I photographed a bunch of abandoned farm buildings last weekend.
To me they were irresistible and enchanting: crumbly, dusty, dishevelled, mysterious, dangerous. The way light plays in through a doorway or pours through a shattered roof can be mesmerising. Chaotic jagged angles make for unusual compositions. Scenes like this are great settings for a film or a music video.
They evoke all kinds of feelings and abandonment issues. They reflect physical human death, the extinction of an internal force which drove and maintained their functioning existence. Like a human body bereft of air, blood, circulation, life. These buildings are virtually dead carcasses. There is an inescapable sense of melancholy, resignation, defeat and loss.
[View the Composed piece: Abandoned Vehicles]
They spark thoughts of a future dystopia. One day, will the buildings we currently live and work in look like this? When the nuclear bombs finally drop in more populated places, is this what provincial buildings will ultimately become? Shattered window panes, door frames, rubble, rust and dust. No humans. Scant evidence of humans. Nature eventually spindling outwards and upwards and taking back control. Exactly what will we abandon as individuals and as a race?
Such delapidated structures are potential places of refuge during epic journeys, where our lead character has miraculously escaped evil clutches and embarked upon a cross-country trek towards a safer future. But such buildings are surely also the perfect environment for hibernating zombies.
[View the Composed piece: Cardiff Car Park Demolition]
A new Netflix original zombie film, Cargo, starring Martin Freeman recently reduced me to emotional wreckage. While the journey of Freeman’s character was across a remote Australian landscape, it somehow connected with the recent experience of exploring these buildings.
Brief pauses in day-to-day life can prompt us to ponder quietened futures.
Our nearby arterial dual carriageway into and out of Cardiff is rarely quietened. There is a steady distant hum of traffic right around the clock. Earlier this week there was a serious collision between two lorries and two cars. Over several hours the steady traffic drone was replaced by intermittent sirens, helicopters, an irregular stillness, peaceful silence, before sirens again and further stillness, before the hum finally returned.
[From the 2016 Composed piece: Discovering Rover Way]
When an Icelandic volcano eruption caused air traffic to be grounded back in 2010, a time when I was living in London under a Heathrow flightpath, there was a surreally pure, blue-skied stillness. But equally an ephemeral sense of distant future, a time when the engineering and machinations of humanity are ultimately stilled.
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