Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Slides of San Francisco: The Ruins of Douglass Playground

“The destructive character sees no image hovering before him. He has few needs, and the least of them is to know what will replace what has been destroyed. First of all, for a moment at least, empty space – the place where the thing stood or the victim lived. Someone is sure to be found who needs this space without occupying it…The destructive character has the consciousness of historical man, whose deepest emotion is an insuperable mistrust of the course of things and a readiness at all times to recognize that everything can go wrong. Therefore, the destructive character is reliability itself.”
- Walter Benjamin, The Destructive Character, 1931
Douglass Playground – Douglass Street at 26th Street

In this installment we celebrate the memory of the Douglass Playground slide collective through the vestiges of its architecture.

Naked mounting harnesses, these impoverished cockpits whisper stories of potential energy and the exhilarations of yore.

The absence of a slide. An impotent precipice serves to glorify the slide’s essential role: spatial concatenation. To negotiate the perils of space and gravity, safely delivering passengers from heights previously unknown. To mitigate the fall.

All but one of the slides have been removed. The children are gone, but they have left behind their belongings.

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