THE ANTHROPOMORPHIC RUIN

 

Ruins often exist in a stasis between construction and neglect, between habitation and abandonment and between use and disuse.

They are peripheral and marginal, often clinging to the edges of the built world, as an ‘other’ or alternative landscape. They are pervasive and invasive. Their ruinous dereliction can metastasise, enveloping surrounding areas, like a foreign body infecting its host. I’ve seen this kind of dereliction spread and take hold in many towns and cities as it slowly creeps its way down the high street or the industrial parks at the edge of town.

One could look at ruins as being prosaic, a banality of the everyday, but it is their eccentricity and unpredictability that contradicts this assumption. They are unhinged, untethered and ungrounded. They are self-perpetuating organisms, at ease within there own degradation and inevitable demise.

They are interlopers, they are subversive. They usurp their own function and place history as they undermine their original design.

Ruins are misanthropic, they act as a counterpoint to the built world and to human intentions. They are connected to the ecology of land, slowly subsumed by all around them as they relent to the vicissitudes of nature and the sovereignty of their own destruction.

They are portents of an uncertain future with their foundations set in a past that no longer exists. Ruins are a testament to time and decay.

Ruins have a voice, it is a quiet voice that whispers in the shadows. If you listen carefully you can hear it, this reverberating noise that oscillates within empty space. An interminable drip echoing on broken glass. It creeks and groans like an ancient tree. It is the wind stealing through a broken pipe, hissing its escape. It is the sound of a distant past as the place memory of its crumbing walls bear witness to ancient secrets and untold stories, while the last flecks of crumbling paint fill another strata of time as it continues its slow and inexorable journey to dust.

Ruins are dark, a crack through broken glass or a hole in a boarded window allows the occasional glint of light to penetrate the void for a brief moment of reprieve. Ruins are resilient and unyielding. They are distant and remote, they are secretive and peripheral. Ruins are liminal and interstitial. They are always on the cusp and at the edge of things. Ruins are mortal, the cracks and sinews of their decay maps their journey through time and space, like an arterial body slowly dragging these structures ever closer to the sedimentation of their own demise.

Published in the Joya Arte Ecologia -  El Relato, Anthology of Writing, 2021.

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ERASURE

 

 

The crackling spark ignites these images like Ghosts awoken from their long slumber as the projector creaks into motion, free now from their broken seal of time, they dance their final dance, suspended forever in this moment. Strange shapes unfold as if lit from the back of the cave, these tumulus spectres dance their way like flames, bonded for eternity. Only now is there story set in stone as they pixilate into the ether.

 

I didn't find these films by chance, my friend told me about them. He told me about the abandoned farm near where he grew up on the outskirts of Madrid, and about the old bum who used to live there. Most of the films were 35 mm porn films, now so decayed and eroded that they were barely visible through their fragmented remains. He told me about the old man burning these films at night in an effort to keep warm, stacks of discarded celluloid along with other detritus that was dumped there.

 

He said that the old bum would masturbate at night while looking at the miniature images on the film strips against the light thrown up from the burning celluloid. I can imagine these films melting together in this strange contortion of destruction with the acrid smell of burning plastics permeating the neighbouring farms and houses.

 

I remember cycling to the farm from my friends house a couple of miles away. The old farm was a derelict ruin on peripheral waste ground, an enclave amidst a sea of suburbia, that had somehow eluded the ever expanding conurbation subsuming everything in its path.

 

 As we entered that firmament, it felt like a forgotten place, hidden and cloaked, imbued with its on secret history. We dug the old films out of the ground, reel after reel, they were all covered in dirt, burnt and scratched, many of them melted and fused together. The filmic images had almost totally synthesised with the geology of their environment, dirt, sand and grit fused together with celluloid and all the other trash dumped there, like a hidden strata of waist waiting to be unearthed like temporal artefacts that testify to their own forgotten history. The process of time and decay, arrested momentarily as we exhumed these fragments of film from their silent resting place.

 

 

Presented at 'Beyond the Standard Model' Group Show at Almanac Projects, London, 2018.

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