woensdag 7 maart 2012

Fuck Chernobyl [and all the other landscapes of the spectacle]

Picture source.
It is often falsely inferred that the cryptoforestry project must appreciate places like Chernobyl, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, depopulated Detroit and a range of other examples of landscapes abandoned after some social or environmental catastrophe.

On the face of it the Chernobyl forest that has taken over the city after the 1986 meltdown is the prime example of a cryptoforest; it is certainly feral, in limbo and unappreciated. But it fails to match one all-important criteria: its not here! In fact: it is way over there -> -> -> untouchable and ghost-like, distant and toxic. What the reactionary retro-kitch of Boing-Boing or that charlatan futurist Bruce Sterling, to name two reliable sources for disaster place pornography, are doing when they share their latest find is take your mind away from the nature and politics of your place and fill it with some hyper-inflated other space that has as nothing to do with the realities of daily life. 

The implied message of the spectacle landscape of Chernobyl glorified as a retweetable URL is that your own landscape is less historic, less exciting and less worthwhile: Chernobyl is the opium of the urban explorational classes.

Every second you spend drooling over Chernobyl picture sets on Flickr is a second that could have been more purposefully used exploring your own city or neighbourhood. 

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Fantastic weblog you have here. I found it through asearch for "anthropogenic forests". Maybe you'd be interested in my site www.anthropogen.com. Here's an essay I wrote on Agroforestry and the Built-Environment, focusing mainly on Amazonia. http://anthropogen.com/2011/12/06/agroforestry-and-the-built-environment-by-spencer-woodard/

  2. I agree the Chernobyl pics are a spectacle. The are liminoid vs liminal; however, there is a place for these pictures. There is a time for spectacle and speculation. They belong in a space of mind where I reflect, I remember the potentials nature has to rejuvenate. I can ponder the warning for anthropogenic destruction. The pics display nature's resilience to carry on despite man. When I'm no longer present I'm still contiguous via life to that eternity too.

    The pics remind me Chernobyl was a neighborhood. Like a good manipulative movie, it tugs on my desire strings. Moving me(if only briefly) to look at my relation to the world. How am I connected to it? It eventually pulls my scoping and visioning back to my neighborhood, yard and family. Chernobyl is dead to man. But it won't always be toxic. The new space/place is in a long gestation as it feeds upon the carcass. Viva la Vida! my Coldplay cliche.
    I have to admit your little pun on Marx is quite witty. I believe it is okay to have a little opioid in moderation. But yes! I do have to get off my ass by doing seeing and exploring the here and now.