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robertogreco : ruins   19

The Damnedest, Finest Ruins | KQED Truly CA - YouTube
"THE DAMNEDEST, FINEST RUINS examines the 1906 earthquake and fire, which burned for three days. With restored silent film footage, rare archival photographs, and the remastered voice of Enrico Caruso, it challenges the official story of what happened on those terrible days. A FILM BY JAMES DALESSANDRO

[See also:
http://ww2.kqed.org/trulyca/the-damnedest-finest-ruins/

"On April 18, 1906, the San Andreas Fault slipped along a 300-mile stretch from Mendocino County to south of San Jose, devastating every town and city in its path. Within minutes, fifty-two fires broke out in San Francisco. Within three terrible days, San Francisco, the “Paris of the Pacific,” was nearly destroyed.

The city’s fire chief at the time, Dennis Sullivan, had battled with city officials for years to build a massive fire suppression system: San Francisco had burned down six previous times. The day before the earthquake struck, Mayor Eugene Schmitz, political boss Abe Reuf and all 18 members of the Board of Supervisors had found out they were about to be arrested in the biggest corruption probe in U.S. history, an investigation lead by the White House office of President Theodore Roosevelt.

The city leaders used the chaos and destruction to try to rehabilitate their civic image and emerge from the devastation as heroic leaders. Yet, their mismanagement continued in the restoration efforts. While the U.S. Navy and firefighters battled the fire, San Francisco’s mayor ordered the U.S. Army to shoot suspected looters and to use dynamite blasts on wood frame buildings. Scores of innocent people were shot, and the dynamite started hundreds of fires. In the immediate aftermath, city officials set the death count at 478 when as many as 4,000 to 6,000 may have died.

The Damnedest, Finest Ruins uses restored silent film footage, rare and never-seen photographs, and interviews to unravel a century of lies that led to the total destruction of the jewel of the American West. Written and directed by James Dalessandro, author of the best-selling novel 1906, The Damnedest, Finest Ruins features narration by actor Peter Coyote along with the digitally re-mastered music of Enrico Caruso, who performed at San Francisco’s Grand Opera House five hours before the disaster struck, barely escaping with his life."]
sanfrancisco  history  1906  california  documentary  ruins  enricocaruso  jamesdalessandro  towatch 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Still Cleaning Up: 30 Years After the Chernobyl Disaster - The Atlantic
"This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused reactor number four to explode. Several hundred staff and firefighters then tackled a blaze that burned for 10 days and sent a plume of radiation around the world in the worst-ever civil nuclear disaster. More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed at the time. Authorities evacuated 120,000 people from the area, including 43,000 from the city of Pripyat. Reuters reports that a huge recently-completed enclosure called the New Safe Confinement—the world's largest land-based moving structure—will be “pulled slowly over the site later this year to create a steel-clad casement to block radiation and allow the remains of the reactor to be dismantled safely.” Gathered below are recent images of the ongoing cleanup work and the ghost towns being reclaimed by nature within the 1,000-square-mile (2,600-square-kilometers) exclusion zone in Ukraine."
2016  rewilding  chernobyl  ukraine  photography  nature  decay  ruins  animals  multispecies 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Relics of the Space Age - The New York Times
"Nearly three decades ago, Roland Miller, a photographer, received a phone call asking for help in disposing of photography chemicals from an old office building at Cape Canaveral in Florida. When he went there, he was enchanted by the hulking masses of abandoned launch pads. Mr. Miller persuaded NASA and the Air Force to let him take pictures.

Later, he traveled the country to photograph other relics like the catacomb-like passages, above, of the stands that held the Saturn 5 engines during test firings at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The photographs have now been collected in a book, “Abandoned in Place,” published this month by the University of New Mexico Press.

“It’s really the only way for a lot of people to see this stuff,” Mr. Miller said."
kennethchang  spaceexploration  spaceage  ruins  2016  photography  spacearchaeology  us  florida  virginia  houston  texas  capecanaveral  newmexico  whitesands 
march 2016 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Through the Cracks Between Stars
"Paglen ended his lecture with an amazing anecdote worth repeating here. Expanding on this notion—that humanity's longest-lasting ruins will not be cities, cathedrals, or even mines, but rather geostationary satellites orbiting the Earth, surviving for literally billions of years beyond anything we might build on the planet's surface—Paglen tried to conjure up what this could look like for other species in the far future.

