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A vision of post-apocalypse Britain?
June 12, 2013 7:07 AM   Subscribe


 
... or if you cut funding to infrastructure.
posted by mazola at 7:13 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or you could just implement austerity measures for the same effect (and keep the people).
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why are all the image pairs backwards? This reads like a story of urban renewal.
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on June 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


Or you could just implement austerity measures for the same effect

You beat me to it.
posted by dowcrag at 7:19 AM on June 12, 2013


*If* humanity is wiped out? It will be, eventually. Awesome link, thanks!
posted by agregoli at 7:23 AM on June 12, 2013


I love shit like this. More decayed crumbling old things, and far less people. Do America next.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:24 AM on June 12, 2013


Is this what Daily Fail readers see in their heads all the time? Only you know, caused by the gays/the immigrants/the "immoral" pop stars?
posted by Kitteh at 7:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ahhh, dystopian speculation always hits the sweet spot for me (although I'm a little sceptical to there being smoke emitted from the power smokestacks, then again, it could be one of those yummy "the rats have inherited the earth" scenarios..). Also, London Futures is an artistic endeavour in a similar vein with a focus on climatic calamities rather than post-human decay.
posted by Ravneson at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this what Daily Fail readers see in their heads all the time? Only you know, caused by the gays/the immigrants/the "immoral" pop stars?

I was thinking of it more as a yearning for ruins - a yearning for apocalypse. It's as though no one can see any end to the crisis [or to neoliberal capitalism] except through pandemic and catastrophe, and so the only way to get beyond our present untenable situation is to imagine a time when Nature Itself has laid low the structures of power and wealth. We can't do it - so it's going to have to be pandemic flu or poisonous fungus or whatever.
posted by Frowner at 7:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I live in the New Forest. It's nice to know that, after the apocalypse, the rest of you will have roads as bad as ours.
posted by monkey closet at 7:29 AM on June 12, 2013


I'm a little sceptical to there being smoke emitted from the power smokestacks

The first ruin with the satellite dish also seems somewhat illogical.
posted by elizardbits at 7:30 AM on June 12, 2013


These are clearly done by people who have never gardened or worked for national rail. Within about 5 years everything would be covered in buddleia. Everything.
posted by srboisvert at 7:31 AM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think I've developed a real fatigue for our seemingly interminable rush to produce even grimmer renditions of the sci-fi apornolyptic spectacles of the seventies. What does it say about us that all we can imagine are dystopian futures that suit our tweezy flagellant fetishes?

It's funny how the pestilential futures we all thought were just around the corner in 1973 never appeared. Maybe it's just something that we, as descendants of puritanical mortification freaks (at least in the US) just wish would happen because we're all just so very dirty and naughty.

Call me a Pollyanna if you like, but I think I'll reread Ecotopia this month.
posted by sonascope at 7:33 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of Joseph Gandy
posted by chavenet at 7:33 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you like this sort of thing you should really check out The World Without Us.

Also, buildings don't just crumble, they completely collapse if not maintained.
posted by swift at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this what Daily Fail readers see in their heads all the time? Only you know, caused by the gays/the immigrants/the "immoral" pop stars?

I was thinking of it more as a yearning for ruins - a yearning for apocalypse. It's as though no one can see any end to the crisis [or to neoliberal capitalism] except through pandemic and catastrophe, and so the only way to get beyond our present untenable situation is to imagine a time when Nature Itself has laid low the structures of power and wealth. We can't do it - so it's going to have to be pandemic flu or poisonous fungus or whatever.


I agree that part of the appeal is a feeling of helplessness, but I think it's also a feeling of dissatisfaction with the present world that people find really hard to articulate or face. Here we are at the height of our civilization! And it just isn't making us feel all that much happier.
posted by selfnoise at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2013


"What would Battersea Power Station look like were it a ruin?"

Um, Battersea Power Station.
posted by Jehan at 7:38 AM on June 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:40 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it wrong that I immediately started scanning some of these looking for raiders, feral ghouls and super mutants?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:43 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]






tags: somehowconnectedtoplaystation notsurehow

It's marketing for The Last of Us, which is set in the post-fungal-apocalypse world pictured, albeit (as far as I know) wholly in the US. Apparently it's p great.
posted by emmtee at 8:12 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's this? It's beautiful!

