Second Thoughts :
When I again saw the piece, however, this time through a photo I flipped right past it. I did not pause and think of what it might have felt like to either be on those stairs when the shaking began, or to see the once standing stairs after. I did not wonder, how the hell do you get to the next floor now. I just kept moving forward. It seems that when a photo is just plain outrageous or eye catching in some way, more attention is paid, but this all depends. I suppose John Berger was right, we do not give an art piece the same attention, have the same feelings, or even pay attention to an art piece as well as we would when standing in front of it face to face. This is all due to one’s perception. We already view things differently because of past experiences, and already gained knowledge. But when something is taken out of its original place as digital pictures virtually allows us to, it’s a whole other story.
The Aura :
When I first stood in front of the stairs I felt sadness and curiosity. It had a sort of drawing effect, which was unapparent when looking in a photo of them. Stairs that before would seem so strong beneath my feet as I walked up them were so easily brushed away like dust.
All and All :
This piece was created to represent what took place on January 17, 1994. A day for some that they became homeless, or financially strained. I myself can only imagine and view past images of the ordeal, considering I was born a day shy of a year later. In fact that is why I first remembered the date when I first heard of the earthquake in grade school. This just goes to show that we all may see something different when passing these unique stairs. Some may see a failed construction project, jokingly or in all seriousness. Without knowing any background information of what had happened 20 years ago in this Southern California city known as Northridge, this isn’t unlikely to be the case. Don’t be afraid to get up close with art and let it help you escape reality for a while. The aura and feeling one can get from an art piece tends to be better felt and appreciated close up and personal.
By Anna Zane a currently a student at California State University, Northridge. I enjoy writing, singing and socializing.