unmonumentATL: Ed Akins

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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.
 

The Early Old Man

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The intersection of Krog and Irwin streets is probably the least heroic site in Atlanta. It holds, for me, the very essence of inspiration in its vacancy and the true beauty of this city in its abject decay. Through absence of clear function and program, this site exposes Atlanta at her most vulnerable and at her highest potential.
Atlanta is not a city, it is a landscape. Its strongest contextual givens are vegetal and infrastructural. —Rem Koolhaas
I know of no other location in Atlanta that so affably presents such a lyrical and, at the same time, prosaic understanding of our city. It takes many moments, layered upon one another, to understand a site like this.
On my last visit, I found a small plant of the genus erigeron perched on the old Stove Works’ forge wall. It overlooks a triangulation between the bridge (of longing), the tower (of the story teller), and the honeybee thicket. Emerging from the seed of narrative and the dust of Georgia clay, the earliest growth has white bristles of “age,” aptly named the early old man. This new growth rejoices in the sun and rain to one day—this day—bring forth a harvest of imaginations.
Unbuilt, unmonumental, and unequal.