Where When What Why, 8.6.2014

»What has led the building upward is human will; what gives it its present appearance is the brute, downward dragging, corroding, crumbling power of nature«1.We no longer consider ruins to be a product of natural forces, as was the case in the Romantic period. Ruins have since lost their aesthetic sense. Because ruins are also well-known monumental buildings destroyed by war – St. Albans Church in Cologne, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, the Frauenkirche in Dresden, the Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, the Holiday Inn in Beirut – and entire villages that have disappeared at the bottom of hydroelectric dams or been cleared for the mining of natural resources. The sight of these is not majestic, but usually unsettling. They are only fragments of a much larger destruction. A destruction that has wiped out cities and above all people. Strategists prepare a scene of devastation, others try to convey the resulting traumatisation. Strategy, calculation, method, speculation set the residents in a state of shock and panic. The sight of a destroyed, abandoned house awakens memories; but they are no longer romantic, even though they relate to the past, they are now only sad and no longer tragic. The smaller the abandoned and now derelict houses are, the less the consternation. The dust that develops when a house or building is destroyed or decays, creates a temporary dust cover over history. Photogenic drawings2 can be seen briefly, rich in detail, where light separates the shadow from dust cloche. I momentarily stand in front of proportions that don’t blast the scale and my identity is briefly divided between memories of cellar, stairs, window, attic and displacement. Wind and sun quickly dispel this sensitivity. Photography accelerates the process of forgetting, it documents, archives, preserves. I walk on, as long as it is light. Only during the day, is reflection measured against reality. At the same time, the noise of building sites and the bustle of the streets is superimposed over consciousness. Photography triggers effects for the waking state.