Posts Tagged 'ruins'

Poetics of ruin

Emma Fraser

Friday 30th April, 10am-12pm

Presentation Room, Bon Marche (UTS Bldg. 3, Rm. 510)

Presentation: 20mins

Modern ruins, as tangible remnants of the recent past, offer the potential to transport us radically beyond the experience of the everyday to a unique space of transition between past and present, the affect of which is heightened by its proximity in time to the moment of immediate experience. As representations of the broader transience of history, they fracture the notion of progress, of finite beginnings and endings, of distinct readings of past events – they are spaces in which the conflict between a dead past and an accessible, readable history plays out.

To explore the notion of “experience” in disused, “dead”, or otherwise decaying spaces, this presentation will present a slide-show of “holiday” snaps from various locations, including the abandoned town of Pripyat in Chernobyl, the industrial ruins and asylums of Staten Is. in New York, and the monumental ruins of Detroit’s inner city. The majority (if not all) or the images will be the work of the presenter. Through a seemingly trivial mode of presentation, the slide-show will demonstrate the qualities of ruin-space—particularly the aesthetic and material contrasts with typical tourist destinations (both “whole” sites, and ancient ruins).

Given the informal nature of the presentation, the images chosen are not intended as works of art or professional photography; that is, some will include imperfections (blurry images, raindrops on lenses, dark or incomplete images etc), as they are not a representation of a particular place or time, or an artistic vision, but rather a record of actual experience in ruin-space.

Emma is currently undertaking a research masters at UTS titled “Interrupting Progress: Ruins, Rubble and Catastrophe in Walter Benjamin’s History”. She completed her undergraduate degree with honours at UTS in 2007, and spent 2 months overseas in 2009 exploring and photographing abandoned and decaying buildings, particularly in Pripyat (Ukraine) and Detroit (USA).

Emma has published articles on urban decay, “dead space” and ruins, and hopes to eventually compile enough original material for independent publication or exhibition.



Dianne Peacock

Thursday 29th April 1-3pm

Bon Marche Studio

Presentation: 20mins.


My research is conducted through practice. Parallel projects in film, collage, writing and architectural design are undertaken with an eye for mutually productive play. I do not attempt intersections of project media: “collage architecture” for instance, is not an aim here. However there are certain themes: shadows, edits, sites of indeterminate use, abandonment and collating which have a tendency to recur across projects. Spatial mystery has been identified as a central theme and so its nature, role and potential in my work are under examination. Currently I am collating example

s of spatial mystery as I work to define this term. I am looking for the relationship between the phenomenon of spatial mystery and that which allows it to appear.

A photograph of Junction Dam, a subject of a proposed short presentation on spatial mystery in the Kiewa Valley hydro-electric scheme

An aging hydro-electricity dam and its neighbour, a new power station, share specific and compelling architectural qualities. There is cool air, great mass and the matter of access to their depths. They elicit a sensibility of internal spatial mystery.

In a short presentation I would like to illustrate a specific instance of spatial mystery.

Dianne Peacock is an architect based in Melbourne, where her Ph.D. entitled Spatial Mystery and Parallel Works is undertaken by project at RMIT. Her practice has produced exhibitions, installations and zines in addition to built and unbuilt work. She teaches architectural design studio and at RMIT developed Paper, Scissors, Blur, a course in collage and mixed media in architecture. In 2009 Dianne established Subplot, a Melbourne based architectural practice.

A two day forum of creative research, experimentation and practice held from April 28-30 at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Serial Space Gallery, Chippendale.

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