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Burn Unit
Level 6: 1771 points
Alltime Score: 12747 points
Last Logged In: July 8th, 2017
BADGE: Senator BADGE: INTERREGNUM BADGE: Journey To The End Of The Night Organizer TEAM: The Disorganised Guerilla War On Boredom and Normality TEAM: MNZero TEAM: Sockpuppets TEAM: Society for the Superior Completion of Tasks TEAM: Group Creation Public Badge TEAM: Team Shplank TEAM: The Imprisoners TEAM: Anti-Triclavianists TEAM: The Icepacks TEAM: SCIENCE! TEAM: SFØ Podcast TEAM: 0UT TEAM: Synaesthetics TEAM: LØVE TEAM: Public Library Zero TEAM: INFØ TEAM: The Cold War Reenactment Society TEAM: The Union of Non-Civilized Obedience and Invention BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 2: Trafficker EquivalenZ Rank 1: User The University of Aesthematics Rank 1: Expert Biome Rank 2: Ecologist Chrononautic Exxon Rank 1: Clockwatcher Society For Nihilistic Intent And Disruptive Efforts Rank 2: Trickster

75 + 13 points

Urban Altar by Burn Unit

July 5th, 2017 10:38 AM / Location: 44.984416,-93.25910

INSTRUCTIONS: Create an altar to the spirit of the city using objects found throughout the city.

For me the spirit of the Twin Cities is in art, motion and travel, and people--I think this task is properly done at an intersection of the bartPA, UofA and Humanitarian Crisis groups. I selected three spots in the city, determined to go to each and find something that represented the spirit of those places. I would take that representation, and travel to the heart of the city to build the altar.

The first stop would be the vast trainyards at the north end of University Ave in northeast. These are wonderful mazes of tracks and cargotainers and warehouses. Shoreham Yards is up there, the Canadian Pacific, Cbase, Universal Intermodal (which sounds like a front company for a spy agency). It's kind of staggering to look at. Wandering around you feel the deep rumble of the slow slow trains, sense the size of them. Minneapolis was always a hub - grain milling, lumber, and of course now there's retail goods, coal and oil moving through. The first object that really struck me was a rusted rail spike. There's loose spikes all over the area. I found two. Pocketing these I also looked for good photos. The smell of creosote from the old ties reminds me of the raised bed garden we had in South Dakota. I have such memories of that childhood place, the sounds of the prairie, the swish of cars on the highway, the alien feel of the grasshoppers among the tall weeds. A diesel engine started up with a great growl and hiss. I don't think I'd ever seen a locomotive starting up. There's something a little dizzying about the movement of the trains from this close, snaking across the land.  

Next came the Western Sculpture Park in St. Paul. The Walker Sculpture Garden is an iconic representation of our Cities. But I'm very angry with the Walker for the recent insensitivity over the Gallows sculpture. They're trying to make it right, but there's other sculpture parks here, so I sought the Western Sculpture Park out. That also gets you close to the capitol building in St. Paul, which is a beautiful place at night. Wandering around I felt the presence of the people who live around this sweet little park. I love the sense of these strange and beautiful works sunk in the midst of apartment buildings. We don't need art just in set apart places, we need it in the heart of things. The thing that presented itself here was a length of bright green ribbon which lay on the path. Perfect. I could see the altar taking shape in my mind. 

The third location was near the heart of downtown. Elliot Park neighborhood is a kind of intergenerational oasis and at its center is the park itself. We used Elliot as one of the checkpoints for Journey to the End of the Night several years ago. It's a beautiful little park with pool and community center, but it's also so close to the pulse of life in Minneapolis. There's cafes, apartments, churches, the Hennepin County Medical Center, and several homes right near the park. You can feel the beat of life - old age, death and birth, and immigrant families in the park at all times of day and night. There were kids playing basketball in the dark, and people walking and talking quietly. There was a playground in there, with sand - the innumerable joys of sand made sense so into an abandoned cup it went, the last piece of the altar.

To build the altar required a trip to the oldest place in the city, and the site of many of my past task-glories: Nicollet Island. (Treasure Island for example and Purple Monkey Dishwaser for another) It should be known that the tiny faerie kingdom of Nicollet Island is pretty much my favorite thing in Minneapolis besides the people. So I felt it relevant to build the altar there. Walking down the southeastern tip of the island, past the people watching Captain America: Civil War in the park, down to the water's edge, it was a beautiful, still spot. Tied the spikes together with the ribbon. Looking up to the north bank, you can see one of the condo towers has a Fleur de lys in stained glass at the top - auspicious. So the sand was poured out in a fleur shape, and the pieces laid atop it. More sand was poured, libation style, upon the spikes. The spirit of the city served, it was time to retire for the night. 

+ larger

is it him? is he the spirit?
above the trainyard
the burlington northern
spike on the ground
towers between the cars
a strange beautiful object
old ties
down the line
sunset near the trainyard
hail the orb
the green flash!
the capitol
western sculpture park at dusk
art in the gloaming
the ribbon!
In Elliot Park
buildings past the play field
seniors living facility
playground at night, source of sand
the edge of the island
fleur de lys in light!
pouring out some sand
tie the spikes
the altar is built!
pouring out our libation, our lives flow, numerous as the grains of sand

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1 comment(s)

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posted by Beta Orionis on July 6th, 2017 10:42 AM

I am confident that Dr. Subtle would approve of the railyard as an energetic hub and the inclusion of spikes in the final alter build.

Glad you're still tasking. :)