Billions of years from now, he began to narrate, long after city lights and the humans who made them have disappeared from the Earth, other intelligent species might eventually begin to see traces of humanity's long-since erased presence on the planet.

Consider deep-sea squid, Paglen suggested, who would have billions of years to continue developing and perfecting their incredible eyesight, a sensory skill perfect for peering through the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the oceans—yet also an eyesight that could let them gaze out at the stars in deep space.

Perhaps, Paglen speculated, these future deep-sea squid with their extraordinary powers of sight honed precisely for focusing on tiny points of light in the darkness might drift up to the surface of the ocean on calm nights to look upward at the stars, viewing a scene that will have rearranged into whole new constellations since the last time humans walked the Earth.

And, there, the squid might notice something.

High above, seeming to move against the tides of distant planets and stars, would be tiny reflective points that never stray from their locations. They are there every night; they are more eternal than even the largest and most impressive constellations in the sky sliding nightly around them.

Seeming to look back at the squid like the eyes of patient gods, permanent and unchanging in these places reserved for them there in the firmament, those points would be nothing other than the geostationary satellites Paglen made reference to.

This would be the only real evidence, he suggested, to any terrestrial lifeforms in the distant future that humans had ever existed: strange ruins stuck there in the night, passively reflecting the sun, never falling, angelic and undisturbed, peering back through the veil of stars.

Aside from the awesome, Lovecraftian poetry of this image—of tentacular creatures emerging from the benthic deep to gaze upward with eyes the size of automobiles at satellites far older than even continents and mountain ranges—the actual moment of seeing these machines for ourselves is equally shocking.

By now, for example, we have all seen so-called "star trail" photos, where the Earth's rotation stretches every point of starlight into long, perfect curves through the night sky. These are gorgeous, if somewhat clichéd, images, and they tend to evoke an almost psychedelic state of cosmic wonder, very nearly the opposite of anything sinister or disturbing.

Yet in Paglen's photo "PAN (Unknown; USA-207)"—part of another project of his called The Other Night Sky— something incredible and haunting occurs.

Amidst all those moving stars blurred across the sky like ribbons, tiny points of reflected light burn through—and they are not moving at all. There is something else up there, this image makes clear, something utterly, unnaturally still, something frozen there amidst the whirl of space, looking back down at us as if through cracks between the stars."



"In other words, we don't actually need Paglen's deep-sea squid of the far future with their extraordinary eyesight to make the point for us that there are now uncanny constellations around the earth, sinister patterns visible against the backdrop of natural motion that weaves the sky into such an inspiring sight.

These fixed points peer back at us through the cracks, an unnatural astronomy installed there in secret by someone or something capable of resisting the normal movements of the universe, never announcing themselves while watching anonymously from space."
satellites  astronomy  stars  ruins  2014  trevorpaglen  geoffmanaugh  theothernightsky  thelastpictures  constellations  bldgblog 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Commonspace > June 2004 > Expatriates
"There are, as far as I have been able to discover, three cities in the world that share the name Saint Louis: the dilapidated colonial ruins on an island off the northern coast of Brazil, in the state of Maranhão; our sister city — the dilapidated colonial ruins on a fluvial island near the edge of the Sahara desert, in Senegal; and ours, the dilapidated colonial ruins that lie along the banks of the Mississippi. All once great. All once golden. Today, all lie in ruin.

I love our ruin. I have to. I am a product of that ruin, for better or for worse. To me, the ruins are completely surreal. They exist on a different physical plane, in a different time. Monuments to Indian burial mounds. Tenement complexes overgrown with vines. Vast expanses of natural grasses, where entire blocks once stood. Snoots and tips. Blues, jazz, and soul being played to almost empty clubs. Arson.

I have always suffered ridicule for being from Saint Louis, especially from East coasters who are fond of making comments like, "If you are not living in New York you are just camping out." But I know that Saint Louis, along with Memphis and New Orleans — the crowning gems of the American Nile — form the true cradle of American culture. We are the cultural standard-bearers of the nation, despite the fact the little credit is ever given, and despite the fact that Saint Louisans themselves rarely do their part to improve our image.

I should clarify that Saint Louis to me is just the part east of Skinker. The suburbs, the sprawl, and the people that contribute to them, are my real enemies. I think we ought to build a Great Wall around the City and charge toll for the suburbanites to visit the Arch, the stadium, the zoo, the museums, the parks, and the other marvelous public resources the City offers for free to all. Let's see where the suburbanites will draw their inspiration and cultural identities from when their access has been cut off. When I lived in Saint Louis I made a vow never to stray west of Skinker, on principle.

