Thursday, July 15, 2004

Derelict London

St Pancras Chambers, London: front elevation

A city exists not in its buildings but in the spaces between them, the interstices between here and unknown, now and past, cleanliness and squalor. When we’re in a great city of any kind, we register the contrasts without realising it, and they make the modern look all the more so; the charming picturesque, and the bland actively depressing.

London has more spaces of this kind than any city I’ve been to. And that’s why it’s so encouraging that people who notice the spaces are using modern technology to ‘preserve’ the old derelictions as images. Fitting, too, because image is what they are. They are the stone negative whose positive print was lost long since. Dying stone footfalls along the wide avenues of urban time…

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