les presses du réel

Water Under the Bridge

p. 11-19

The tree grew out of waste ground under a bridge, a ‘tree of heaven', vigorous and fast growing. Two main stems shot straight up out of the mud, washed over trash, cans, plastic bottles and mushy papers. Interrupted in their ascent by the underside of the bridge, the two stems bent through ninety degrees, following closely the concrete roof, until, reaching the outer edge, they resumed their upward trajectory. I saw this tree shortly after I began poking around the Ebro riverside, wondering what I was going to make for the Expo. At first I wanted to copy it but, later, came to realise that the image was guiding my choice of site. I looked under and beside all of the bridges in Zaragoza, from the Expo site where Zaha Hadid's just beginning new crossing down to the new weir just being strung across the river below the Puente de la Unión. I looked at how the bridges were made, at the flotsam and jetsam caught against the piers, at the rippling water, the surface charged and turbulent as the flow increased in the restricted passages. The Puente de la Unión, seen on that first day with the rivers banks a little raw and the site somewhat muddy seemed like something Piranesi might have relished, particularly the paired squat and massive raw concrete supporting pillars of the overhead roadways with the streak of blue sky revealed between them. Here was a site that I was interested in and where I wanted to work.
Richard Deacon: other title

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