Friday, April 30, 2010

Cell Tower

Most people regard cell towers as a blight on the landscape, but I’m weirdly attracted to them. They’re beautiful in their own strange way, delicate and mysterious. I don’t understand how they work. I can’t tell whether they’re listening or speaking.

Fifty years from now, cell towers will no longer be in use. Most of them will be torn down or converted to other uses. They’ll be a rare sight. Only older people will use cell phones or iPads.

The kids with their "implantcoms" will laugh at the old-timers who still use handhelds. Cell towers will be like sailing ships or neon signs. Artists will paint them in their nostalgic landscapes, and they’ll talk about how beautiful they are.

14 comments:

Catherine said...

I completely agree about the eerie, science fiction-y magnetism of cell towers! I have several concepts for photography projects that revolve around cell towers.

Might I add that their weird appeal is heightened considerably in the moments before a big storm hits, when the air feels electric and the sky reflects that intimidating green glow all over everything.

r8r said...

the artifacts of any process become the hallmarks of future art. the buzz of neon, the blot in a woodcut, the broken R in handset type...

Bob Mrotek said...

Yup,
Cell towers will go the way of the old style giant TV satellite dishes that are no longer used but still haunt the city rooftops like the old wooden water tanks with the conical roofs that are finally fading away.

Purple Artist said...

I am curious what you think might replace them. I've considered cochlear implants, not unlike what was in Harrison Bergeron. Heh. That may not be as sci-fi as we might think.

I debated with an artist about putting an iPod as a prop in his painting. I didn't feel something so trendy worked well with fine art. Artifacts/antiques, definitely . . . I think my argument might have been specious.

Chris Jouan Illustration said...

Sometimes you and I really speak the same language. I read this post to my wife and she just shook her head knowingly.

Sometimes you can't help but see things in terms of the future.

Joseph said...

Its like TV aerials, people for a long time refused to paint them on houses, though on a lot of new houses here in the UK they don't have them on the outside, they are all in the roof space these days

Music in Media said...

Really nice blog you got here :)

i just write blogs about music, it would be great if you could give some of them a read if you have time? :)

http://musicinmedia1.blogspot.com/

Thanks
Rory x

Don Cox said...

"Its like TV aerials, people for a long time refused to paint them on houses,"

Giles used to have fun with TV aerials in his cartoons.

Johan Derycke said...

I guess they fit in a city environment more or less, but it's quite disturbing to see in a rural environment or a forest.

ivo.de.wispelaere said...

In 50 years (when I'm 84), I will remember them mostly for their negative influence on public health...

FrogDog said...

Been lurking a couple months now. Gotta tell you this is a marvelous blog. Fascinating tidbits and excellant technical information. Highest praise for you.

Now, back to the conversation...

There is a cell tower on the top of Monument Hill in Colorado that is shaped like a big pine tree. There is a company that specializes in camouflaging cell towers.

Cat Rocketship said...

Chiming in as yet another person who loves cell towers. And the other aerials. They are overlooked but so HUGE and otherworldly. Sometimes I think of them as lovely giants. But then, I tend to anthropomorphize too much.

Ben said...

Really enjoy the blog, James.

Cell towers are awesome. Once you start looking for them, you notice them everywhere. My wife did a series of paintings based on cell towers:

http://bonnielking.com/photologue/gallery/new/

Jen Lau said...

Totally. I mean, they're kind of an odd novelty if you think about it. What's undeniable though is that they have a very real significance, with the way that lives work now, and the way that people go to their daily recourse. They can also really add to the architecture and the landscape, as a preview of the new tier of complexity cell phone tech has raised human beings to, in terms of correspondences and connections.

Jen @ Tower Point