Thursday, 17 July 2008

Forgotten spaces

There's something so interesting about abandoned buildings. Perhaps it's the stories empty shells could tell, perhaps it's the feeling of loss they evoke, but Tom Kirsch - urban explorer and photographer - exposes something quite emotional in his art.

Based in Brooklyn NY, Kirsch scales walls and vaults barbed wire to access prisons, hospitals, churches, factories and houses exposing nature clawing back unused spaces. He claims nothing is set up and everything is just as he found it. The results are stunning if a little haunting, and strangely evocative. I imagine it's a similar feeling to watching a person fall apart - devastating yet utterly compelling.

Considering the conversations we're having about our relationships to the spaces we live in, it's interesting to see people's reaction to unloved and degraded buildings. How would you feel if somewhere you cared about fell apart like this? Is it only unloved buildings and unloved people that are allowed to get to this state?

To see more urban exploration, click here.

2 comments:

Dan H said...

Could we invite him to come visit our basement?

Phil said...

I love this kind of stuff. Cities are like high speed evolution, they never stand still, the centre of gravity shifts, places which were once vibrant are discarded, places which were once desolate, like Euston, start to thrive.

There's a book called London under London which documents all the subterranean tunnels, abandoned tube lines and stations, the post office tube system, the sewers, the war bunkers etc that exist under London.

There was also a brilliant film from the 60's called The London No-one Knows which was the inspiration for the St Etienne movie Finisterre.

But my favourite example is in Edinburgh where there are ancient streets underneath the New Town. These were part of an older Edinburgh. When the great plague hit the city in the middle ages they simply covered up the old town and built on top of it. You can still access some of this underworld.