A future for Hashima: pornography, representation and time

Lavery, Carl and Hassall, Lee (2015) A future for Hashima: pornography, representation and time. Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, 20 (3). pp. 112-125. ISSN 1352-8165

17763 Lavery and Hassall 20 3 On Ruins 1June15.pdf
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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


This article sets out to investigate the relationship between ruins, futurity, and ‘ruin porn’ - a visual mode of representation that all too often seeks to fix post-industrial ruins as mere aesthetic objects, devoid of history and/or temporality. It does so by focusing on performance, which, in this context, is understood as a processual mode of art-making that provides spectators with an experience of time. In this expanded definition of performance, as one may perhaps expect, the performativity of the object is not limited to the theatrical event alone; rather, it now inheres in sometimes uncanny durational aspects of both still and moving images. The essay proceeds in three stages. Part one provides a historical and theoretical overview of the type of performance inherent in ‘ruin porn’; part two critiques two images from Yves Marchand's and Romain Meffre's Gunkanjima (2013), a photo album that attempted to document the ruins of Hashima, an island situated 15 kilometres from Nagasaki City in the East China Sea; and part three investigates the very different aesthetic at work in Lee Hassall's film Return to Battleship Island (2013) which was made in response to AHRC- funded project, ‘The Future of Ruins: Reclaiming Abandonment and Toxicity on Hashima Island’ (2013). In this reading of Return to Battleship Island , the onus is on showing how Hassall's film, in its representation of Hashima's crumbling apartment blocks and industrial buildings, intentionally sought to contest the atemporal logic of ‘ruin porn’ by attempting to endow the viewing experience with a sense of futurity. Crucially, this does not mean that film represented the future as an object, but, on the contrary, tried to make it palpable, as something one undergoes physically in the very act of reception.

Additional Information:Special Issue: On Ruins and Ruination
Keywords:Art, Performance and Ruins, bmjgoldcheck, NotOAChecked
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
W Creative Arts and Design > W310 Musicianship/Performance studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Fine Arts)
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ID Code:17763
Deposited On:30 Jun 2015 09:12

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