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Boston Society of Architects

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Evidence and detritus

Daniel Everett and the aesthetics of progress

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Untitled (from Marker), 2016

By Daniel Everett

Trained as a photographer but equally fluent in sculpture and video, Everett uses the architecture of cities — including new construction and buildings under renovation — as raw material. The drywall markings or shards of brightly colored cement that once indicated excavation sites are evidence of repair, which is itself a drive for perfection. “It’s about the aesthetics of progress against the mundanity of objects left in the wake of progress,” he says.

His process of discovery is that of the old-fashioned flâneur: he has walked thousands of miles along the perimeter of cities or limned its subway tracks, “going around without a plan and just reacting to the space.” As he rambles, he finds a city’s organizational grid alluring and oppressive in equal measure.

Daniel Everett has a complicated relationship with progress. Though he is drawn to the utopian promises of Modernism, he’s also acutely aware of how empty perfection can be. His work both celebrates and negates order and harmony.

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