TERRA INTERREGNUM (This page is under renovations)
“Every crane on every corner tells a story” San Francisco Magazine, October 20, 2013.
San Francisco of late has embarked on a building boom whose scale and scope exceeds any in the city’s collective consciousness. And while the eyes of the city settle on the cranes in the skyline (more than two dozen, by one count), their earthbound counterparts - mounds of dirt, manifold and mountainous - go barely noticed.
Morphologically, these mounds are synonymous with both construction and destruction; in a broader sense, beginnings and ends. Paydirt describes the liminal landscape typified by such incidental earthworks that are not planned or designed but exist as a corollary, or by-product, of building activity - breaking ground. The abundance of paydirt, or lack thereof, is a powerful metric for measuring the health of a local economy. Its archeological condition - loose, compacted, vegetated, barren, tarped - marks the length of disruption and scale of change.
In this landscape of excavation and deposition artifacts are exhumed, foreign species transposed, and seeds stowed. The porous and pliant dirt is an exceptional interruption in an otherwise sealed and impervious urban crust.
Paydirt mounds are ubiquitous and indiscriminate. They can, and do, inhabit almost any parcel-type in the city: national parkspace, gentrifying blocks, historic landmarks, commercial financial and districts. The mound acquires temporary status because it is typically moved or disseminated in a matter of days or weeks, but the constant presence of paydirt somewhere in the urban landscape lends it a feeling of permanence and timelessness.
These transient topographies of heaps, mesas, cones, and slag remain anonymous despite their size and eccentricities. Their sculptural qualities, often monumental scales, and omnipresence in every metropolis demand a taxonomy. Paydirt documents and classifies the evolving permutations in San Francisco as they accumulate, sprout, degrade, are hewn and truncated and, finally, returned to the ground.