In the time since my last visit, I decided that my first site has to be this cement-covered hillside overlooking the NJ Transit railroad. It’s a really unique site, a perfect example of the weirdness that can crop up in junkspace with the intersection of people & nature. It’s right above a tunnel. As you’re standing on this ridge facing out, you might see a train approaching you directly and then passing underneath you. It’s a powerful spot. A shrine here would be devoted to the train system’s infrastructure.

My intention was to go back last Sunday, get to know the site in more detail, assess what materials are available nearby, and maybe make something small. When I arrived, the gate was wide open, and there were U-Haul trucks parked bumper to bumper in the NJ Transit lot.

I walked towards the back of the lot, towards this site, but then I realized a pack of kids were following me! They ran up ahead of me and squeezed through the hole in the fance and into this site. I lost my nerve. How could I explain that I wanted to build a shrine to the trains on their hangout spot? I went elsewhere for awhile, and then came back after they were gone. Not sure exactly what to do; this is obviously their territory. I ended up making some very simple lean-to structures with just a few pieces of wood, sort of as a test. We’ll see if it’s still up when I return.

I do think of this as public art, but it has to be presented to the public in the right way and at the right time.

Here are a few detail shots taken in the area:

I also explored another area nearby more fully than before. This involved lowering myself off a little wall and walking down a steep hill of rubble, closer to the level of the trains. There, I assembled this shrine around a drainage pipe. The air inside the pipe is cool.

I like the visual rhyming of the tunnel to the shape of the pipe. They’re both corridors, in a sense.

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