Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BEING THERE

You don't need to believe in ghosties and ghoulies to feel shudders upon exploring once-inhabited, now abandoned locations as I know when last year experiencing the tangible eeriness at the disused children's village of Humbie nearby. The imagination alone does the work. It provides the soundtrack, the smells, it tells the stories. And none of it is good.

Even the thought of these furtive urban creepsters sneaking around with their digital cameras and backpacks adds to the resonance. Notwithstanding, it's a remarkable archive of photography (albeit within a rather unnecessarily cold website) and there are several which stand out.

Chartreuse
Fuck knows what was going on here - I purposefully didn't google anything because one look at the long trestle table, or just those strange murals under the dank arches, and it will give you a more than scary enough sense of claustrophobia and foreboding.

The Olympic Village
Ah, the joys of sport - and how far removed is that heady sweaty youthful atmosphere in this collection. So void, so empty, so unhappy. You don't need Jared Diamond's Collapse to comprehend the full extent of the Ceaucescan folly that is London 2012.

The Meat Factory
A friend used to sit hunched over his PC playing Half-Life 2 for hours on end, running up and down corridors in and out of rooms just like these. I kind of expected to hear the soft crunching of his footsteps and the sharp explosions of his anti-gravity weapon.

3 comments:

Sarah Trotsky said...

I know almost exactly what you mean.

San Francisco's own Treasure Island is a terrifying example of a barren industrial area gone horrible wrong.

However, I've felt for some time now that the true terror of these places begins in their architecture; the impossibility of the angels, the total abandonment of natural lines.

I'm a little like Lovecraft in that regard.

That bad things would happen in locations like these... well, it makes perfect sense.

_Black_Acrylic said...

Mike Nelson has made some artworks dealing with this, also referencing Lovecraft on occasion. His installations evoke abandoned spaces that seem to have their own strange stories to tell. He's nominated for this year's Turner prize, but don't hold that against him...

http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/history/nelson.htm

steve davies said...

Check out this website of some UK based 'furtive urban creepsters' http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=3

Some of the photos of the asylums are particularly eerie. Most chilling though is the thought of what happened at these places when they actually housed the 'insane'...