The Aesthetics of Transformation
'The Aesthetics of Transformation: Highway (re)Construction’
by Steven Benson
These photographs are representative of a long-term project that reflects an ongoing interest in the idea of transformation. For the past six-years I’ve been creating images that explore the activities and artifacts associated with the process of transforming the landscape by an enormous infrastructure project. My goals are very different from anyone else working on the new I-4 highway running through Central Florida. Everything they are focused on has to do with physics – weight loads and distribution, gravity, traffic flow and water runoff. I’m looking at it from an aesthetic perspective seemingly referencing the past, present and future, as the constructed environments can feel like ruins of a former civilization. I’m reminded of Margaret Bourke-White when she said, “…industrial forms were all the more beautiful because they were never designed to be beautiful. Industry…had evolved an unconscious beauty – often a hidden beauty that was waiting to be discovered.” The constructed environments I’m exploring function as ‘unintended’ site-specific sculptures or land art often presenting miraculous potential for photographic engagement. The process of making these photographs function as a collaborative activity with individuals I only know through the evidence of their actions.