 23rd, 2008 4:43 PM

whenever i see someone write 'Perhaps I've done this wrong,' at the beginning of a praxis description, it inevitably ends up amazing.

(no subject) +2
posted by Ink Tea on August 23rd, 2008 5:17 PM

other place.jpg