Metered Growth


(Site-specific installation at Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco)

Several parking meters grow through a gallery floor reaching heights of fourteen feet and above, wintry metal branches sprouting from their “trunks” – technology disguised as organic growth. Their continuous supply of nourishment will only give rise, one may assume, to a new crop of parking meters, which in turn will proliferate endlessly, eating up the remaining acres of cityscape.

Such would be a possible reading for METERED GROWTH: an indictment of urban development. Yet the piece also lends itself to a radically different interpretation. For the industrial world need not only represent a threat, it may also be a source of accidental beauty, a garden of unexpected and partly undesigned delights. In its juxtaposition of the mineral and vegetable worlds, the “everyday miracle” celebrates a potential fusion of nature with technology.

For a city-dweller, the meter is her tree, a downtown street her leafy boulevard. And this need not be an anxious incursion into her life, but can provide a welcome addition to the otherwise sterile landscape. Ultimately, perhaps, the functional returns to the purely aesthetic, as the passing years add charm and sap utility. And these meters rise just beyond the reach of anyone who would dare to feed them a quarter.