Trade Tokens #1 – Dereliction and Dioramas

I happened to notice this series of strange photos on the Guardian website the other morning and it seemed too extraordinary not to share.

Detroit in Ruins: Photos by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre document the decline of a major US city. These are extraordinary photos, and so very, very sad.

When I posted the link on Twitter, Rose Fox pointed me at this post, which specifically deals with photos of and articles about abandoned libraries. As the original poster said, ‘Few places are as chilling as abandoned libraries’.

This in turn reminded both Rose and myself of the work of Lori Nix, which I came across recently. Her dioramas of The City fit the theme, and this onein particular returns to the notion of the derelict library.

I was fascinated by Nix’s bizarre miniatures, but it turns out she’s not the only one producing tiny dioramas. Today I came across another set, featured on Building Blog (one of my favourite blogs, and worth reading if you’re interested in buildings, use of space, ruins and derelict places, etc., etc. It’s always thought-provoking and inspirational). Florian Tremp’s No Country For Small Men is a series of dioramas based on the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men.

I am entranced by this kind of modelling although (perhaps because) I possess neither the patience nor the dexterity, let alone the imagination, to produce such work. For that matter, neither do I possess the nerve to find my way into derelict buildings to take photos of them. I’m glad there is someone out there, documenting them, but equally I wonder if I’ve developed an unhealthy taste for dereliction porn.