Abandoned shopping malls

Reposted from Failed Architecture website and BUU.

"This blog post by BuzzFeed features some incredible imagery from redundant shopping centers in the United States. The series of photos reminds us of how quickly capital moves through space, temporarily settling in places where it offers the highest returns. Obviously resulting in the constant construction of, among others, new shopping malls, and leaving many of them to rot away. The post by BuzzFeed has been incredibly popular on social media over the last week, reaching an audience far beyond the small group of architecture geeks. Once again, this emphasises the widespread fascination with urban and architectural decay, which we have been discussing in another article recently. Most photos are sourced from the blogs Architectural Afterlife and Detroiturbex, which are both worth following as well."

As I'm preparing a piece in collaboration with Langham Research Centre for the Only Connect festival (Oslo 22 - 24 May) devoted to the influence and heritage of JG Ballard, this series of images comes at a very appropriate moment. I will also be visiting Tate Britain's "Ruin Lust" exhibition next week, and attending an artist talk there by Jane and Louise Wilson, whose projects have a distinctly Ballardian character.

Image from the Buzzfeed series

Image from the Buzzfeed series
And here is a sneak preview of some of the images I will use in the "Muffled Ciphers" performance in Oslo with Langham Research Centre. They will be projected as 35mm slides.
the face of the dead actress appeared in windows across the city....

we were entering a zone of permanent monitoring

a sign indicating the cancellation of the future

a lone pilot approached the lagoon in his seaplane

from a lookout point above the storage tanks, he could observe the final departure of the residents

for days he had wandered through empty pedestrian subways and abandoned car parks


Without Waiting for Her Reply

by Apichaya Wanthiang

USF Visningsrommet, Bergen 4.-13. April 

In the dark of night we enter a sparsely lit space. A red hue emanates from the dark structure
that we are guided through. Looking in from the outside, it seems recognizable as a kind of
shed, its rough outlines contrasting against the slightly infernal light escaping from under the
roof. Once inside, the structure reveals its particular materiality: the corrugated iron plates
with their rusty patches that make up the roof, the worn timber, the lighting itself which
envelops the structure in a surreal half-light. This space is neither here nor there. It creates an
atmosphere that is at once intimate and stifling, recognizable and unfamiliar. Like the liminal
space in a ritual, it opens the way to transformation. During the three hours of Apichaya
Wanthiang’s nightly exhibition Without Waiting for Her Reply, work and beholder meet each
half way in order to establish a new, temporary community.

The structure, built together with Christian Stefanescu, is reminiscent of so-called rest houses 
that are frequently found in the landscape of a Thai rice field. It is an architectural form 
indigenous to the artist’s native country, yet its execution in the exhibition space also 
transcends this particular cultural reference. It provides the orientation for the visitors as they 
move through the installation, imposing certain movements and attitudes that might not be 
natural to them, but that belong to the life originally lived in these buildings. Images of this 
life can be seen upon first entering the installation. A video consisting of a sequence of still 
and contemplative images evokes the rhythm of daily life in the artist’s native community. 
We can see its inhabitants carry out their labors and perform their rituals, as well as its 
surrounding landscape. More than painting a mere picturesque image, the video works 
together with the rest of the installation to install a specific temporal experience. On the one 
hand, its slowness requires a level of engagement on the part of the viewer. On the other hand, 
it is part of a collection of elements, including the installation structure itself and the subtitles 
to the video that are consciously presented as fragments, discouraging a linear reading.

Text: Esther Tuypens (extract) 

BEK, Bergen Kommune and the Arts Council Norway generously supported this exhibition. Thanks to USF-visningsrommet, and the installation has been developed and realised in collaboration with Cristian Stefanescu, Sindre Sørensen, Roar Sletteland and BEK.


Art of the Edgelands

Symposium: Art of the Edgelands
Saturday 26 April

10.00am to 4.00pm, free, booking is essential via Eventbrite, book online here 
Venue: Exploration Lab 1, The Forum, University of Exeter, Stocker Rd, Exeter, Devon EX4 4SZ
This interdisciplinary symposium will consider the significance of ‘edgelands’ and other marginal spaces, neither urban nor rural, as sites for artistic inquiry, and as cultural spaces. Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’ (open until Saturday 3 May 2014) features artworks exploring the marginal spaces of contemporary motorway landscapes.
Defined as a type of terrain ‘apparently unplanned, certainly uncelebrated and largely incomprehensible’ by environmentalist Marion Shoard, ‘edgelands’ have frequently been a source of inspiration for artists and writers.
Symposium speakers include Edward Chell, academic and lead artist of Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’; Dr. Caitlan DeSilvey, geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter; Laura Oldfield Ford, artist and psycho-geographer; Joanne Lee, artist, writer, publisher and senior lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University; Dr Jos Smith, associate research fellow, University of Exeter.