I don't know exactly what it is about the boneyard creek that draws me into its hidden corridor, but i suspect that it is precisely because it is a hidden corridor that makes it such a strange and wonderful place. The portion of the boneyard that i am speaking of here has been completely re-envisioned by an engineering intervention that has rendered it something other than what one might consider a creek. The banks have become vertical corrugated steel walls reaching a height of 12-14 ft. and the channel itself has been converted to a smooth continuous slab of concrete. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect are the culverts that pass below the streets and parking lots of Urbana. The culverts are excellent examples of what I would consider unintended architecture in a landscape that is something of a second nature. The experience of walking through the culvert is like no other one might find in Urbana and for me represents a kind of hidden sublimity.
I think that it will be useful to use this blog space to begin to catalog my findings at the boneyard and consider the strange beauty that exists there. There are many, many examples of surface patterning that result from the transformative and dispersal power of water that find many particular forms of expression in the boneyard. The series of photos above are an example of the patterning that results from the oxidization of the vertical steel banks and the layering of moss, lichens, light and shadow. It is hard for me not to consider these panels without the influence of art and picture making, but these panels are, i assume, very much alive in that they are slowly evolving and in a motion that speaks to the rhythm of the lichens growth and the earths movement.