Tim Edensor - British Industrial Ruins

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textures

Ruination produces a profusion of materials: lattice, plaster and lath, paint peeling on surfaces in various stages of damp and decay, glass shards, pools shimmering with chemicals, various liquids and solutions, cleaning agents, adhesives, grease, oil, pitch, plastic, residues and by-products, buckets, packages, barrels, crates, palettes, rust, tiles, wallpaper, mortar, brick, concrete, furniture, cogs and machine bits, screws, springs, wheels and axles and all sorts of clusters of small matter marshalled by wind and streams of water.

The unfamiliar textures of ruins jolt the body into recognition of a differently ordered sensual realm. The materials on display, often in a cluttered mass, are often difficult to perceive as separate objects because decay renders their separate form and character questionable. Substances which seemed to have separate properties merge and become hybrid aggregations of material. Things get wrapped around and inside each other, merge to form weird mixtures. And objects gradually become something else: fungus replaces wood and upholstery, fabric crumbles and gaps appear as it gets gnawed upon by beasts and worked at by bacteria, birdshit coats machines, moss grows on brick. Elaborate patterns of warping, peeling, mouldering and rotting take shape. Thus material dissembles into fragments which stretch away from each other as joins weaken. Things give up their solidity, their form, showing that they were, all along, simply aggregations of matter. The illusion of objects as separate, as unique commodities worthy of ownership evaporates. What was formerly solid crumbles, sometimes despite outward appearances, as nature takes over and hybridises the manufactured and the built.

Streaks of rain mixed with dirt are splayed on walls, splashes of film noir sunlight bisects the floor, and a thousand shards of sunlight pour through the rafters making complicated geometric designs on the floors and walls. Often littering the floor are by-products of processes, indistinguishable material. And ruination produces a defamilarised landscape in which the formerly hidden emerges: the internal organs, pipes, veins, wiring and tubes - the guts of a building - and the skeleton - pillars, keystones, support walls. The hidden networks are laid open and the conduits through which matter and energy flowed become clogged up with extraneous matter.

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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