The Rail in Santa Ines

Mid-2009 I get this commission from a Portuguese restauranteur in an upmarket burb of Caracas, high up in the hills in a district called Santa Ines.  I finish this thing, I call it The Commission From Hell, in August 2011. I’m ready to sack it all up in Oct. 2010, but the Portuguese tells me that his mother died last night back home, so don’t bring my steel around his place and five days later we split for British Columbia where we hang for the next eight months. This was the second time this pattern was manifest–the Portuguese in Portugal and me in North America, far from home, far from the forge. But now it is done.

The Rail in Santa Ines

There are two splendid qualities (among others) to Venezuela. The first is there is no enforcement of traffic laws, yet still almost everyone gets where they are going since almost everyone survives to prove that anarchy works, and second, there are no noticeably enforced building codes. This thing would never fly north of Nogales. And in this aspect of life I feel it a privilege to have lived in such a lawless state. Gang blood runs in the gutters down the street from our house, we’re coming back from Santa Ines but can’t make the last 100 meters to home for the bodies blocking the street.  But where one can be free to design whatsoever and put it out in the world such an inconvenience really does not matter.

The piece is three-dimensional and asymmetrical. It takes up all the space it can hold.

This is how it started out. I like this photo for the crisp little trucker’s hitch that is holding all the steel together.

And more or less the same view installed.

The middle span: one way…

And then another.

Credits: Emilio Mercado was my striker and holder almost all the way through this project and he made more money off it than I did. Mi amigo, Joel Colmenares, saw it through with me for the last two weeks. My best friend and lover, Marianthi Constantinu, always did impeccable translations from a Portuguese version of an almost unintelligible Venezuelan variation of the Chihuahuan kind of Castellano I came to speak long ago in Santa Fe.


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