Tuesday, December 18, 2007

DC Pond Scum

No, really. Pond scum. It's not a metaphor for politicians.

This is what the reflecting pool on the National Mall looked like earlier this fall. It was empty of water and caked over in some kind of crackled mud. In the abstract, I thought it was actually quite a lovely site. The smell is another story.

There are several artists who examine the urban landscape at a micro level. German photographer Frank Thiel, for example, did a series on Berlin, publishing a book of those works that date from 1995-2005. The cumulative effect of the images is the complex story of a city struggling to rebuild under the shadow of 60 billion euros worth of debt. Here are a few shots, ranging from peeling paint and metal floor studs to scaffolding and housing projects.

Stadt 12/46 (Berlin)

Stadt 2/58 (Berlin)

Stadt 10/07 (Berlin)

SK 76 / 2-Mp (#4)

Stadt 2/84 (Berlin)