Portents of a Near Future

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Recently the Wilmotte Gallery in London opened its doors on a new exhibition by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre featuring a collaborative body of work entitled “the Ruins of Detroit.”

The exhibition focuses on a city in decline, after its glory days as the centre of the Automotive Industry, the city of detroit has shrunk from more than 2 million inhabitants to just under 700,00. As machines began to replace humans, from the 1950’s the plants moved first to the suburbs, and eventually abroad leaving behind a city that would continue to face epic social and infrastructural problems as its local economy collapsed. Today the city lies in a state of abandonment, the once grand public buildings and hotels in a state of disrepair. It is this state of decomposition that inspired the Marchand and Meffre, both inspired by the idea of not just the ruins themselves, and the element of fantasy they provide the viewer, but the human ability to both create and destroy with equal abandon.

“Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes are small pieces of history in suspension. There is nothing more exciting than visiting something mysterious like a derelict castle or an abandoned theatre. As we explore deeper into the ruins the journey raises ideas and questions and we learn about architecture, society and history. What is interesting for us is the confrontation between the ideas embodied in the architecture, such as optimism, power, belief, creation and fantasy and the transformation into ruin, the end of the cycle. This change is very powerful. Ruins are a spectacular demonstration of our nature and its paradoxes, our ability to create and self-destruct.”

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre – Dazed Digital

If anything, these images are somewhat shocking. And there is a definite sense of revulsion that an entire city can just be left like this. But it does provide a somewhat prophetic look at human civilisation, and the cyclical nature of human society. Detroit is in itself a testament to the delusional sense of grandeur embodied by the human race, and the fragile reality of our environment, both natural and man-made.

Michigan Central Station

Atrium, The Farwell Building

The United Artists Theatre

Ballroom, The American Hotel

Melted Clock, Cass technical High School

Adams Theatre

The William Livingstone House

Ballroom, Lee Plaza Hotel

Laboratory, Cass technical High School

The Public Schools Book Depository

All images courtesy of Dazed Digital


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