Old Gates, New Gates

Old Gates

New Gates

This gate is a part of a fence where every panel is different than the last, and could be equally gate as fence.

While a gate usually implies, and expects, a fence, a gate can as easily stand on it’s own, whereas a fence without a gate is an exercise in futility – the primary purpose is defeated – entry and exit are uncontrolled, and hence, the fence, had for a pence, extracts many pounds. A gate “closes” the fence, provides it’s elemental purposes. A gate without a fence, however, must be more than a gate whose design is all utility – this, too, would be pointless. The Brandenburg Gate, for example, has been many things in its history, both utilitarian and ceremonial. But even in its utilitarian persona, it has never really been much of a fencing element. Today it is closed to vehicular traffic, but it still allows people to pass through its wide embraces.

This gate does not say, “Welcome to my house.” Yet welcome and triumph are its central motifs.

What is it that a gate encloses, repels, restricts, invites? Over the hundreds of thousands of years humans have employed enclosures, gates have served many purposes, but control of entry is its earliest and most critical function. To keep out the wolves, the alien hoards, the Black Knight, the greedy neighbors. Stone enclosures sought to hold predators at bay as much as keeping the livestock where one could keep an eye on them. In some countries, Ireland’s as good an example as any, it is hard to say which need drove the building of stone enclosures more – the need to control the wandering of one’s sheep, or the need to clear the stones from the fields so that the sheep actually had someplace to graze, stones being as plentiful as they are in that green and glorious land.

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The Gate is Open

This project depends on you - and your photos of gates. Great gates, different gates, unusual gates, non-obvious gates. Be sure to include your contact information, permission to use your photo, and a name for proper credit where credit is due! Be a part of the Gate Project.
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