Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Yellow Taxi

I used to recognize my way around this town not by the buildings but by the intermittent absence of buildings: by parks, canals, rivers and vacant blocks - particularly those enhanced with magnificent rain trees festooned merrily with vines and bright leafy parasites. And over recent years an incomprehensible number of new buildings have risen rapidly into these havens, these crevices between the established crop of skyscrapers and shopping-malls.

From these architectural absences, what were the reference points of nature in the unnatural city, the untrod expanses of green grasses and the soft spider webs which nobody sees and all those ancient trees, they are disappearing, they've already gone. It is as if they had been swallowed by the tunnels for new subways or pounded deep into foundations. And these new constructions - stylishly ugly, uniquely indistinguishable, fashionably transient - are now ubiquitous and therefore nowhere are they special. Shiny bright and flashy, neon and LCD, all the same because of their disparity. If everything becomes unique, unique becomes bland and cliché.

I get lost much more easily now that there are fewer anchor points of calming, reassuring non-buildings remaining. The only way left to be truly unique in this town is to not be here.

Rain trees by Newton Station. These are gone.

Delicate webs in the grass. This is gone.

Construction Site. All the trees beyond the fence are gone now as well, sacrificed for the second stage of the Circle Line subway.


Singapore's tree museum.


1 comment:

knobby said...

don't you know that trees are property in this country and not a form of life?

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