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Gridlines

Bremner Benedict
Year Grant Awarded 2010

Email > bremben@gmail.com
State > MA Zip Code > 01742
Website > http://www.bremnerbenedict.com

I see these electrical towers, poles, stations and lines as anonymous sculptures, design in the making. Where I find them is on landscapes that are open and appear empty. Their very presence creates a human altered landscape by dividing the land, and influencing vistas.
Our relationship to them is a peculiar one. Resembling futuristic fiction they appear like giant erector sets attached to Rube Goldberg-like devices, connecting us to the modern world. At the same time, their anthropomorphic shape makes some Navajo Native American’s call them electric Yeibeichais, the Talking Gods who can protect and heal.
Their first appearance was in the 1920’s and 30’s. They were seen as bringing much desired electrification and modernity; their visual presence was welcomed. No one thought about how they irrevocably changed the views they traveled through or how looking at these structures could create in us a mental unease. At the same time their endurance in the landscape offers the chance to see the effects our zeal for the products of modern consumption have on unspoiled territory.
I am exploring some of the overwhelming contrasts embodied in the appearance of these structures and their locations. They contain paradox: where they are gigantic but appear small in a vast landscape; they have an anthropomorphic sometimes humorous beauty while we perceive them as ugly and abhorrent. Who would want to live with them as a view outside our window? They support an awesome power that we cannot approach to closely. Sizzling wires can create instantaneous death.
We tend to ignore these structures since they disturb our fundamental notions of both the natural and man-made landscape. They interrupt the idealization we have about what is aesthetic.
These images are a part of the process of trying to determine what kind of meaning to give to what we see. What we want to see and think about transmission towers, poles and stations and the long