I was wandering past some of the unlovely new homes being built on the Rochester riverfront with their regimented, office-like brick walls, and the idea of a post on bricks came to mind. I thought of the many kinds of beautiful bricks walls, from Jacobean to modern times, that can be found in this town. I thought of bricks in painting, in sculpture (Carl Andre’s notorious Equivalent VIII that confirmed the anti-modern art prejudices of a generation), in literature, in nursery tales (The Three Little Pigs) and in music (The Diagram Brothers’ 1981 classic ‘Bricks’). I thought of bricks as toys and the phenomenal success – culturally and commercially – of Lego; I thought of the wonder that is animated Lego, or brickfilms. I thought of bricks in films (such as the hero of The Village of the Damned keeping out the psychic powers of children by thinking of a brick wall) and television (he opening credit sequence of Coronation Street). I thought of the art of brickmaking, and the art of bricklaying.
And what argument emerged? Nothing. I thought there might be something to be construed about the ordering of bricks and some forms of art, but if there is such an argument to be made, I’m just not interested enough to expend any effort on it. But, having spent a curious afternoon photographing bricks (doubtless puzzling several passers-by), here at least are the illustrations to the post, which is probably much the better for having lost its words. Instead, let us simply contemplate the strange beauty of bricks.
2 thoughts on “Bricks”
This post reminded me of some Dufaycolor bricks at Screen Archive Southeast!
Given the dreadful trend towards cheap and nasty, modern stucco (at least here in the US), this post could prove even more poignant than you first imagined. Those “regimented” bricks at the top of this post are actually quite striking (or perhaps it’s just the close-up photograph?). And certainly more visually pleasing than the stucco covered building I can see from my office window.
Are bricks the nitrate of the construction world?!
Hi Louisa – how good to hear from you, and thank you for the Dufay link, which then took me to the site of the British Brick Society, who sound like a fine group of people – http://www.britishbricksoc.free-online.co.uk/.
I shall ponder your suggestion that bricks are to buildings what nitrate stock is to cinema. I hadn’t thought that there was any beauty in the bricks at the top of the post – certainly the buildings overall are drably functional (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_bolton_uk/8601753875) – but perhaps there is something pleasing in the symmetry and the subtle blue-grey tones.
I am certainly lucky to live in a town blessed with pleasing brickwork overall. I don’t know how much others stop and stare at such things, but I do.