“Whenever he walked on the street it turned glass
On his lucky rat’s paw in the crap drawer
All the world’s a stage, where’s the trap door, slackjaw
Logic, to keep your mind in the project”
-MF Doom, Trap Door
Binghamton is full of juxtapositions and paradoxes. In this piece, “Atomic Turtle”, the gray Binghamton sky and urban decrepit rawness make for the perfect apocalyptic environment. But, what is that there? A turtle. Yes, a turtle. This piece speaks to me for two reasons. First, the representation of an atomic explosion is much harder than one would think to capture, and this artist captured it successfully. Secondly, the turtle’s expression is up to interpretation. Is he a separate piece, or is he watching the explosion? His face grimaces a bit. He is a tough turtle.
In Going to Dangerous Areas in Pursuit of Art, I explained why I am willing to put my personal safety at risk to capture obscure works of art in hardcore urban areas. Most of these places have been abandoned for good reasons, its not uncommon for me to find needles, crack pipes, and condoms strewn throughout the places I frequent to monitor any new pieces. I’ve developed a demeanor that others on the street recognize as legitimate; I have indeed spent some time in colorful places and for a time lived a wild lifestyle. Some of us live dangerously because there is beauty in danger, the unknowing and the darkness of places that are beyond the bounds of humanity. There is beauty in the decrepit.
The turtle walks to the atomic explosion, unclear if he sees it or not.