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I think there’s an interesting aesthetic sensibility to the “ruin” and “decay” that’s also worth exploring; I’m thinking here of all of the things that we design to “look” ruined, from the jump; a sort of nod to a baroque artistic sensibility that reifies a “time before the fall” with its attendant conservative appeal. As a southerner I think about this in relation to “Lost Cause” imagery and monuments that litter the south, and the genre of the “southern Gothic”—which subverts this mythic vision of the past, instead drawing attention to the festering moral depravity that persists in the present; the images of ruined plantations and landscapes overtaken by kudzu metaphorically summoning the rotten bones of society shaped by slaveholding. (Faulker’s A Rose For Emily might be a particularly compelling reference re: southern gothic lit/ the motif of decay).
A the same time, interesting to think about how the “weathered” look signals, very much speaking to our own bourgeois sensibilities, something like authenticity. We want to go to a cafe that feels “lived in”—rather than the sanitized corporate spaces of a Starbucks or a Waffle House.
As an aside, @N_Kulick —Don’t miss our matinee next week! One of the films we’re gonna watch together deals explicitly with themes of decay. Would love to chat with you there! https://community.ecodesigncollective.org/event/tide-pool-social-eco-film-matinee-online/