Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Utopian explorations

I discovered a new abandoned building yesterday. (New to me, at least.) And as such, I had to explore it - see if there was a way inside and what was hidden behind the smashed windows. From the outside, it looked somewhat like a school, but it turned out to be a factory of some kind.

Or, rather, it was a factory of some kind, once. Now, it's more of a impromptu party hall and hideout for youths who value having a place to be alone. And, in the short period I was there, also a pair of photographers who needed a setting for a picture.

I helped them get in. After all - I don't own the place, and had no reason not to; in those places who used to be places, solidarity is more common than in ordinary places.

In fact, many social rules are put aside there. For one thing, you get a free pass on starting up random conversations with people why happen to be around - when there's only the two of you, there's a relaxed sense of expectations. You are both out of place, the place is out of place, and whatever weird stuff you might be doing is explained by this very out-of-placeness. And, moreover, there's really no need to be ashamed of being strange, out there in the noplace - you've obviously gone out of everyone's way to do your thing, whatever this might be.

It's rather a shame that they seem to be on the verge of demolishing this particular noplace - it would make for a decent hidden writing den when the summer comes around.

As you may have gathered, I have somewhat of an interest in these places that are not places. Or, rather, what happens when society claims a place and then releases its hold - what happens in that short period of time between when the last person who's supposed to be there leaves, and when nature finally reclaims the ruins as a part of itself.

Mostly, this consists of a lot of what might be called vandalism - certainly when it comes to doors, locks and other things designed to keep people out. And there's no secret that many a graffiti artist has started their work in forgotten places, far away from preying eyes.

But it also consists of a lot of building. Rebuilding. Taking a place and remixing it for some new use, whatever that might be. Artists using the peace and quiet to get creative, writers getting into the mood of stories past (or postapocalyptically futuristic), or just young punks who need somewhere to young and punk. People who can't find a place anywhere else, and therefore claims one that no one else seems to be using.

And these places - noplaces, betweenplaces, newplaces - are very much in the spirit of the theme I try to present from various angles in this blog of mine. Remixing it to the streets. Not remixing it into anything specific - just taking what's there and doing whatever seems to be the next logical thing with it. Whether that be general urban exploring, secret/spontaneous meetings or outright occupations.

There is no shortage of world. After all.

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