Friday, November 23, 2012

The Ruins of Detroit

I saw "The Ruins of Detroit" exhibition by the photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre earlier this year in the Fontana Fortuna Gallery in Amsterdam. Industrial Detroit: a forgotten civilisation, a dying world that is still holding on with its steel girders and well built walls. The photos are a beautiful testement to what we are capable of acheiving but also what we are capable of destroying.

The complete annihilation of this part of the city from an industry led economy is enthralling. I marvelled at the audacity, bravery of both its inception and its destruction. They left behind homes, schools, theatres, doctors and dentists surgerys, alongside factories, police stations (including blood sample evidence) and offices. The kind of scene you'd expect to see after an apocolypse. But its neighbours have just stepped back and watched it callopse.

So whats changed? The cyclical and unchanging hounds of history divide and conquer no matter what this generation says about the last.

The artists statement: "Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies  and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.  The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time :  being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things. Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state."

The exhibitions tragic beauty is enthralling. Look through some more of the collection here. Buy the book here.
(Photographs in this post are copyright Yves Marchand, Romain Meffre)

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