Sunday, April 09, 2006

Abandoned in Place - Duex

One of my earliest posts was "Abandoned in Place." In it I waxed philosophic about the mystery of abandoned buildings and how they seem to draw my attention.

Some time ago I was over on the Watashi to Tokyo blog and came across the "ruins are beautiful" post. It highlights a mysterious seeming Japanese island called "Gunkanjima".

According to to the "Watashi to Tokyo" post:
"To be honest with you, I heard the name before but did not know much about it....they say Gunkanjima was only small reef, but it was developed for mining coal since 1870's. Its population was 5,000 at peak, and they built many high apartments. Thus it looked like a warship, so we call this island "Gunkanjima" (warship island). However it was closed in 1974, and it has turned into ruins now."
It reminds me of a set-piece for a Studio Ghibli production of "Laputa: The Castle in the Sky" or something. I can only imagine what it was like to have lived and worked there.

There are two really neat photo-gallery websites referred to regarding Gunkanjima:
Gunkanjima Odyssey (Japanese--so bring your web-translator)
Gunkanjima (English)

In the comments, someone left a link to a site called "Opacity". This is some of the most beautiful photography of abandoned buildings and material I have ever come across. It is really emotionally haunting. It looks to be updated regularly so I've added it to my bookmark list of frequently visited sites. I really like the site layout and color-scheme. Well done.

When growing up as a kid, one book I read that really inspired me was Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay. David Macaulay has done some really incredible work, but this one was my favorite. In it, archaeologists from the future uncover a motel room and try to use (misguided) anthropological analysis to discover what life in our times was like. Seeing the possibility of how our ruined civilization would like in stark black and white illustrations captivated my young imagination.

Of course, that let me to learn about the wonderful discoveries of Cambodia's abandoned cities of Angkor, the Maya civilization (that my minor was in), and the tombs of Egypt. (As well as also founding a delight in "fantasy-archeology" found in Raiders of the Lost Ark movies, Lara Croft Tomb Raider movies, heck, even (the original) Planet of the Apes films.)

See you in the skies,


acronymonious said...

If you're interested in some spooky archeology, check out some of the Chthulu Mythos stuff from Lovecraft...lots of dusty books, arcane evil, and obscure references...


Claus said...

I'll have to check it out!

My favorite stuff was Clive Cussler of "Raise the Titanic" fame. Well..not so much the movie which was a bomb, but the Dirk Pitt novels.

They had all that underwater archeology, historical context, etc...good stuff. Then he kinda dropped the Dirk Pitt character for a while and moved on to other stuff. It's kinda "light" reading--not quite as complex as say, Tom Clancy...but a fun and exciting read nevertheless.