Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Ring of Fire

DSC03377 Andy Goldsworthy faultline

I live within the Ring of Fire, less than five miles from the San Andreas Fault. The Ring of Fire is a 40,000 kilometer horseshoe partly encircling the Pacific Basin. Its continuous oceanic trenches and volcanic arcs create 90% of the world's earthquakes. With four significant earthquakes, in Haiti, Chile, Japan, and Taiwan, since the beginning of the year, there is talk whether the Ring of Fire is hyper-agitated right now.


Our half-hearted discussions about updating our earthquake preparedness kits resurfaced these past few weeks, but I don't know anyone who is actually doing it. It may surprise those who live on firmer ground how matter-of-fact most of us in this region are about this Sword of Damocles looming over our heads. We trade in this brewing threat for our perfect Mediterranean climate, abundant natural wonders, and wonderful fresh food. We bask in all this glory as the Pacific Plate slides beneath the North American Plate under our feet.

Don't get me wrong, we aren't completely complacent. Our building codes aim to be vigilant about "The Next Big One". All brick buildings must be reinforced, our Bay Bridge is being rebuilt, and many of our favorite buildings were condemned to the wrecking ball after the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.

One of the buildings suffering devastating damage in the 1989 earthquake was the De Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. During the construction of the new building, the museum approached British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy to create an installation for the entry courtyard. Goldsworthy already completed the earthquake-related sculpture, Stone River, at nearby Stanford University. Formerly called "Faultline", now called "Drawn Stone", Goldsworthy drew inspiration from the seismic movement that ultimately brought the De Young's original 1895 building down.Visitors can now follow a tiny fissure in the stone pavers, beginning just outside the building, into the courtyard, where it builds momentum and rises in amplitude bisecting large cuboid boulders.

DSC03375 Andy Goldsworthy faultline
Appleton Greenmoore sandstone pavers

DSC03376 Andy Goldsworthy faultline

Many visitors pass without noticing the faultlines snaking through the courtyard. Its understated appearance belies the force required to form this work.

DSC03378 Andy Goldsworthy faultline


DSC03563 Andy Goldsworthy faultline

Goldsworthy painstakingly created this installation over the period of three months. Click here to view a great video of Goldsworthy in action.

While you do that, I think I'll review our earthquake-preparedness kit while Johnny Cash sings of a different "Ring of Fire" altogether:


Note: Many earthquake victims around the world still need aide. See the badge on my side bar to learn of one way to help.

Another note:  Please forgive the blue-green cast of the last photo; I was shooting through the second floor window.

21 comments:

Jesse Noe Mendez said...

Hi how are you?

I was looking through your blog, and I found it interesting, and inspiring to me, so I thought why not leave you a comment.

I have a blog also obviously and would like to invite you to become my blog friend.

I mostly post about the Southern California experience through the perspective of my art.

Maybe you can become my pal, and follow, and I can also follow you, if that is okay.

Well I hope to hear from you soon... :)

Kris said...

This was so interesting. I don't know much about this but now I do. And the Johnny Cash video made my dad. Love him!

Susan said...

That is an awesome installation! Beautiful, but a lit-tle scary. Why is it that most paradises seem to come with a price? I guess God has to exact some payment to live there, eh?

I actually like the pic you took from the second story...gives it an other-worldly look.

Ruth said...

First, your blog looks fantastic. Your tulips on this deep winish brown pop and satisfy.

Second, this is a very cool installation, and I learned some things. I do remember when we had earthquake readiness stashes when we lived in Pasadena.

Postcards and Coasters said...

Smart that your getting prepared. When I have layovers in Calf. & stay in tall hotels I always pray that an earthquake won't strike... they scare me.

I would love to get together when you come to Scottsdale if you have time... I hope I'm in town. :)
sflinders@cox.net

Marilyn said...

Fascinating installation at the museum. I remember living in San Jose as a girl and feeling a very strong earthquake. We have had a few here in Portland, but nothing like I remember as a girl. They are scary and we should be prepare.

Johnny Nutcase said...

ugh, earthquakes. I never even thought about them until that one hit Eureka a few months ago and we were overseas. then I flipped out. I definitely appreciate the artists entrance piece to the museum, pretty interesting stuff! Also, Ring of Fire is a great song!

