As a species, we scramble around trying to improve our situation. We invent, experiment, build and create, all in the hope of finding something better than whatever it is that we already have. We like change.
Nature, however, prefers things as they were. What follows is an example of that ongoing disagreement.
The facts are that this piece of machinery evolved as a necessary component of an industrial process that makes things better. It has functioned as designed for sixty years or so, but rust compromised its structure, putting stress where it was never designed to occur. This caused a bearing to fail, which led to the drive belts slipping. Once it stopped running, somebody noticed a problem, and I was called in.
Without human intervention, the chain of failure would continue unchecked until everything involved had been reduced to their most basic elements, and nature would have won. This relentless reduction is the process of entropy. My job was to provide that human intervention.
In 2003, a group of Stanford archaeologists documented an abandoned building in part to contemplate the nature of ruins. Their report, bursting with academic glee, raised the point that ‘entropy has become chic’. Of course I was glad to hear this, having long been quiet fan. Don’t take my word for it, though, read it yourself.
Was the building a ruin? … the tropes of ruin wilderness influence the growing attraction and valuation of certain types of ruins. Such ruins tend to satisfy three knotted and (neo)Romantic impulses: a longing for individual freedom and liberation from the supposed sameness imposed by modernist production and organizing schemes; the dialectical swing away from an aesthetics of simplicity and order toward complexity and mess; the desire for witnessing objects-among-themselves undisturbed by human intervention. Ruin wilderness, offering counter-hegemonic intellectual, aesthetic and sensory offerings, is the flipside to idealized conceptions of pristine nature. Entropy has become chic.
Basically what I did was to remove the parts of this machine that no longer contributed to its ability to function, and replace them with parts that could. And to defy entropy, because that’s what I get paid to do.
I hope you’ll excuse the quality of the photos. There really was no place to stand.