Created 3-Apr-24
18 photos
The exhibit “Good Gates Make Good Neighbors” explores the barriers of gated communities. Found across of the country, gated communities proliferate in certain areas such as the Coachella Valley, California. The physical gates range from basic to highly ornate and, may have guards, guard houses, or faux turrets.

Ostensibly, these gates offer security, but, from what and from whom? Who are the gates aimed at? Criminals, people of color, immigrants, working people? Does fear grow or lessen behind the gates?

In driving around these communities, people are rarely seen. Garages normally face the street while the windowed interiors offer another vista out the back, sometimes at a hidden community space or a golf course. Many of these homes have locked gates shielding walkways to the front door. Gates upon gates.

Do these gated communities keep people out or hold people in? The images challenge the viewer to answer the paraphrased question inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” — Do good gates make good neighbors?

The images are printed using Piezography, a unique black and white process using only monochromatic inks. Piezography allows for a wide and subtle range of tonal variations, expanding mid-tones and highlights. This process helped to emphasize the film noir, foreboding nature of the images. Access to the Piezography printer at Latitude Chicago along with their supportive staff allowed me to print the exhibition images. The aerial photographs and images of signs were printed on a standard professional inkjet printer with archival inks and paper.

Excerpt from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”

“…My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.”

Retrieved from the Poetry Foundation website on February 21, 2024
at <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44266/mending-wall>
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