Cement is one of the most consumed substances on earth, said to be second only to water.
Visit any construction site, anywhere in the world, and the bags of cement you see were likely to have been packed in locally printed bags. Together, these images form a global, graphic compendium of all we demand from our most common but significant, of building materials: strength, durability, dependability, consistency, endurance, even eternity.
CREATURES OF STRENGTH
Elephants are very well represented
You may have seen these laptop bags made from unused cement sack, by Wren, in Wired. Below, a vintage Thai poster.
Other animals that stand for strenght and fortitude ...
A fish? In Asia, the carp has long been considered a symbol of strength, endurance, perseverance and fortitude—all good traits for cement (not so good for the Great Lakes). It is said that the carp can jump completely over the rapids of the Yellow River and overcome all manner of obstacles.
And creatures of mythic strength.
STRUCTURES OF STRENGTH
Elemental to pyramids, the triangle shape, be it a rock or a road (or a triangle) is a classic symbol of stability.
And let’s not forget to remember the Alamo.
“The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California" was composed by John Fahey in the early 1960s. A vintage Monolith bag is featured on the 7” single by Cul-de-sac, 1999.
Devil’s Slide, Utah, is named for a nearby rock formation. The town grew up in the early 1900s around the Union Portland Cement Co. It is now a ghost town.
PURE GRAPHIC STRENGTH
Russian "constructivist" cement bags.
These bags assert their strength via macho graphics. Although, Vijaya reminds me of a gynecological term Oprah uses …
And speaking of macho, Ambuja Cement of India, features a muscleman cradling a humongous dam. Dams are the most cement–intensive projects there are. We might not be accustomed to seeing ads for cement here, but in India, branded cement ads are not uncommon. I came across the Ambuja logo in varying degrees of realism— from airbushed, to graphic black and white. Ambujaman is even painted on the sides of buildings.
Photo by Rene