I have lived in Brazil for many years now, because I found that I am freer in Brazil than in the USA. Free of the Puritanism and false morality in the States; the sexual repression; the obsession with consumerism and material goods, and work, work, work, at the cost of friendships, family and quality of life; free of the terrible diet of fast food, processed food, industrialized, over-packaged food, and over-packaged lifestyles; free of the cold winters; and most importantly, free of the racism. Brazil may be a classist country, but it has at least recognized and embraced its African influences. Saint Louis, and the rest of the United States, owes a tremendous debt to the cultural contribution of African-Americans, a debt that can never be repaid. Yet no one wants to acknowledge this debt. In fact, Saint Louis continues to adhere to a social regime tantamount to apartheid. This makes me feel true shame.

I grew up near Delmar Blvd., at a time when that street practically divided the City in two halves — blacks to the north, whites to the south. Today, with "white flight" at its most expressive levels in decades, and with Saint Peters the fastest growing city in the state, the south side has taken on a more diverse character, but the dichotomy between white and black continues strong as ever. No contact between the races. I am not even surprised any more when I hear whites in Saint Louis say they have never heard of the St. Louis American.

I moved back to Saint Louis from Brazil in 1995, because I had decided to wanted to spearhead an urban pioneer movement, to repopulate abandoned areas of the city. Tax abatements, neighborhood associations and marketing campaigns only go so far. The war is won on an individual level. Someone has to move to the City and become an example, convincing others to follow. Someone has to dispel the myths of crime and hatred. Someone has to take action. So I bought an abandoned smokehouse from the LRA (Land Reutilization Authority) on Iowa, with a friend of mine, and without any financial resources to speak of we started fixing it up with our own four hands. The crack dealers on the block burned it to the ground, but we were relentless in our commitment. We traded the ashes for another building — squatting in the second without electricity for many months — until we had it back up to habitable conditions. It served as my home for several years. I made lasting friendships with neighbors that most Saint Louisans would never give themselves the chance to meet.

In fact, my friends from the suburbs continued intransigent in their stance. It was like high school all over again: attending the Priory, I was one of a handful of boys that lived in the City. My friends were not allowed to visit my home. Their parents thought I lived in the jungle, and that their children would be robbed, raped, or murdered if they left West County. In college, when I lived near Crown Candy, I convinced a few to visit. It was like taking them to a foreign country. They had never even driven through north city. They didn't even know it existed! Living in my LRA property I discovered that nothing had changed years later. People were still unable to overcome their prejudice and fear. They actually liked hiding out in Saint Peters. And so, recognizing that we live in a cultural democracy, where people vote with their feet, I accepted the defeat of my pioneer efforts and returned to Brazil.

I miss a lot of things about Saint Louis, especially the radio. When I was growing up there were more than five or six full-time jazz stations: KBIL, KWMU, WSIE, KATZ (on the prowl). Webster University had a real funky one, too, but I don't remember the call letters. There was even a smooth jazz station, though I never liked it much. Add all these to KDHX, and its eclectic array of programming, and man, we were in a really privileged position musically. That was a fact. I got hooked on funk, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, reggae, rap, African. You name it. If it had roots in the diaspora of African music, it got played on Saint Louis radio. Saint Louis is a deeply funky place, but so many people are unable to tap into the vibe.

I do not consider myself a patriotic person. I don't care much for the USA as a whole, but I have deep, unseverable ties to Saint Louis. And the reason for this is that Saint Louis is a very unique place. I just can't figure out why people are so self-denigrating, why they can't define and give value to what makes them so special. I have a different vision, but it doesn't seem like many people share it with me, so it has just remained a daydream that I indulge in moments of homesickness. Maybe my Saint Louis will only ever exist in my mind."
stlouis  2004  tomkarsten  friends  missouri  maranhão  mississippiriver  ruins  midwest  us  patriotism  brazil  brasil  race  class  society  segregation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Hashima aka Gunkanjima: Photos of desolate Battleship Island off the coast of Japan | Mail Online
"Deserted, decaying and crumbling into the sea. Visitors to this abandoned settlement could be forgiven for thinking they had entered a long-forgotten war zone.

