Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Describing Industrial Ruins

The language used to describe the industrial ruin is closely in tune with the vocabulary of death and decay. Identified with decomposition and the corpse, industrial ruins are verbally described as sites that rot through the passing of time, architectures that ultimately present a skeleton of their original form. To align ruins with death implies a collection of negative connotations. Within this dialogue, ruins are unpleasant blemishes upon the urban fabric, cancerous sites in the city. Industrial ruins crumble, collapse, decay, disintegrate, decompose, fragment and perish. The literal allusions to death are magnified as these buildings become mouldy, smelling and rotting like cadavers. Despite the olfactory and visual analogies to the deceased corpse, industrial ruins are not dead, useless spaces. It is their decay that allows them to be sites of memory, where the ghosts to the past can inhabit the present.

1 comment:

Liam said...

Of course there must be a point where the function of memory turns place into memorial. But perhaps the more interesting connection lies in the spectres which haunt our very possibility of language, providing the home in which we dwell with the very furnishings which make place possible in the most primordial sense. The house of language is the first set of ruins of the written word. The world merely conforms to these ghosts hiding right before our eyes. Death haunts language as words fall dead on the page only to live again, description is desecration just as much as decay.