Sunday, 20 May 2007

Hauntogeography I : Gunkanjima

A few kilometers off the coast of Japan sits Hashima Island, abandoned in 1974 when its coalmines were closed. At one time this 450x150 meter island was one of the most densely populated spaces on earth, now it is entirely devoid of people. It seems to be a strange cross between Tarkovsky's Stalker and a Tuscan hill-top village, the perfunctory concrete housing blocks have shed all of their wooden balconies to the streets below, and the steep terrain has led to some amazing staircase configurations, now with trees growing in and out and around them. The beauty of situations such as this should not just be reduced to some guilty eschatological pleasure, what can we take from this into our own production?