|one of the few signs of decay i've seen in denmark|
what does it take for there to be decayed buildings in a landscape? time, for one. the ancient ruins dotting turkey, greece and the balkans, with the odd column sticking up in a field here and there, are just part of the landscape - the history of the place, as the sands of time pass relentlessly over it. on the prairies, it's a sign of the consolidation of all those small family farms into big corporate farms. and there's simply not enough people out there to be living on all of those little homesteads anymore, so some of them fall into picturesque ruin as they bake in the summer sun and are exposed to harsh winters.
|somewhere near stickney, south dakota|
i feel like i'm hearing an awful lot about detroit lately. it seems it's become the archetype of an american city in decline. famous photographers take haunting peopleless photographs of its once grand buildings in ruin. and those photos are extremely moving. when i see them, it makes me want to go to detroit as a ruin porn tourist. i recently saw some photos of an abandoned complex near berlin that made me feel the same way. but what are the implications of such voyeuristic practice? being a visitor to a contemporary ruin seems much more somehow violating than visiting ephesus or pergamon or the acropolis. it's so much closer and more raw. many of the buildings in detroit were still in use up to the early 90s, so the wound is quite fresh in a way. and is making a photographic essay of those once glorious buildings, empty of people, doing detroit a disservice? the new republic thinks so. and so do the people who made this documentary.
what do you think?