EDIT: Nvm I see now the labels for the pictures.
posted by Mister_A at 8:13 AM on June 12, 2013


Every time I see stuff like this, I think of Hitler and Speer obsessing over ruin value.
posted by COBRA! at 8:23 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. I like these. They strike me as what might happen if a really, really good police sketch artist was listening to Morrissey's Greatest Hits.
posted by bunglin jones at 8:30 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why was Battersea billowing out so much smoke? The mutants firing it up?
posted by 2N2222 at 8:31 AM on June 12, 2013


I think its natural to imagine the end. We all know it will happen, but but don't know how. But I do agree there's an underlying yearning for Nature to fix things we feel we can't fix.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on June 12, 2013


I'm a little sceptical to there being smoke emitted from the power smokestacks

The first ruin with the satellite dish also seems somewhat illogical.


In general they exhibit an incoherence which seems to be common to these sorts of visions. Everything has been dead for a long time, AND everything is currently dying! Melancholy + Danger = Money.
posted by selfnoise at 8:54 AM on June 12, 2013


I was thinking of it more as a yearning for ruins - a yearning for apocalypse. It's as though no one can see any end to the crisis [or to neoliberal capitalism] except through pandemic and catastrophe, and so the only way to get beyond our present untenable situation is to imagine a time when Nature Itself has laid low the structures of power and wealth. We can't do it - so it's going to have to be pandemic flu or poisonous fungus or whatever.

Hmmm. I think one needs to be cautious about reading the appeal of images like this as being all that specifically tied to a particular moment of "crisis" or a particular phase of late capitalism or what have you. After all, there was a huge vogue for these kinds of images in the C18th (London in ruins, Paris in ruins etc. etc.).
posted by yoink at 9:10 AM on June 12, 2013


Apparently if there were no more humans, the weather would be stormier and plants in general would be a darker color.
posted by pengale at 9:28 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought these illustrations from the forthcoming Conservative manifesto were embargoed until two weeks before the elections.
posted by Abiezer at 9:42 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Looking at the pictures I thought... was anyone else searching for covered points of entry and snipers, or have I just played WAY the hell too much Fallout?
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:22 AM on June 12, 2013


Although I do love the word apornolyptic and can easily agree with the current pop-cultural fad of relishing in it all is a bit much, there may be actually be a certain productive function to the whole exercise.
posted by Ravneson at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this what Daily Fail readers see in their heads all the time? Only you know, caused by the gays/the immigrants/the "immoral" pop stars?

I was thinking of it more as a yearning for ruins - a yearning for apocalypse.




I think for a particular set of those readers, its also a feeling that when the apocalypse comes, "I'll finally be able to shoot the people I don't like."


It's sort of the grown-up nutter version of "Oh boy- sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kitteh: "Is this what Daily Fail readers see in their heads all the time? Only you know, caused by the gays/the immigrants/the "immoral" pop stars?"

Second comment on the article: "When our imported guests have finally bled this country to death this is what we will be left with."
posted by brundlefly at 1:41 PM on June 12, 2013


Glasgow itself looks like an ominous, warlike place; looming large behind the famous Arc, mysterious fires can be seen emanating from the city, its suburbs filled with decaying tower blocks and grim industrial works.


Tha's pretty much what i like about Glasgow though.....in another note, do cheerful post apocalyptic images exist anywhere ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2013


Pic 5 just screams for an enormous deflated pigballoon on one of the smokestacks.
posted by mcrandello at 7:29 PM on June 12, 2013


Looks nice and quiet. Perhaps too quiet.
posted by arcticseal at 9:37 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. I think one needs to be cautious about reading the appeal of images like this as being all that specifically tied to a particular moment of "crisis" or a particular phase of late capitalism or what have you. After all, there was a huge vogue for these kinds of images in the C18th (London in ruins, Paris in ruins etc. etc.).

