Ruins have long held a fascination for me, whether they're in the canyons of the Southwest, the canopied jungles of the rain forest, or in our deteriorating cities. The history combined with an odd romanticism is an intoxicating mix. They are a doorway to understanding, archival dioramas that provide information about our collective past, while allowing us to gain a better understanding of the present, perhaps even offering clues to our future. The Story of Us is a story I never tire of, never lose interest in. It provides ongoing illumination into the Self.
The ruins of Detroit are again in the news. In a new book, The Ruins of Detroit, images by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre offer a window into the decay of this once robust city, a city that was, as they state, "the dazzling beacon of the American Dream."
"Detroit, industrial capital of the XX century, played a fundamental role in shaping the modern world. The logic that created the city also destroyed it. Nowadays, unlike anywhere else, the cities ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment. They have become a natural component of the landscape."
"Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification."
"Its splendid decaying monuments are no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great empire."
So, the question remains, pun intended, are we in the throes of the Fall? The fall of a once great empire? Or, will we rise again in greatness? And, Should we? Is the desire to regain that greatness the vestiges of an old paradigm which is no longer valid? Are we already in a new paradigm that requires major shifts in thinking as well as doing? Will we get on board this new paradigm or rail against the passing of the old, while opportunities for moving forward are squandered? Perhaps the answers remain in the choices of the individual.
You can view these and other images here: http://www.marchandmeffre.com
What visceral images. I live quite close to this once great city. As an observer, America has shown a lot of resilience; I wouldn't count her out.ReplyDelete
A couple of comments. Years ago, my husband and I got lost while walking in York, England. A local looked at our map and straighened us out. He asked what we thought about our economic situation, which was then in a mess. I said we were cautiously optimistic. Then the man said, "You Yanks. You will always find a way back."ReplyDelete
I talked to a man last week who was laid off as manager of a tool-and-die plant in Ohio. He started his own business after that - manufacturing sit-stand devices for computers - and can't keep up with the demand.
I think we're capable of further greatness, but we have to be flexible thinkers and accept changing paradigms. Doing with less is one of them.
Pictures of ruins are fascinating. Rather bittersweet. I can't take my eyes off it but yet, when all the furniture is there, it just looks like the people left in a rush.ReplyDelete
It's a spooky thought but often big changes in empires happen because of what's boiling deep within the earth. Nostrodamus and Cayce both see that happening in America.
I agree with Linda that doing with less is a mandate for the future. Unfortunately, it may be only the poor and middle-class who go that route. I have great fear of the unrelenting greed of that small group of the very rich and powerful.ReplyDelete
These images left me speechless. I followed the link and was amazed. I loved the old theatres too. They looked good enough to restore.ReplyDelete
I lived close to Detroit for some years, and the feeling of this is tangible.ReplyDelete
Even driving "through it " now , border crossing on the way to somewhere.
And the meaning of that too adds to the dilemma I suppose.
Excellent post! I'm always fascinted with pics such as these as they provoke the many thoughts. What I "feel" when I visit similar places it that the earth feels dead around them. Like the energy has been sucked out of her. I've never been out of the country, so I haven't been able to feel the coliseum, the piramids, etc. Have often wondered how they feel and if life has been restored...ReplyDelete
Many small towns around me downtown areas are ghost towns. One I visited they said they almost give thebuildings away just to keep them alive. Sad to see these images.ReplyDelete
Thank you, All, for your thoughtful comments and unique insights. I appreciate each one of you.ReplyDelete
A special thank you to Deb for visiting and leaving a comment. I'm always happy to see new visitors. I have visited yours now, as well, and like what I read, very much. Thank You!
This is so amazing, it all seems so surreal! These gripping images show a culture in decline, lost character, memories gone by. This was very difficult for me to view but could not look away. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I read about these images in the NYT. They are not pleasant at all. Jack of Sage to Meadow.ReplyDelete
Yes, Bill, surreal. As Jack mentions in his comment, "not pleasant at all." I thank you, gentlemen, for your remarks. We are aware, I believe, of the need to provide our own hope. And in so many ways, that is a good thing.ReplyDelete
I was just thinking of Detroit the other day; had heard whole neighborhoods of homes were being bulldozed and I thought to myself, gee couldn't those homes be "given" to those who lost their homes or to the homeless, couldn't items from these ruins in cities be recycled and the money given to those needing it. perhaps it's time for less spending on wars and more spending here in our country. when I see these ruins I see so many building materials, lumber, steel, iron, copper and brick and so much which could be utilized by so many. so sad to see such waste and decline. I agree with Blissed out Grandmother, and I also think much of America is doing with less already and I wonder how much less folks need to do with till the government, the rich and the employers "understand" many folks don't have enough for necessities and no resources as backups for emergencies or to start businesses if they wanted to.ReplyDelete
There would be nothing finer than to see our country prioritize along more generous lines, and yes, recycling homes, materials, etc. would be a great placed to start. They always come up with all the reasons why it's not a good idea, or all the problems that appear to be inherent in it, without allowing real thought to be given to How. There's altogether too much waste in this country. Again, we absolutely have to do all we can individually to create our own hope.ReplyDelete
Funny... (or not so funny, knowing the connection we seem to share) but this has been a near-constant theme to my consciousness as of late; the 'rising from the ashes' concept. Somehow, I believe we're moving to a place of ultimate goodness, but have just started our true meteoric descent... I think America already toppled years ago, but our best is yet to come.ReplyDelete
Kristy, we do seem to be on the same page...ReplyDelete
I do think the Empire is in decline but that's me. many see roses I suppose. The pictures are haunting for sure.ReplyDelete
I found this video a couple years ago that illustrates how nature is reclaiming this city.
I will check out that video, Tom. Thanks. I think we're on the same page....ReplyDelete