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— Audrey Brooks

Posts Tagged: Uri Aran

“Good.” “Bad.”

The Highline NYC

photo credit: Beyond My Ken

One of my favorite places to bring friends and family who come to visit me in New York is The High Line.  The High Line is a former elevated railroad track that ran between the meat packing district and 34th Street.  Thanks to the efforts of a handful of visionary citizens, the track is now an elevated park with beautiful gardens, intriguing art pieces, inviting gathering places and unusual third-floor views of the surrounding architecture.

I recently noticed a new art installation by the Israeli-born artist Uri Aran.  It is easy to miss at first.  But around 25th St, if you listen carefully, you can hear from among dense leaves a voice listing animals.  Soon it is apparent that it is listing “good” animals, such as a cat or a platypus, and “bad” animals, such as a spider or shark.   The voice is flat and has a slightly pompous tone.

Lisa Goldstein
At first, I was nonplused.  What exactly makes a platypus a good animal?  And why are spiders on the “bad” list?  Didn’t Aran read Charlotte’s Web??  Then I laughed:  I was dividing the good and bad list into my own list of good and bad, and in a way that is every bit as arbitrary as the original list.  And of course I do that all the time, about the strangers I see on the subway, the things I see in shop windows, the ideas that come into my head:  Good.  Bad.  Good.  Bad.

In fact, one of the things I most love about the High Line is that the people who created it were able to see the good in something that the city thought was bad.  Here was a rusted, dilapidated eyesore, ready to be demolished.  But a few neighbors had the imagination to consider what it could become – a place of wildflowers and gelato, a little urban beach and public art.

It’s a great reminder.