Friday, October 19, 2007

Sioux Falls Seminary as Sacred Space

Perhaps the cold weather which keeps us inside, except for necessity of travel, gives rise to this series of photos at the seminary. Built in the late 1940’s when the school moved from Rochester NY the school still has many of the original elements while many have been updated.

Students bring an incredible life to this place. A sign hanging in one hallway reads, “Knowledge available here, bring your own container.” Yet when there are no classes and containers to be filled during the summers, reading weeks, and holidays this place takes on a significantly different feel.

It is quiet.
It is calm.

Like the church stripped of its textures and candles before Easter,
this place too has been stripped of its life. The building, halls and classrooms, awaits in a silent vigil for its animating life to return.

I am drawn to these images but still lack a quality description of what I am attempting to capture. With some, space and angles. With others the common place and even the absence of explicit subject matter. Perhaps in the ordinary and overlooked spaces…those we rush by…or those we deem to have little interest or worth have captured my attention. The modern utilitarian nature
of furniture with no users, rain stained ceiling tiles, the interplay between disparate shapes, flash and shadow, gradations of color all are present. Perhaps it is only me who senses an impersonal indifference within these shots…perhaps a loneliness witnessed in the offset empty chairs seemingly anticipating or reflecting the last human conversation.

This place, designed for an educational community, facilitation of transfer of knowledge and wisdom, seems drab without that which
it was created…humanity. Only through flesh and blood do these convenient mechanical utilities find their true usefulness.