Monday, November 1, 2010

Volcano Dialogues

I think, for me, one of the hard parts of this project was the feeling that people just didn't want to talk to me. With that in mind, I thought about who would want to talk with me? Who's always trying to talk to me? Children International!
I'm interested in places that seem usual but might have more. This is what drew me to Plaid Pantry. Everyone knows and/or hates the canvassers in Portland. But I think it's too easy to write these guys off, I went to talk to them hoping to find something interesting.

This is Kylie, he works with Dialogue Direct, the company Children's International hires to fund-raise. He came to Portland 3 months ago, knowing one person. Kylie has a MFA in painting and hopes to get more involved in the arts here in Portland. Kylie seemed like an OK person but I've been informed he might really be a terrible and manipulative person. I don't know, but I did find something interesting about the "dialoguers." I felt like DD could be a kind of for profit social practice. I was inspired to know what it felt like to stop people on the street.

With this in mind, I grabbed a note book and pen and headed to Cramer Hall. I heard there was a rock by the geology department that came from the Mt. Saint Helens eruption. I set up by the rock to start some dialogues.

Questions (In no order)
"What do you know about volcanos?"
"what do you know about this rock?"
"what do you know about Mt. St. Helens?"


"My high school in Alaska was named after a volcano"

*cuts me off mid question* "Sorry man, I'm not interested" once he hears me finish my question "[mt. st. helens] blew up in the 80's. It's on the ring of fire which is part of the...Cascadia tectonic system"

"I like volcanos"

"I think it blew up in May?"

"It blew up 6 years before I was born" I asked him where he was from and if there was any natural disasters there "In Madrid, Missouri there was a 9.0 earthquake. It was a really big deal" He says. Later, "There was an earthquake at OSU but I think I was the only one who felt it. It was because I was spacing out and standing real still I could feel it shaking but my friend said he didn't feel anything."

"Sorry I'm busy" 5 minuets later he's walking the other direction, smoking a cigarette and mumbles "forgot my card at the place"

"Yes" this lady seemed very confidant "It blew up in 1981 and spread ash and debris across the NW. It was one of the biggest eruptions in America." We talked for a few minutes. She went on an overnight camping field trip with a class. "We went to the ape caves which is part of the same volcanic system" She's actually a biology major but takes a lot of geology courses. I asked if there was lava or just ash. "Oh yeah, there was lava"

"There's lots of volcanoes where I'm from" where's that "An island up in Alaska" (2 people from Alaska, both have experience with volcanoes!?)

"These rocks are under extreme heat, at the core of the earth" I've been talking with this man for a while and he seems to be wrapping up "and they're under unimaginable pressure- crushed beneath thousands of pounds of earth." He has a very distinct tone of voice and pacing, it's captivating."But here's what I don't understand" I also detect a faint smell of alcohol "When these rocks- which are created in the most extreme environment in our planet- are brought to the surface. How are they not destroyed completely? That. That might be the real mystery." He walks away.
UPDATE: new picture and 150 word sum up for the vanguard article.
"Mount Saint Helens (Mt. St. Helens) blew up in the 80's. Mt. St. Helens blew up in 1981. It blew up six years before I was born. The mountain is part of the Cascadia Tectonic System. It was a big eruption. There was lava, there was ash, it was part of the ape caves system. My high school was named after a volcano in Alaska. There's lots of volcanoes in Alaska." These are things I learned while standing on the corner of Cramer hall by the red rock asking people what they knew about the rock, Mt. St. Helens or just volcanoes in general. I heard this rock came from the famous explosion but later I heard it was just a rock from the geology department. I actually heard a lot of conflicting information and I'm not sure if I learned anything true. But, I did get to know how it feels to stop people on the street and ask them questions. It's fun, you should try it out.

1 comment:

  1. I thought your method for this project was really effective and interesting. It was a step away from one type of truth toward another.