Future Ruins

[Image: From “Future Ruins” by Michelle Lord].

Over on Ballardian we read about a new project by artist Michelle Lord, called “Future Ruins.”
Lord writes: “Inspired by author J.G. Ballard’s literary visions of modernist architectural design and his prophetic views on the technological demise of the urban environment, Future Ruins is a photographic critique of the urban planning of the 1970s and Ballard’s novels of the same period.”

[Image: From “Future Ruins” by Michelle Lord].

“Set against a backdrop of Birmingham’s few remaining concrete structures such as Spaghetti Junction, Central Library and New Street Station signal box,” Lord continues, “Future Ruins aims to highlight the temporality of our landscape, particularly at a time when Birmingham has embarked on a process of regeneration in order to redefine itself.”

Familiar architectural locations around the city take on the appearance of evacuated spaces occupied by strange, carefully arranged structures, built from the technological detritus of abandoned television sets, cars, computers and domestic appliances.

The show is on display until June 23, as part of the UK’s 2007 Architecture Week.
Lord, meanwhile, is also the artist behind “Four Corners,” a photographic exploration of “fictional space.”
According to the 24 Hour Museum: “The images featured in Four Corners tell the tale of a woman who becomes alienated from the room she occupies as it takes on a strange life of its own. Furniture defies gravity and ghostly figures emerge from the shadows in the dreamlike chamber depicted, understandably giving our subject the creeps as her room appears to transform itself.”

(For those of you who like this sort of thing, Ballardian actually interviewed me about architecture, urban design, and the novels of J.G. Ballard, back in November).

8 thoughts on “Future Ruins”

  1. These pictures remind me of the sculptures at the end of each episode of Tim Hunkins’ excellen series ‘The Secret Life of Machines’. Particularly the washing machines episode for obvious reasons but also the stone henge made out of wrecked cars at the end of the car episiode.


  2. Interestingly, the sculptures here are cobbled with objects designed for containing –the television and the program ; the washer/dryer and the clothes (even the parking garage in the background). Yet what is as hollow as these sculptures are the contained things, themselves. The television programs discarded, dated and unseen ; the colors on the clothes stored or bagged and donated. Like broken electricity they diffuse into the world, withdrawing to corners unseen

  3. Those stacks remind me of something earlier and contemporary with Ballard’s classic works, some of the structures seen in Spike Milligan’s bitter post-apocalypse comedy The Bed-Sitting Room. Directed by Richard Lester and well-worth a look.

  4. Having grown up in Birmingham with these structures literally on my horizon I am finding that Michelles photographs induce something of a sense of nostalgia in me. The city has become a consumers utopia with all roads leading to Selfridges and the old concrete labyrinth has taken on the status of dream memory and myth at least in my imagination. For me this work is not a criticism but a celebration of our recent history.

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