The thread increasingly surrounded by darkness Riding out the winter (decline) of industrial civilization


Download 2.4 Mb.
Size2.4 Mb.
1   ...   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   ...   37

High up on Black Mesa, 1000 feet above the surrounding semi-arid grassland of northeastern Arizona, seams of bituminous coal are unearthed and shaved off by mechanized strip mining equipment at an average rate of 15 tons per minute*. The coal is placed on a 17-mile long elevated conveyor belt that lowers it off the mesa and deposits it into a large silo. Three times a day, the silo fills a string of 80 rail cars pulled by 50,000-volt electrified locomotives. The trains travel 78 miles along a dedicated line to the Navajo Generating Station near Lake Powell. Here the coal is pulverized into a fine powder and burned to create the superheated steam turning the plant’s three 750 megawatt turbines. A significant portion of the resulting electrical energy** is transmitted along power lines to the Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant at the southern end of Lake Havasu. The plant’s six 60,000-horsepower pumps lift 3000 cubic feet of water per second from the reservoir to the top of Buckskin Mountain. The water summits 824 feet above lake level before discharging from a 22-foot diameter tunnel that’s funneled it seven miles through the mountain. From here it begins a 329-mile long journey inside an open, concrete-lined channel. Before arriving at a terminus a few miles southwest of Tucson, it’ll pass through nine siphons, fourteen more pumping plants, and be lifted an additional 2000 feet.

Starting way back on Black Mesa illustrates CAP’s impressive reach. The Central Arizona Project, costing almost $5 billion dollars over its twenty-year construction period, is the largest and most expensive water conveyance system in the country. CAP’s website brags: “Last year, CAP used 2.8 million megawatt hours to deliver more than 500 billion gallons of Colorado River water to a service area that includes more than 80% of the state's population.”

Like the California Aqueduct, CAP is a river that flows uphill. It’s a complex system requiring minute-by-minute monitoring, constant maintenance, and a phenomenal amount of energy. Unlike the California Aqueduct, whose canal flanking maintenance roads have been opened to cyclists, The Central Arizona Project flows along behind chain link fencing and padlocked gates. My ambition with C.A.P is to document features of the system’s southern section that, for various reasons, typically remain out of sight and out of mind.
A cap is an upper limit—a ceiling beyond which further expansion is either undesirable or impossible. In the desert southwest, a region with inherently marginal carrying capacity, it’s the availability of fresh water that will cap further growth (read suburban development). The Colorado River, which feeds the Central Arizona Project from behind Parker Dam, is already strained to its limits. If a proposed emergency conservation plan goes into effect, significantly less water could be flowing into the CAP system in the not too distant future.
* based on a reported 8 million short tons per year

**24.3 percent for CAP as a whole. Mark Wilmer uses more than half of this.
You’re trying to draw out he connections and relationships in these industrial systems. Your description offers two reservoirs created by dams along the Colorado river—another industrial system—and the web continues. You’re exposing these relationships with your route.

The seams, ranging in thickness from three to fifteen feet, are the compressed and heated remains of organic material laid down by prolific peat bogs when they covered much of North America 300 to 360 million years ago. The coal is loaded onto an above ground conveyor belt that moves

Black Mesa is a large plateau in northeastern Arizona. 1000 feet above the surrounding semi arid grassland of the Colarado Plateau. Occupied by humans for at least the last 7,000 years—the land is shared by the Novajo Nation and Hopi tribes. The land gets its name from the dark coal seams that darken its
The 3-18 foot thick seams are the remains of prolific peat bogs that covered much of North America 300 to 360 million years ago.
Other rides:

Bisbee and surrounding mines

To the top of Mt. Lemmon

Colossal Cave

Nuclear attack suggested escape route into the mountains
Gasland documentary
Add introvert as personality type on about me page. With link to article.
Start putting a date stamp on newly added donation items.
Favorite desktop wallpapers edition—as donation gift.
For end civ—anyone who watched the video was implicating themselves with prior knowledge if such a scenario ever played out. The pure white plastic furniture is the selling point.
Essentially an unwanted gift.
More unwanted associations:

I will fell a billboard near where I live—you can choose to be mentioned anonymously or course

Missions for tonight:—billboard and first look at slaughterhouse.

When a
Al the text messages in my phone at the moment of your choosing—forwarded to your mobile device.

Plus the links in my browser’s favorite folder.
Speak extemporarily about the central Arizona project.—OR a miuzaki film
Craigslist post—anyone wiling to speak extemporaneously about one of three possible topic of interest. I’ll come to you by bicycle.
A pairing: the high line before and after.
How to destroy an oil refinery—a public talk with B. Tracy
California City was on the waypoints list for stage three overture but had to be cut

It’s the little things like “oh, the waffle iorn is especially clean this morning, or thoughts about the sheets you see all the time.