Shelle said...

i don't know how you folks sleep at night over there with the earth moving round like that...

i'm from australia and they say if the ring of fire 'went off' at once we'd sink.

Jay said...

There are very few sculptures or works of what you might call 'modern art' which I like, but I do like this one. It's quite powerful, isn't it? Even though it is, as they say, 'understated'.

We lived in New Zealand for a year, and I was very nervous about the whole Ring of Fire thing. We were walking around on old volcanoes half the time (Auckland is built on about sixty of them), some of which they refer to as dormant. We stayed on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu and flew over Ngauruhoe, and climbed Rangitoto, but I lived in a state of fear! And yes, I DID have an earthquake kit! LOL!

A Cuban In London said...

The first phrase that jumped at me was:

'the Ring of Fire is hyper-agitated right now.'

Captivating post. And, am I the only finding that fissure beauty even if it signifies destruction? Complex and paradoxical creatures we are, humans. :-)

Greetings from London.

Shammickite said...

You said "Many visitors pass without noticing the faultlines snaking through the courtyard." Does that mean there's no explanation to the public of what this piece of sculpture represents?
I've never been in a proper earthquake.... just a teeny one here in Toronto when the ceiling tiles flapped up and down and the building swayed almost imperceptibly. But the images from Haiti and Turkey and Chile are very frightening. I hope The Big One doesn't happen.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Jesse Noe Mendez,
Welcome to Dutchbaby! I'm glad you decided to leave a note. You have several lovely blogs.

Dear Kris,
You have other things to worry about in New York. I grew to appreciate Johnny Cash more after I saw "Walk the Line". I was very happy to find this vintage clip on YouTube.

Dear Susan,
Our paradise does seem to have a Faustian bargain attached to it, doesn't it?

I'm glad you like that second-story photo but I did feel I had to explain the ghoulish hue.

Ginnie said...

Ruth and I both lived in Pasadena at the same time so we have the same memories of all the tremors we'd get. One in particular was during the Rose Parade years ago, which I was watching on TV before the big Rose Bowl game. I still can hear all the dishes rattling!

Stay safe!

dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
Why thanks for noticing my new outfit! I chose one of the dark colors in my tulip photo as a background color.

Too bad you're not in Pasadena any more - you'd be easier for me to visit.

Dear Postcards and Coasters,
I'm so excited that I'll see you soon! Play ball!

Dear Marilyn,
Completely by coincidence, my husband told me last night that he put our generator through a test run this weekend. Now I have to go through the rest of the earthquake supplies and refresh them.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Johnny Nutcase,
We were also on our honeymoon when the '89 earthquake hit California. It was difficult not knowing whether our house was still okay. I'm so glad you didn't have any damage in the Eureka earthquake.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Shelle,
We sleep very comfortably here. Denial is a strong force.

Welcome to Dutchbaby!

Relyn said...

Next time I want to see a Goldsworthy in person. Plus go to the beach again. But mostly just laugh and talk again.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Jay,
I'm very surprised that you are not generally a fan of modern sculptures because so many of your Macro Monday submissions could qualify as such.

For some reason volcanoes make me much more nervous than regular ol' earthquakes. It's irrational, I know.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Cuban,
Yes, we are a complex and paradoxical species. I am drawn to the power these beautiful lines represent.

Dear Shammickite,
You ask a very good question here. I will look next time I go.

When I was younger, my invincible youthful exuberance allowed me to get a thrill out of our earthquakes. Now that I have experienced a more significant earthquake and seen the massive destruction it has created around the world, I am much more uneasy whenever we have a tremor.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
I don't remember a tremor during a Rose Bowl Parade; that must have been an experience! Hearing the dishes rattle is unnerving. I remember watching my plant walk across my desk when I worked in a downtown San Francisco high-rise on the 17th floor. I also remember looking out my window and seeing the high-rise next door undulate back and forth as we did the same.

dutchbaby said...

Dear Relyn,
You did see this in person! Like I said, it's pretty understated :)

I look forward to seeing you again in a few months!

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