170210 Twenty-One Days - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto
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More a collision than a collage, this is a merge of six different photos from my last trip to New York City in November 2014. It's mostly an intentionally blurred photo of an adverting billboard and the magazine rack of a bodega in a touristy part of Manhattan, taken with my GR while I was in an experimental mood. It's also incorporating Jasper Johns flag and a Cy Twombly painting from MoMA, along with a prepositioned K-rail barrier stencilled for the NYPD. I don't know if it works as an image, but it's a mess of symbols and confusion, which was all I was trying for.


In just over four years I took nine trips to New York City. One was for ten days, two were for a weekend, and the other six were just for a single Saturday each. It's an easy trip to an interesting place, and I'm not doing it any more.

It's been three weeks since America started being ruled by an impulsive unhinged bigot and his amateurish gaggle of loyalists. It's impossible to keep any simple account of all of the details that have changed in that time, but the essence is that Official America has become meaner and unpredictable. And that is certain to become far, far worse.

Unofficial America, the people themselves, has been a source of inspiration and activism. I would like to be able to support that, to see it for myself, or even just be there for a day to see what has changed and be in touch with the process. But crossing the border no longer feels like a trivial act, and isn't something I can take for granted.

It's only been three weeks. Maybe things will stabilize, perhaps things will improve; maybe the protections of Canadian citizenship will extend to Muslim citizens as well, and to those who want to exercise rights that are protected in the constitutions of both countries. I suppose stranger things have happened.


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