Flee to the hills.. ride the officially designated escape route out of the Tucson basin in the event of nuclear attack.
There are the annoyances though—contest over lighting—hotly contested—we all keep adjusting each other’s light directions and bulb choices.
I might be pushing too hard. For seven days I’ve been eradicating my (carefully cultivated) bacterial colonies with antibiotics. And I’m getting a cold. But the waffle iron was especially clean this morning. It’s the little things that keep you going.
No Turning Back: Sep. 17 edit

This is a draft version

The Lifelike remix of Demon’s Happy Therapy it the track I’ve used most often to critique my movements and whittle down the footage. The movements are not timed with the beat yet the edit still moves pretty well.

chronological ordering

Logan phylipps—verbal balla
IT corrections to make:

Wrong word in Bombay beach post

Change ventura refinery to Ojai Refinery and above ground

Richmond shipyards—nontraditional

Unintentional exponential curve

Friend—brownlands spiral

Jervis bay—shooting of

You told me once that my eyes reflected the beauty I’d witnessed throughout my life, but that their glow had grown faint and the effect had been lost. Your words weighed heavy and I’ve considered them often in the years since. I wonder what you’d see in them now.
One of my projects for the summer has been to document the monsoon in time lapse: (let the video load completely before watching.)

I’m sorry you’re relationship ended. I wish I had more to offer your search for answers. Just because your time together didn’t culminate in marriage, doesn’t mean it wasn’t immensely valuable and you undoubtedly learned much from each other. I’m sure you know this but it’s good to hear. I’d encourage you to view your romantic life not as a search for the one, but as a series of distinct chapters in which your experience overlaps with that of another. The pressure of marriage applied too early in a relationship can be stifling—don’t even let the idea in until it’s appropriate.

I hope you don’t mind me admitting I’m excited about seeing you again. It was great to hear from you—call me anytime. Really.
Include water tower class proposal—IT

Include badge contact with pick—IT

tonsillitis—a throat filled with puss and blood I finally cured with Tea tree oil, MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staff infection that caused deep and extremely painful boils to form on my face and neck, one of which had to be drained several times and has left an ugly scar, followed by a persistent feverish flu and a spine/rib strain the left me virtually unable to move for three days. All this suggesting that continuing this project on $200 a month worth of food stamps may not be possible much longer.

I was in touch with Yancey almost a year ago about launching a campaign for an ongoing project called The Illuminated Thread ( Although I was given the go-ahead, I ended up with enough funding from other sources to continue the project for another year without kickstarter’s help. Which brings us up to now…
First, I’m preparing for another stage, one that will take me all the way from Tucson, AZ to Manhattan, and I’d like to find out if the invite still stands. The project is two years old now and has much to show for itself including seventy something meticulously edited video vignettes shot at industrial sites across the country, lots of writing and plenty of stunning imagery. Here are some fresher favorites:

and the whole lot is here:
Second, and certainly more urgently, I want to do a one-month campaign tentatively titled: The Last Days of Dixie Square.
The country’s first suburban mall, Dixie Square has sat quietly abandoned south of Chicago for three decades. It’s an epic ruin: incredibly photogenic. The half a dozen visits I made to the site during graduate school three years ago were both sensually and spiritually rewarding. Regretfully in my opinion, the five million dollars necessary to finish the razing of the sprawling structure has been secured by the state of Illinois ( and demolition is expected to begin in November. Yes, I realize that’s next month, but these things rarely proceed on schedule and I think there’s still time to do a proper documentation of the ruin before it’s reduced to rubble. I’ve done some work there already (see and but have yet to take high-resolution images or audio recordings of the bizarre place. I see the endeavor producing large format digital prints that would make perfect backer gifts, as well as a modest run of printed catalogue style books containing images, historical notes, and essays. I’d also like to shoot HD video and take some binaural audio recordings that could be compiled onto an accompanying DVD. As a supplement to the project I’d consider organizing an informal tour of the mall in the spirit of dark tourism and urban exploration so that others can share the memory of Dixie Square’s last days. I realize this is a lot but I’ve developed a certain love for the place and am prepared to put in whatever time and energy is necessary. I’d need to raise enough money to cover transportation costs, a DSLR camera, prints, publishing, DVD authoring, etc., totaling several thousand dollars. Let me know what you think—it’s demolition will be quite absolute, erasing in a few months the subtle beauty and disorder that took thirty years to ripen.


Brett Tracy
Additional information:


Dixie Square on The Atlas Obscura:

The country’s most well know dead mall, Dixie Square, is approaching the end of its thirty year life as a ruin. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently announced the allocation of $5 million to raze the 800,000 square-foot structure south of Chicago. Demolition is expected to begin next month.

