Notes on Our Aesthetics
The second year of Watershed is underway, and we would like to take this opportunity to address some of the aesthetics of the site itself. From the beginning, we believed that Watershed would benefit from a pared-down, even minimal style. In taking this approach, we've hoped to keep the focus on the theory posts themselves. There is no color (other than grayscale) on any permanent site feature, so the only color images are connected to the posts. We also decided that the permanent images should be place based, reflective of the region where we study and work, the areas that surround us, and the spaces that we inhabit, encounter, and are influenced by. The pictures that make up the Watershed logo were all taken in and around Lincoln, many in the late winter months of 2014.
Below is an assortment of the photos that comprise our logo:
To match our growing ranks this year, we needed a new set of interconnected photos to accompany our bio pages. We considered just doing some casual shots when, thanks to an overheating engine, a discovery was made quite by accident.
Scattered across Lincoln are small mobile home communities, decades old, containing units that appear to have been purchased at roughly the same time. Like the three-story apartment buildings, which are identical and placed on various lots throughout the Near South neighborhood, these communities give one the impression of having been an investment by an individual, family, or group sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. We haven't researched the history of these communities, preferring (at least for now) to remember them in the liminal space between absence and presence, between buildings and their materials, between construction and destruction and disruption, which they occupied when we encountered them. It is worth noting, though, that Brandon Teena grew up in one of these communities in Northeast Lincoln.
The community we had stumbled upon is (or was) located where West “O” Street crosses the Salt Creek, a more industrial (for lack of a better adjective) part of town. At one point, during the record rain fall of last spring, the Salt Creek crested over its levees and flooded this community. What we had come across, while the car engine was cooling, was abandoned and condemned.
When Zach Mueller, Watershed’s resident photographer, returned with a small group just a few days later, the homes were actively being pulled from their foundations. Zach’s photos are truly amazing. Like our overall aesthetic vision, they are place based. They demand a presence for a community that has ceased to exist. As of right now, all of the mobile homes have been removed.
Perhaps there is also a theoretical implication of shifting foundations at work in these images.
Here, in full color, are some of Zach's photos: