2018 C-Type Prints
Decay, ruin, broken and old things, bunkers and bomb-sites is an age old interest for artists. ‘Ruin Lust’ (from an 18th-century German compound ‘Ruinenlust’ ) is the idea that age and decay brings the patina of authenticity from the ancient world and has been borrowed time and again in popular culture and videogames. Eighteenth- Century artists and writers sought out ruined castles and picturesque landscapes, a source of visual and emotional preoccupation and a representation of the fears of industrialisation, hinting at things to come.
In the ‘Ruined’ series Gibson/Martelli used a network conditioning tool to throttle bandwidth to the Apple Maps application creating images showing low-resolution models downloaded before final high-resolution versions are displayed. The low polygon models with softened shapes and smeary, muddy textures speak to the idea of unmaking, the high tech creating a kind of ruin.The mapping software, though up to the minute, cannot keep pace with the breakneck changes occurring in the physical world — at some of the sites, a hole in the ground is occupied by a building in real life and vice versa.
The digital echoes an imperfect ideal. Researching the project the artists overlaid the London Property development map with the London Bomb map. One chart shows current, planned and approved large scale development works in the city. The other shows locations of bomb damage, mapped by combing data sets from WWII.
Responding to Ben Aaronovitch’s comment in Moon Over Soho about the London County Council in the 1960s, ‘whose unofficial motto was Finishing What the Luftwaffe Started’ seems apt today, the artists choosing areas proximate to former bomb sites earmarked for or currently undergoing ‘development’. The future overtaking present as the city is built over but will eventually become, like everything, a ruin.
’So many things vanish. Yet ruins remain in the landscape, reassuring the mind that death might not be the end’ – Jonathon Jones on Ruin Lust at Tate Britian.