“The Last Days of Dixie Square” seeks to document this final chapter in the mall’s history with digital photography, video, audio recordings and interviews. After Dixie Square’s final moments of stillness have given way to a cataclysm of falling brick and cinderblock, “Last Days” will be it’s visual and auditory eulogy.
Much loved by urban explorers, the site has been photographed regularly throughout its decomposition. In addition to producing new imagery, “Last Days” will function as a survey of creative work inspired by Dixie Square. Discrete photographic moments culled from the past, the collection will animate the disordering processes forced by human and non-human life forms and an unforgiving Midwestern climate.

Certain to be a contested symbol, the leveling of America’s first suburban mall is ripe with social and cultural implications. Simultaneously an architecture of loss and a feral garden of rebirth and renewal, the structure’s passing will spark celebration in some and lament in others. Through the lens of Dixie Square’s Last Day’s, we’ll examine the cultural motif of abandonment, the arc of our consumerist tradition, and the value of ruined space.

Rejecting the imperative of endless growth, Brett Tracy positions the human species at the beginning of its deindustrial phase. Using video and audio field recordings, Tracy reveals the glory and tragedy of a world built with phenomenal amounts of fossil energy and imagines the more human-scaled world to come.

“Last Days” endeavors to serve as a visual and auditory eulogy
Maybe no Trespassing.

The book

The prints

The tour

The interviews
Offer downloads link with each embedded vid.

If you’ve got the time, you can download a file nearly as high-resolution as the original uploaded file.

Writing gig

If I’d write about one thing full time it’d be this hotel. If anyone wants to push that thread…


Inside the unlocked or doorless doorways is a space beyond the language of design. Surprising and exotic textures and forms are visible within the faint remnants of the familiar commercial layouts of the 1970’s branded spaces. The interior lighting, natural, haphazard, and high contrast, brings full visibility to some spaces, while others remain occluded and mysterious, where senses other than sight are summoned to experience the space. A true manifestation of a deconstructed architecture, inside veneer exfoliates, panels peel, and drop ceilings drop. Holes appear, and spread, giving angular views of the structural layers.
This “dead” mall is actually more alive than many of its living counterparts: the building lives through its continuous transformation and integration with its surroundings. Visitors are free to interact with the space, to make modifications, adjustments, renovations, as they see fit, and to make it their own, if only for indefinate moments. Organic matter lives and thrives, especially in the random atriums formed by the partial roof collapses. Grids of floor tile are covered in carpets of moss, with flooded puddles, which resemble a landscape of forests and lakes seen from above, teasing one’s sense of scale and cartesian formality.

This is an inside out architecture, where full trees have reclaimed some of the interior space, breaking through the linoleum and the concrete floors, and where drifts of snow are free to migrate through the corridors as far as they can, and hallways become avenues of ice. Conversely, some of the interior materials have begun to spill out the service doors and other apertures, a belching of soaked drywall, carpet, mattresses, old appliances, display cabinets, bringing some of the inside out to the exterior spaces.

The half a dozen visits I made to the site during graduate school three years ago were both sensually and spiritually rewarding.

20-day campaign.
Forgive them. they know not what they do.
Extemporaneous speaking on the project—everything you can think of then edit it down. Your voice over the existing video images from the skate and zone edit Vimeo downloads.
Points to cover:

Length of abandonment—and tie in with length of life.

Previous work completed there

Tour—dark tourism--

Sound recordings

Plans to raze—cost—rehabilitate with big box

I’d like to show it’s value—where it lies—mourn its loss and preserve its memory/image.
Air-- $900


Large Prints: (40”x60” archival inkjet prints on Hahnemuhle photo rag bright white) $250 ($2,500)

DVD authoring—printed jacket—black on white—250: $600 ($2.36 per unit)

Books: 200 copies $3,000

Essay Commissions-- $300

multimedia disks—25 units @ $3.45—$260.00 (with printed wallet)

Kickstarter kickback-- $100

Funds will go toward the acquisition of a DSLR camera, transportation to and from Chicago, The printing of ten large-scale archival digital prints, the authoring of several hundred DVDs with printed jackets, the commission of essays, and the publishing of 200 copies of the “Last Days of Dixie Square” Book. You may email requesting a more detailed breakdown of funds allocation.

$9,000 Total

$1000 Lecture ?/?

$500 40”x60” archival prints 10/$5,000

$100 book/DVD/multimedia package 200/$20,000

$25 2 disk multimedia package/w 8”x10” print ?/?

$10 DVD ?/?

