Photos by Annie Galloway
30mph Zone is a reaction to the motorist culture that living in the Midwest forces us to participate in. I am fascinated by destination, and why certain places attract people while others are most often experienced in transit – only truly existing to those who reside there.
Minnesota Avenue East/West (North/South?) depicts the oasis that Saint Peter, Minnesota creates on U.S. Highway 169, making itself a destination by forcing motorists to slow down to 30 miles per hour and actually experience the historic main street. I have depicted the buildings along both sides of the street like enticing jewels. They are monuments to our existence that become a facade for the rest of the city. The irregular tilt of the canvas and its length evoke the experience of viewing the buildings through the window of a moving car.
In this postindustrial age, our human spirit for adventure is, for many, tempered by an increasing reliance on urban infrastructure. I recognize and am content with my affinity for the comforts of this oasis. My series 4 Gas Stations directly addresses how this infrastructure functions as a haven for motorists – especially those traveling through the countryside at night. They provide necessities such as light, shelter, information, safety, human interaction, and of course, fuel.
At its simplest, each piece in 30mph Zone is an idea, feeling, or memory attached to a place. They serve as maps and documentations of my time spent in these constructed environments, and some are specifically about working as a delivery driver in Saint Peter. I noticed that even after living in the city for four years, I had explored very little of it. People quickly establish routes through their environment, moving directly to their destination in the straightest lines possible. In contrast, working as a delivery driver meant traversing all parts of the city at all times of the day. The entirety of the city became my reality in a way few choose to experience. Stop Here and Slow Here relate to this all-over experience of Saint Peter. Stop Here examines the Minnesota River as a natural barrier that contains the city grid on its eastern edge, while Slow Here juxtaposes the static experience of living in the city with the transitory reality encountered outside its limits.