I have these memories of being a child and driving over the Chicago Skyway bridge with my family and realizing at that point how far from home we’d driven — where the suburbs and urban landscape are left behind to give way to rusted factories, smokestacks and mills where things were made.
It intimidated me on a purely visceral level but also because it was a place I wasn’t used to, a world I was sheltered off from in my comfortable suburban home. But in time that changed and I came to feel this odd comfort with these places. I became fascinated and enchanted with the reminders of the industrial age that had been bleeding out for years before I was born, and it has really stayed with me to this day. Some people call it “ruin porn,” but I think it’s something more.
There is this strange beauty in ruin. I’m sure there are plenty of books and reports as to why people (myself included) feel this way, but I’m constantly fascinated with people who can take what some might consider unsightly or scary and show its true beauty.
One example would be this glorious set of abandoned factories around Moscow up at English Russia. The writer mentions that “The only common thing about them is that they are all factories that used to be needed in the past. Unfortunately, the situation is not like this anymore.”
Vol. 1 friend Zachary Lipez writes of another example at Noisey, a project that goes under the name of Machines. Based out of Hudson, NY, the project is a series of “kinetic sculptures,” which was inspired initially by the sound of trains that run through the town, and uses yesterday’s scraps to make music today.