Curious assortment of objects
August 12, 2007 2:37 AM   Subscribe

Can you cast any light on the meaning or purpose of this arrangement of objects I came across under a rail bridge? The words in chalk read "In the end no one lives".
posted by nthdegx to Religion & Philosophy (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes. The Church of Drugs.
posted by Liosliath at 2:46 AM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]

A bum with OCD? It looks like someone sleeps there and has a table with a light source. That all the bottles are lined up doesn't have to mean anything, I do that too sometimes. And then some indigent Ecclesiastes wanted to remind us that all is vanity and a striving after wind.
posted by creasy boy at 3:03 AM on August 12, 2007

That all the bottles are lined up doesn't have to mean anything

It isn't just the bottles. The whole tableau is arranged in a symmetrical pattern, from the springy wire things at the bottom of the square slab, to the chalk arrow above the candle.

I still don't think it has to mean anything though. My money is on homeless art student.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:42 AM on August 12, 2007

It's obviously a solar calendar.

No, seriously, when I look at the pictures I see nerdy teens sitting under a bridge, drinking, smoking, chatting, and idly arranging their garbage into a pleasing symmetrical pattern (along with some other detritus that was lying around).

When they're about to leave, the one kid who reads Bukowski chalks in the message as a finishing touch.
posted by No-sword at 4:15 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

I don't know, but the center object looks like a turntable, with the record in the middle and the needle device on the side. Perhaps someone was photographing artfully arranged found objects and comparing them to their real-world equivalents? If not, maybe you could do this anyway.
posted by mateuslee at 4:35 AM on August 12, 2007

See, here I was thinking it was someone paying homage to a dead homeless person.

He liked music, beer, whatever, and the compressed gas tank was a big fat headstone.

I mean, because generally when you die homeless you get a pine box in Potters Field. It's likely enough that they didn't even know his real name.
posted by TomMelee at 6:11 AM on August 12, 2007

i was going to say, assuming this was usa, that it looked like a shrine. this kind of thing is quite common in latin america (it's not unusual for (soft drink) bottles to be left at roadside shrines - i am not sure why). it still looks pretty weird, but cultural mash-ups sometimes are.

however, i realised you're in the uk and i don't imagine that has the same latin american immigrant influences.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:39 AM on August 12, 2007

Hobo shrine.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:05 AM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

Goth kids with too much time on their hands?

I see this type of things often near the tracks here.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:48 AM on August 12, 2007

There's a spot under a bridge here in Cleveland that has been a magnet for all sorts of artwork made from found objects. I've seen everything from small collages to elaborate shrines to some damn fine graffiti. This would fit right in.
posted by waxboy at 8:22 AM on August 12, 2007

I'm thinking it's probably an artsy homeless person, like this semi-famous guy in NYC.
posted by xo at 9:54 AM on August 12, 2007

It reminds me of the last line in Blade Runner.
posted by lemuria at 10:39 AM on August 12, 2007

I second shrine.
posted by The Deej at 12:27 PM on August 12, 2007

I make those where I live. They exist to fuck with people. Obviously this guy's has done its job well.
posted by tehloki at 4:56 PM on August 12, 2007

To me, it's perfectly clear that this is the work of the same mysterious beings responsible for crop circles.
posted by flabdablet at 5:07 PM on August 12, 2007

Crop circles are made by guys with a lot of time on their hands, a flat board, and the willingness to fuck with people. There's a lot of mysterious things that can be explained by the dadaist impulse of youth.
posted by tehloki at 5:23 PM on August 12, 2007

One other possibility is that a schizophrenic person made that. I once knew a girl with that disorder who made a very interesting arrangement of objects around a tree. Obviously it had meaning to her, but only her.
posted by konolia at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2007

I make these comments on web sites where I hang out. They exist to fuck with people. Obviously that one has done its job well :-)

A little more on-topic: I have built similar found-object arrangements, on various scales, while in the grip of psychosis; as konolia hints, at the time they were so ecstatically stuffed with meaning as to be almost unbearable. You might care to try just standing and contemplating this thing as a piece of art, just as you might if it turned up in a gallery. Give it time to soak in, and see if it eventually moves you.

The way to mess with a dadaist's head is to demonstrate clearly that they have produced something worthy of time spent in contemplation :-)

Or, maybe you can examine the wall behind the installation for traces of miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary or whatever.
posted by flabdablet at 7:59 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

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