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Sidewalk Ens (busts) nik rye

Sidewalk Ens

2021-2023. Public installation in All Saints, Tallahassee, FL. 20 Kodak Moments photo prints documenting painted/displaced sidewalk fragments. 

Sidewalk Ens renders visible the spoken words uttered by the local unhoused from a previous social practice work, Today My Houseless Friend Told Me (2021-2022)Each displaced sidewalk fragment carries with it a public history of intimacy and indifference -- the patterns of feet that strike its surface an invisible map, the initials carved into its pubescent face a census of strangers, the dreams in the heads which slept upon it an archive of hope. 

On each piece of concrete, nik rye transcribed poetry in block letters, an act that reminded me of writing ignominious messages like, JUST HUNGRY, on cardboard retrieved from dumpsters. They returned the concrete poetry to the streets but in new locations. Displaced and provocative, the objects take up space and become unarrestable bodies in protest. 

The fragments are hypervisible and invisible, some are easily spotted while others get lost in the urbanscape. In some photos, the poetry is obstructed and difficult to read adding further distance between the viewer and the subject. Each fragment is a memory of a conversation belonging to an unhoused person. Photographed for prosperity, even the fragments are not allowed to simply be in the public spaces in which they are left. 

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