However, this is Gunkanjima - Japan's rotting metropolis. And it has been described as the most desolate place on Earth.
Gunkanjima is a deserted island of concrete that is slowly crumbling away on Japan's west coast.

Meaning 'Battleship Island' in English, Gunkanjima's real name is Hashima and it is one of 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture, about 15 kilometres from Nagasaki itself. It earned its nickname due to its resemblance to a military warship."
decline  urbanprarie  photography  hashima  nagasaki  2012  ruins  urbandecay  japan  gunkanjima 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Rick Poynor: The Unspeakable Pleasure of Ruins: Observers Room: Design Observer
"there are many reasons to be fascinated by ruins. For me, this attraction is first of all about being in the place. (Photos of ruins function in the same way that all kinds of photos function: they fire the imagination and provoke a desire to see for yourself.) The idea that best explains my love of ruins is the quest for re-enchantment. The abandoned ruin is a special zone charged with an intensity and a potential for revelation that most ordinary, complete and comfortable places lack. The more corporate daily experience becomes, the more some sites of ruination can offer an interlude of release into a refuge that is not accessible to crowds (it may well be unsafe), not overseen by officialdom, and not commercialized. Some regard these fractured spaces as being loaded with radical and even utopian potential."
optimism  utopia  refuge  ofrordness  romainemeffre  yvesmarchand  unknownfieldsdivision  geoffdyer  rosemacaulay  walterbenjamin  georgsimmel  gustavedoré  christopherwoodward  ruinporn  urbanprairie  detroit  2012  rickpoynor  urbanism  cities  architecture  photography  ruins 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Ten Commandments Archeological Site
"Under the sand in the Nipomo dune field is the Egyptian set from Cecil B. DeMille's epic movie "The Ten Commandments," dynamited and buried there by the crew after shooting ended in 1923. 1,600 workers were employed to build the plaster and wood set for the month-long shoot, a set which included an avenue of 21 sphinxes, four 35-foot tall Pharaoh statues, and 110-foot tall gates. Strong winds across the coastal dunes are gradually exposing the remains." [Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobaria/3281483501/ Article: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/18/local/la-me-lostcity19-2010mar19 ]
sanluisobispopismobea  pismobeach  nipomodunes  dunes  cecilbdemille  tencommandments  film  history  ruins  via:britta  guadalupe  california 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Artificial Owl
"Welcome to the Artificial Owl, a site dedicated to provide a selection of the most fascinating abandoned man-made creations. While adding new content to the site, I try to follow as much as possible these simple rules :
urbanexploration  ruins  landscape  retro  design  culture  architecture  art  history  photography  urban  travel  buildings  abandoned  decay 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Place Hacking | Savage Minds
"I rapped with reformed archaeologist Bradley L. Garrett regarding his recent visual ethnographic fieldwork about urban exploration. Here’s what we talked about, all images are his."
via:adamgreenfield  psychogeography  deleuze  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanexploration  anthropology  capitalism  activism  geography  exploration  parkour  ruins  theory  gillesdeleuze 
january 2010 by robertogreco
6 Involuntary Parks | Quiet Babylon
When he was still running the Viridian Movement, Bruce Sterling introduced the idea of involuntary parks. Spaces in the world that have become so polluted or otherwise unusable by humans, that they’ve been left to nature (or, at least, savagery).
korea  brucesterling  detroit  centralia  chernobyl  brittany  ecology  landscape  nature  urbanism  environment  bldgblog  parks  ruins  collapse  urbanprairie  urbanreclamation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Ruins of the Present | Beyond The Beyond
"*We’ve long had a term of art for old buildings that are ruined...“ruins.” *However, we lack a term of art for “ruins” that are actually buildings never completed. Sometimes they’re completed buildings that are never sold...start falling over before they were ever inhabited...*Another version is the abandoned, incomplete high-rise...In Brazil a skeleton framework of this kind is called a “squelette.” *Occasionally squatters move into “squelettes” & bring in some breeze-block, corrugated tin and plastic hoses, transforming squelettes into high-rise favelas. This doesn’t work very well because it’s tough to manage the utilities, especially the water...*It bothers me to use clumsy circumlocutions like “unfinished ruins” or “partially built, yet abandoned structures” or “stillborn highrises” for a phenomenon that is so common and so obvious to billions of urban people, so henceforth I am going to call them “squelettes.” They don’t have to be Brazilian, French, or 80 stories tall, either."