No, no - what you're suggesting is that we must have either no broader cultural explanation for the appeal of ruins or a transcultural/transtemporal*explanation of their appeal. It's perfectly possible to say that images of ruins mean different things at different times in response to different cultural concerns. Science fiction movies as a genre go into and out of popularity, but we don't need to allege that a fan of Cloverfield has the same set of anxieties and fascinations that a fifties Forbidden Planet viewer would.

I think someone could write an awesome book about the history of Being Concerned With Ruins, though.

Surely the 18thC stuff had to do with the emerging popularity of tourism and thus exposure to the Roman ruins in Italy, right? (I'm thinking of Goethe's Italian Journey here.) And then the new-ish Enlightenment understanding of history as no longer teleological/religious time but rather human/scientific time - that would be percolating out of scientific/philosophical circles into the mainstream. (The first two chapters of Peter Osborne's The Politics of Time - which are all that I have read so far - are interesting on this although that's not the point of the book.) And advancing historiographical and archaeological techniques, so that you have a more and more detailed set of ideas about the past. So all of the sudden, there's a popular understanding that the world is not just moving toward the End Times, it's moving...toward something? not toward something? and whoa, look at all these Roman ruins, a great empire fallen into decay. (The lone and level sands stretch far away, right?) What if some day London were like that? Or, god forbid, Paris? Are England and France as great as Rome? And of course, the scary/forbidden/transgressive frisson of imagining that all this great, impressive, giant stuff is ruined!! And then wouldn't Paris and London be growing fast at that point, and filthy, and full of a new urban class? Wouldn't there be a lot of anxieties about the very viability of cities?

It seems likely that the allure of ruins has a lot to do with anxiety about the viability of a given way of life, but there can be a lot of other differences.

*That's a Joanna Russ joke, for any nerds in the audience!
posted by Frowner at 6:36 AM on June 13, 2013


No, no - what you're suggesting is that we must have either no broader cultural explanation for the appeal of ruins or a transcultural/transtemporal*explanation of their appeal.

How you get that from "I think one needs to be cautious" about facile historicizing arguments I truly cannot imagine.

The problem with the kinds of interpretations you sketch in your comment is that they are entirely circular. "X cultural form was popular at time T. The things I know about time T are A, B, and C: therefore X cultural form was popular because it was a reflection of A, B, and C." You may be right that the C18th vogue for visions of great modern cities in ruins had to do with all the things you suggest. But the argument has no real explanatory power in itself at all.

"The aliens are among us" stories from the 50s and 60s were always read as being allegories of the Cold War, but long after the Cold War ended such stories continue to fascinate us (think of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. Clearly any purely reductive reading of those stories from the 50s and 60s that tries to see their appeal purely and solely as stemming from that particular historical context is missing something. That is not to say that people in the 50s and 60s did not use such stories, in part, to think about issues relating to the Cold War; but when we examine that we have to find specific and concrete instances of people doing so and think about the actual specific and concrete ways in which they did. Simply waving our hands airily at the general phenomenon of Cold War anxieties and at the air of paranoid suspicion that pervades such stories and saying "See?" tells us nothing at all.

Similarly, to look at these photoshopped pictures of decaying structures and to wave ones hands airily at "late capitalism" or a prevailing mood of "ecological catastrophism" or what have you is equally vacuous. This is not to say that such images do not get motivated in certain circumstances by certain people as ways of addressing such issues but, again, that to explore how that happens requires the investigation of particular cases.

Or, in other words, one needs to be cautious about reading the appeal of images like this as being all that specifically tied to a particular moment of "crisis"...
posted by yoink at 7:37 AM on June 13, 2013


How you get that from "I think one needs to be cautious" about facile historicizing arguments I truly cannot imagine.

Because "be cautious" is polite-academic for "you're doing it wrong, and probably foolishly".

I don't know - I have always figured that comments on non-academic websites that I phrase as "I was thinking of it more as...." are pretty informal and tossing-ideas-around, but next time I'll be sure to add a disclaimer.
posted by Frowner at 8:18 AM on June 13, 2013


Abandoned America
posted by infini at 6:37 AM on June 14, 2013


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