Across the city there moves a softer architecture. Light and shadow, dust and dry leaves, water over sandstone. When we go out walking we move across it too, past building sites hidden behind scaffolding, warehouses converted into apartments, and rows of narrow houses pressed shoulder to shoulder. This is the pattern of the inner-city, older and newer side by side, the urban flux of stagnation and renewal.
Along the way our attention is drawn to details and textures, impressions that have lasted for longer than their moment. A cracked pane of leadlight glass, a mistaken step into wet concrete preserved as a footprint, or the rough-cut blocks of a weathered stone wall. We look for them every time, markers of a trail that extends through our local streets. Each is a past action or gesture, remembered in the present through these traces.
Nothing here is permanent, but on some afternoons, when the light turns gold and shadows stretch, time slows almost to a halt. If we are out walking, we stop at the street corner. At home, we pause at the window. The only thing that moves is our eyes, which follow the edges of shadows, seeing them as new shapes, elongated and intermingling.
In this long and contemplative moment, fragments recombine, drawing out memories of other places and times. This shape is the memory of a first walk through an unfamiliar city when every detail seemed to have its own life. This one is the comfort of returning to a place well known. This shape suggests the cool of a stone floor, this one a high window that frames a slice of sky. This shadow is an arrangement of shells and stones, and this one a silhouette of branches that extend over an interior wall, so the outside is shadowed within.
As much as we can excavate a city’s histories, other ways of knowing come lightly, in temporary scenes and chance arrangements, in surfaces and textures. This is what Lustre captures: another way to understand places and how we inhabit them.