Word The Cat

Word the Cat

ruin porn – overture

Posted by Chris on July 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm  

ruins form a very different function to lived spaces. this much is clear. they are objects of spectacle. the victorians built ruined buildings in the grounds of country houses, cemeteries and woodland to walk to and admire. they are buildings without people, buildings that suggest the post-human, buildings that provide a limit case against which to make sense of being alive, being present. this is what makes them romantic.


this production of meaning is one thing for buildings which are built as ruins and another thing entirely for buildings that recently had a human function. these more recent ruins are evidence not of humanity, but of a process that stripped them of their humanity. chernobyl/pripyat is a dramatic example. more subtle examples would include the centre of detroit, abandoned japanese theme parks or the heygate estate in south london (more on the heygate in the next post).

spaces like these encourage both physical exploration and digital exploration via an insane overproduction of images. there’s some extent to which people are looking for psychic traces of history in these spaces, but i think it mostly comes down to the tyranny of the present. here is the present. here is a building. there are no people here. we can call it what we want. we can describe it how we want. there’s no-one here any more to make that difficult. the present can eat the past because the past has ended. here is the physical proof that the past has ended. the proof is on a huge scale. the meaning must therefore be on a huge scale. ruins are a physical manifestation of meaning, meaning on a fundamental level which says ‘we are here looking at this. we survived’.

the architizer blog has a collection of images from ruin photographers over here.

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