Inciting a latent fluorescence
This Chicago alley is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it is a rare extant example of end grain wood paving. A restoration in 2011 replaced most of the original creosote laden cedar pavers with a different wood, black locust, selected for its intrinsic hardness and rot resistance. Incidentally, black locust also fluoresces under ultraviolet light. One night I visited the alley and ablated the oxidation and soiling from a few pavers to reveal a photoreactive surface, while taking care not to gouge or mar the actual pavers. This act endeavors to simultaneously acknowledge the legacies shaping this infrastructure and wilily engage some of its historically extraneous attributes. It models a historico-environmental disposition committed both to preservation and the enigmatic pleasures of alternate uses and interpretations that rote historicization often precludes.