20 February 2012

blue windows, a water tower, and cellular antenna

Creative re-use of a water tower as a mount for cellular antenna on Fairmount Ave. between 4th St. and 5th St. in North Philadelphia. February 2012.

The use of existing structures such as water towers and smokestacks as high-points to mount cellular antenna is common in Philadelphia. The post-industrial urban landscape is littered with sites such as the above one, a boarded up factory site advertizing its current tenant the 'Trans-Atlantic Co.' which according to their website is an importer of security and shelving equipment. Even if the water tower is still in use, which is unlikely, the Trans-Atlantic Company apparently has no need for windows, having boarded up and painted bright blue  every window in the building. What was likely a factory with natural lighting through these now-boarded windows has turned into a warehouse where windows are not needed, the lighting provided by electricity.

The building now provides a high point from which the ethereal, wireless connectivity is broadcast throughout the neighborhood, but, seen in the photograph below, the building's presence on the street is closed off, a canvas for a lovelorn graffiti artist to bemoan his or her love, apparently named Snicks, leaving Philadelphia. This site provides an example of b how the ubiquity of wireless communication is actually produced. Those signal bars on the iPhone come from somewhere, places like the antenna atop this building in North Philadelphia.

A frontal view of the Trans-Atlantic Company's warehouse, with graffiti atop blue-painted boarded up windows.

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