Industrial Ruins – Space Aesthetics and Materiality

My CS research is mostly housed in my research folder (Zotero based) that sits beyond this blog. This has the obvious benefits of being easily searchable and capturing citation information that can be called directly from Word with the Zotero plugin. So, why spend time posting here?

I’d always planned to make a note of anything particularly noteworthy, that might be included in an update to my literature review assignment (though with a 1,000 word limit that will need to be highly selective). But it now seems the blog is being used to police the level of student engagement – a kind of compliance tool beyond what I require for my own purposes. So, there is another reason to at least periodically post updates here!

I’ve been looking at the idea of industrial heritage and how places that are not maintained as culturally significant ultimately fall to ruin. Ruins are something I’ve always been attracted to – the chaos and non-conformity with regulated space, the layers of time and stories in their decaying fabric. And, I’ve read many of Tim Edensor’s papers on the subject. However, I’ve only now come across his 2005 book, Industrial Ruins – Space Aesthetics and Materiality .

The book is like a bible of industrial ruins, beginning with an introduction that explains Edensor’s passion for the ruined form. What I enjoy most about the book is how it challenges commonplace perceptions of ruins as simply sites of failure that are not worthy of cultural attention (a sign that capitalise ideology has no interest in publicising). It deals with the contemporary uses of ruins, how they disorder space, their materiality and the ‘spaces of memory and ghosts of dereliction’.

It has proven a rich source of ideas for how I might deal with the underrepresented industrial ruins along the canal side.