Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Cutting Edge

The scene opposite the burnt out shell of the last post proved too enticing a proposition and the very next night (my camera tells me this was the 18th November 2007) I was back shinning up exactly the same tree, but this time with my sights set on the towering, tumbling concrete structure which flanked the railway lines. Now half-torn, lights glared straight through its exposed structure. Back-lit by electrical blue. This particular semi-demolished state appears to have near universal appeal, not only among those like me that routinely seek and find beauty in such scenes, but across a broad sweep of the population. I once watched two towers of council housing being blowndown by controlled explosion and witnessed the tangible, audible even, elation among the crowd at the site - perhaps the fascination with shredded concrete stems from the same urge? It was this stage of the process that the official imagery peddling chose to represent the 'demolish' part of their DIG.DEMOLISH.DESIGN slogan: "the world tallest building muncher, a veritable celebrity among plant machinery, has been specially shipped in from the continent to complete the job", accompanied by pictures of the thing in action, jaws spread, rubble flying. I felt I had to at least try to put a different spin on this stage of the process.

I wasted no time getting to it, I had no intention of investigating the site any further tonight, this single building would do just fine. Entry was as simple as always of late and the ground between fence and target was clear and unguarded. Two pairs of the much-lauded munching jaws were at work on this building, the first I came across were at rest, their diplodocan neck curled downwards, nose touching the ground, the backdrop being as it was: four open storeys of unravelling towerblock, the blue hued lights from the railway tracks creating a cold interior glow; I could not resist performing what would be my final plant cuddle, imposing some human scale on this scene. Pneumatic grease smeared my jeans once again and I jumped down and scuttled into hiding.

Inside most the of building remained intact, including stairways and a vast amount of metal racking which arranged in obedient ranks across whole floors, the remants of epic clothes storage? a production line? I could not tell. I tried clambering around the frames, freezing for shots, but none of them really worked, still the interior provided not only good cover but a vantage point from which to spy approaching guards so I continued exploring. I tried a few shots in the buildings interior, but quickly realised that it was the frayed edge of the building: the point at which building becomes rubble that was of interest. Walking around to the side of the block I found the spot at which another muncher was breaking through the walls, it's jaws left locked around four inches of reinforced concrete, but from the vantage point of my portable tripod this intrusion was indistinguishable. Peeking out of a nearby window I spotted a security guard returning from a lone foray down to the fence, torch in hand. I ducked out of sight until he's passed and decided to call it a day.

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