I-5 Southbound, San Diego, February 2019 copyright 2019 Douglas Stockdale
First, this is not meant to be an inspiring photograph as it’s a cell phone drive-by grab shot. Essentially a quick visual note about the evolving demolition of the I-5 middle plant divider as this freeway winds down along the Pacific Ocean coast in San Diego county.
The backstory is that this interesting freeway divider provided an unwilling subject for my artist project Middle Ground that led to my artist book of the same name. It is a wall of a different name located near the San Diego-Mexican border. My project’s intent was to look at this particular urban landscape to investigate a darker metaphoric (and political) condition. Somebody’s medieval bigly wall.
In probably six months all remnants of this vegetative, some places stunningly beautiful, plant barrier will be reduced to bare dirt and then a series of concrete barriers will rise in its place. The character of this unique urban San Diego landscape will soon morph in to a boring sameness that extends perhaps the entire length of the I-5 freeway, from the Canadian border to Mexico.
I had not driven down this section of the I-5 into San Diego for probably five months, maybe more, so I was taken back yesterday with the new K-rails adjacent to the road way edge and the long patches of the endless string of bushes being hacked down. Maybe even shocked. The use of a decorative plant barrier to create a visual separation along this section of the I-5 freeway goes back to as far as I can remember.
Which also means that my Middle Ground project will become in short order a historical documentary of what once was in San Diego. I am pretty certain that no one else has photographed this middle section of the I-5 as it meanders through this norther section of San Diego county with as much diligence. Which was not my intent as I was unaware of these pending landscape changes to help widen the freeway to improve traffic conditions.
Change. In this case, a visually ugly change.
Best regards, Doug
Note; opps, published this without resizing the image; so a do-over for the photo above.