brucesterling  neologisms  language  ruins  squellettes  culture  architecture  crisis  abandoned  abandonment  decay  squatting  unfinished  cutshort  structures  buildings  wabi-sabi 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Simon Jenkins: As they did Ozymandias, the dunes will reclaim the soaring folly of Dubai | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Detroit is part of a great country that has shown itself capable of rescuing even its rustbelt municipalities...depends on finding people who will live in a place from which most have fled. Luckily, much of Detroit is of low-rise plot housing that could be transformed...No such option is available to Dubai. It is the ultimate Corbusian city, rigid in format and old-fashioned in conception, based on the grids and set squares of super-planners, and on grand symbolic buildings rather than intimate streets... If it is lucky Dubai will at least be a refuge from the political cataclysms that could engulf countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But mostly the dunes will reclaim the place. In centuries to come, tourists will share with Ozymandias the message: "Look on my works ye mighty and despair." With Shelley they will see how, "round the decay /Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare /The lone and level sands stretch far away.""
dubai  recession  detroit  architecture  economics  cities  finance  crisis  ruins  decay 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Principles of the American Cargo Cult
"I wrote these principles after reflecting on the content of contemporary newspapers and broadcast media and why that content disquieted me. I saw that I was not disturbed so much by what was written or said as I was by what is not. The tacit assumptions underlying most popular content reflect a worldview that is orthogonal to reality in many ways. By reflecting this skewed weltanschauung, the media reinforces and propagates it.
society  culture  politics  economics  us  sociology  religion  wisdom  psychology  media  debate  logic  cargocult  philosophy  life  critique  rhetoric  fallacies  crisis  catastrophe  fail  ruins  via:rodcorp 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Ruins of the Future - Strangeharvest :: Architecture / Design / Culture
"Tomorrows visitors to todays (or yesterdays) iconic buildings will feel the swoosh of volumes, the cranked out impossibility of structure, the lightheadedness of refection and translucencies. They will marvel at buildings that hardly touch the ground, which swoop into the air as though drawn up by the jet stream. They will feel stretched by elongated angles that seem sucked into vanishing points that confound perspective, and will be seduced by curves of such overblown sensuality. And in this litany of affects they will find the most permanent record of the heady liquid state of mind of millennial abstract-boom economics. We might rechristen these freakish sites as museums of late capitalist experience, monuments to a never to be repeated faith in the global market."
society  culture  architecture  recession  ruins  future  latecapitalism  boom  lostopportunities  design  collapse  economics  bubbles 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Feral cities - The New Strategic Environment | Naval War College Review | Find Articles at BNET
" The putative "feral city" is (or would be) a metropolis with a population of more than a million people in a state the government of which has lost the ability to maintain the rule of law within the city's boundaries yet remains a functioning actor in the greater international system...social services are all but nonexistent, and the vast majority of the city's occupants have no access to even the most basic health or security assistance. There is no social safety net. Human security is for the most part a matter of individual initiative. Yet a feral city does not descend into complete, random chaos..."
urbanism  ruins  sciencefiction  scifi  urban  cities  population  future  politics  economics  culture  military  terrorism  law  dystopia 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Land+Living: Detroit. Demolition. Disneyland.
"The DDD Project targets the most visible abandoned homes, those visible to suburbanites who commute into Detroit and witness the burned out and forsaken neighborhoods. Two of the first nine houses painted by DDD have since been torn down by the City. There is something of the project that recalls Gordon Matta-Clark's (1, 2) "building cut" pieces; transforming deserted buildings with a simple gesture.
detroit  streetart  architecture  matta-clark  planning  urbanism  urban  nature  landscape  public  urbanprairie  cities  ruins  decay  art  activism  gordonmatta-clark 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Forgotten Detroit
"Detroit is known for one of the most stunning collections of pre-depression architecture in the world. The past two decades have seen several of these treasures sit vacant, waiting for economic revival. On these pages you will find information about the past, present, and future situations of a few of these landmarks. It is my hope that this information helps you gain an appreciation for the importance of both the history and continued survival of these buildings."
urban  cities  detroit  urbandecay  photography  buildings  architecture  history  urbanexploration  demolition  ruins 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Aardvarchaeology : Ruins of Childhood
"next time you come upon abandoned treehouse site...you're standing in the ruins of someone's childhood...children who used site no longer exist: they're grownups now, living somewhere else, disposing more rationally of belongings"
archaeology  children  maps  treehouses  ruins  childhood  construction  glvo 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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