unmonumentATL: Elizabeth Lide

For our unmonumentATL series, we asked 13 artists to share their personal un-monuments with our readers. From January 13 to 29, we will present one artist’s submission per day. And don’t miss Nick Kahler‘s incisive two-part essay on the subject. UnmonumentATL was conceived by former BURNAWAY editor Rachel Reese.

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Clifton Road

Atlanta, Georgia

My first “un-monument” idea was a sign, “No Parking between 3 and 6 AM,” placed on our street before we moved here. On top of the sign, a neighbor attached a birdhouse made from a red cowboy boot. Why was the sign installed? When? And what about that boot? Had our cul-de-sac been a magnet for amorous couples? Then I remembered that residents voted to remove the sign so that we could park all night long. I kept my antennae out for another “un-monument.”

The next day, as I drove on Clifton Road around the curve near Emory Village—a route I take multiple times a week—my stomach knotted as I approached the emotionally charged landscape of bulldozed hills and downed trees. The scene shared themes with Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver’s novel about Monarch butterflies and their changing behavior due to climate change. I recently read this book, which addresses much more than butterflies: family, faith, media, religion, politics, mudslides, science, temptation, greed, self-discovery, survival and choices. “What was the use of saving a world that has no soul left in it. What if all human effort amounted basically to saving a place for ourselves to park?”

 

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