I Want To Curate Rot

  In this museum – otherwise known as a shuttered regional hospital – a special room is dedicated to the science of deterioration. Enter this glass-framed exhibition space and you can admire an astonishing specimen of wall decomposition with its characteristic folds of drooping paint. Stay as long as you like, the show will only

Three Doors, Three Years

  Above, the upper floor of a mental hospital building as seen in December 2006. Below are the same three doors in December 2007 (top) and December 2008. The green door took a hit; otherwise there are surprisingly few changes, even though this area no longer has a roof. If it’s still possible to return


  In this formerly communist-run hospital, a soldier guards a dilapidated fuse box. It’s unclear whose side he’s on; maybe he’s just trying to protect himself from falling paint chips. In the meantime, a power outlet has been conquered further down the hall.     But an even more subtle infiltration can be seen in

Revisiting the Ostwall

  The last visit to the Ostwall — an underground fortification system in Poland built by the Nazis to defend against a Russian invasion — was so impressive that it was high time to return. Germany began building the system in 1935 with a planned length of around 80 miles (second only to the Maginot

Mall of the Apocalypse

  Apparently the zombies already rolled through here a few years ago, when this site was used as the set of a horror flick. So the worst has passed. Instead of an unattractive, flesh-eating mob of cadavers, which would seem the most appropriate life form here, all that can now be expected are the ghosts

Miniature Ruins

  The setting is “Splendid China”, a shuttered theme park in the South. Long before the Bird’s Nest, this leisure park was designed to introduce Americans to the delights of Chinese architecture. To that end, little replicas of buildings and monuments were scattered across the grounds. The workmanship of China, made in the USA, is

Reading Gary

    In the great heap of architectural detritus that makes up downtown Gary, Indiana, this small abandoned structure did not immediately seem striking. Marked “East Side Branch Library”, it sits amidst burnt-out houses and is itself entirely gutted. But I thought that my friend Gayle, who works at the New York Public Library and

Buried in the Woods

  Recent talk about how to commemorate the patient cemetery of Western State Hospital, where patients were buried for 160 years with only a number on their tombstones, once again calls attention to the sporadic dehumanization of the mentally ill. In this case, among other things, the separation of a body from its name. Burying


... this travelogue

Explorations and ruminations about time capsules near and far, with an eye towards the structures, textures and playgrounds of decay. A companion blog for darkpassage.com.

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