Project Timeline:

The documentation phase of “Last Days” will take place between November 1, 2010 and early December, encompassing Dixie Square’s last days of relative integrity and the first ten to twenty days of its four to six month demolition. Interviews will also be conducted during this time. Over the following four months, photographs will be processed, video edited, prints made and essays commissioned, culminating in a gallery exhibition the following spring. The “Last Days” book will be designed, printed, and distributed within a year of the initial documentation phase.

Dixie Square is an abandoned mall south of Chicago in the economically depressed town of Harvey Illinois. While currently still standing, the mall is slated to be demolished beginning in November.

Its exceptionally long life as a ruin, spanning over thirty years, has allowed Dixie Square to reach a rarely seen state of decomposition. This has given the mall its otherworldly atmosphere and an undeniable mystique.
“The Last Days of Dixie Square” is intended to be a visual and auditory eulogy for this unusual structure. I’d like to bear witness to its final days of stillness as well as the spectacle of its demolition.
The centerpiece of the project will be a book that showcases not only new images, but much of the creative work Dixie Square has already inspired—a sort of retrospective. It’ll also contain essays and interviews—decoding the meaning of the mall’s life and death.
In addition to the book, I’d like to do a walking tour of the site before the demolition begins. Video and audio recordings will accompany ten large format digital prints in a gallery exhibition this coming spring.
I encourage you to delve deeper into Dixie Square’s bizarre past, and to support this endeavor if you can. Thank you for watching.

The “Last Days” DVD is an assemblage of video work depicting the dead mall in glorious high-definition.

100% Cotton Hahnemühle Photo Rag with archival ink

Multimedia Package

A pair of data disks containing selections from the project’s digital output: ambient audio recordings, interviews, still images and movie files, much of it saved from the cutting room floor. This gift includes an 8”x10” print.

Using Dixie Square as exhibit A, the artist will discuss the value of ruined space, current trends in urban exploration, and the politics of allowing contemporary ruins to crumble at their own pace. The multimedia presentation will integrate video clips, audio recordings and still images. Transportation to anywhere in the lower 48 states is included in the package. Approximately one hour.

“The Last Days of Dixie Square” Book (Limited Run)
This extremely limited run (200 copies only) publication will be the project’s centerpiece: a hundred or so pages of color photographs, essays, interviews, and other reflections on the life of America’s most infamous “dead” mall. Photographs sourced from the past thirty years will trace its dramatic transformation, culminating in yet to be taken images of its swift violent end. This gift also includes the DVD and Multimedia package.


Large Archival Prints



Audio recordings/Interviews—binaural audio package

Edensor Quotes:
Rather than those spaces of ordered disorder, in which the carnivalesque is manufactured and the preferred disposition is a controlled decontrol of the emotions, ruins are spaces in which alternative emotions, senses, socialites, desires, and forms of expressiveness and speculation are provoked by their disorder and affordances.
there are no temporal restrictions that determine how long one should stay in any location, no curbs on loitering and lingering, and no conventions that prevent slow movement or stillness, fostering a freedom over spatial temporalities that can contrast with the fast world outside with its purposive directedness.
the stillness of ruins provokes a comparison with the fast urban world outside, full of urgent mobilities and social and industrial processes – which require perpetual inputs of energy to keep things efficiently ticking over to ensure profit maximization.

In ruins, instead of pre-arranged spectacles, the visual scene beheld is usually composed of no evident focal point but an array of apparently unrelated things. There are extraordinary and incomprehensible objects which are not commodities, indecipherable scrawls, obscure functions and sensations to assimilate. This decentering of visual order contrasts with the dominant aesthetic order of the city, for the smooth surfaces and tidy consignment of things to maintain preferred notions of attractiveness are absent in ruins. Through this aesthetic divergence, the disarray of ruins can promote an awareness of the constructedness of normative visual encodings and suggest that there are alternative ways of looking at space.

Both staying in the hostel, a Mexican girl and a German guy just made plans to meet up in New York. Then they hugged awkwardly and said goodnight. Should I warn them on your behalf?

Then there’s the tall black man Kenneth, with the possibly constructed identity. Insists he knows Denzell Washington, Spilke Lee—And John Legend. Has two advanced degrees. has photos with then—rather suspicious photos with blown out flash reflections like someone in the was holding a mirror while they were having they’re picture taken with spike lee on a cold day in Detroit. I’m not calling you a liar Kenneth but why are you making chicken in a hotel in Tucson and not a porn shoot in Westwood? That’s been a theme lately. and extensive scratching and graininess. He carries photocopies of press releases for a new film project
And the hostel briefly becomes a seniors hostel with 6 out of 7 seven guests over 55.

I was looking through quotes taken form corporate wasteland. At the end of the section was a note that Karla’s birthday was the 6th of October—Meaning, that I had roughly the same themes floating around in my head a year ago to the day.

Share with your friends:
1   ...   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   ...   37

The database is protected by copyright © 2019
send message

    Main page