chris mottalini

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the mistake by the lake

The Mistake by the Lake is a photographic record of the assortment of school bus shelters scattered across the greater Buffalo, New York landscape. Local parents build these sentry-like structures in order to protect their children from the frigid Buffalo winters. Though these fascinating examples of amateur architecture are created for a specific need, over time that need diminishes and these curious examples of amateur architecture are left to blend into their surroundings. They remain as reminders of past necessity.

These structures are evidence of a universal impulse of care, which contradicts and undercuts the narrative of neglect that the mention of Buffalo (Chris Mottalini's hometown) sometimes invokes. The heart of this project is the documentation of the material products of human concern and emotion that have, in many cases, fallen into disuse.

This project was published as a limited-edition booklet by LozenUp Press (France, 2009).