Art of the Real

Southern Nights

“Among the ruined temples there,
Stupendous columns, and wild images
Of more than man, where marble daemons watch
The Zodiac’s brazen mystery, and dead men
Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around…”
Alastor, Percy Bysshe Shelley

What is it about ancient and modern ruins that awakens within us the sense of an uncanny Real? One can wander the fractured landscapes of our world and realize that it is more like visiting an alien and derelict universe, where fallen factories, decaying shopping malls, overgrown bunkers and redundant mining towns litter the pale city scape like the ghostly demarcations of some corrupted species bent of total annihilation: – where cities filled with debris and rusted assemblages form the nucleus of a monstrous thought in which humans have given way to the blight of a fetid nightmare.

What we are interested in is “places of abjection”—“a no-man’s land too recent, conflicting and repulsive to be shaped as collective memory”. [1] Places that are haunted by a present past too grim or…

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