When I walk around campus and see the blue signs that Edgar Heap of Birds installed, I get a different feeling every time. Sometimes it makes me sad because they are a reminder of how this land was stolen– the signs remind me of tragedies from the past with legacies continuing today throughout all of the roads and buildings that fill up my life here. Other times I feel happy and cool because I have the privilege to be reminded of some really good stuff to ponder. Do I owe anything to anybody because I am happily and freely scampering around this very nice campus? I wish more signs were like the ones Edgar Heap of Birds installed because instead of a warning or a command, they simply invite viewers to think. 

If I didn’t know who made the signs or the story behind them, I would be fairly confused. When I have had friends visit campus, or when a friend at Pitzer mentions the signs without knowing much about them, their emotion is generally confusion. The scrambled spelling of words on the signs mixed with phrases from what I think is a native language make me think of how random and twisted everything we consider normal really is anyways. English is just a scrambling of symbols and sounds just like any other language. 

The weather and time of day also changes how the signs make me feel. In the morning they are the most exciting, because it feels like I am waking up in a progressive place that refuses to fully buy into mainstream culture. When it is raining, the signs appear like any other sign just sitting in the rain telling some message that the rain somehow detaches me from in the moment. At night if I happen to see one of the signs, there is almost a spooky element, like there are ghosts from the past with the name “california” spelled backwards floating around watching busy college students rush from place to place. I am excited to experience what new feelings the signs give me after writing this!

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One response »

  1. socalens says:

    Tyler…such an insightful and detailed response to Edgar Heap of Birds work. I really appreciate your honest assessment of our relationship to the land that Pitzer College sits on, your observations about the abstract nature of written word and how your thoughts about the work change as the day transitions to night. Thank you. And kudos for being the first to jump into the course blog this semester!

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