Tim Edensor - British Industrial Ruins

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text

The everyday texts produced by the factory include numbering systems, orders and instructions, directions and technical details machine parts and the particular models produced. This text, devised to facilitate the smooth operation of the work of production is incomprehensible to the visitor unacquainted with the technical language that was a form of everyday common sense to the workers. Such language thus remains on the walls of the factories but there is no longer anybody there to interpret what it signifies. In addition, the process of decomposition erases parts of the sentences and words of notices so that meaning again is impossible to determine. Sentences start but certain words are erased so that meaning is always open-ended, and we must fill in the blanks.

I like to think that these illegible texts can express the inarticulacy of ruin. There is no obvious tale to be told here. We can only assemble these scraps of meaning and weave them into our own stories, which we can only improvise from the disparate materials which lie around. There are no oral histories or heritage accounts to explain how the factory worked and so our imaginations, spurred on by a few cues and suggestions, can step into the vacuum.

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site designed by the Design & Print Unit at Staffordshire University, for Tim Edensor, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University
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created 8/10/2002