Exploration MSS3 Fall 2021

Disappearing Site

chapter 4. site of disappearance

The Neverending story / ‘Well, the way it began was like this. One day Lake Foamingbroth wasn’t there anymore – it was gone. See?’ ‘You mean it dried up?’ Gluckuk inquired. ‘No,’ said the will-o-the-wisp. ‘Then there’d be a dried up lake. But there isn’t. Where the lake used to be there’s nothing – absolutely nothing. Now do you see?’ […] ‘Wait a minute,’ the rock chewer crackled. ‘Was it only this one place?’ ‘At first, yes,’ the will-o’-the-wisp explained. […] It usually started with just a little chunk, no bigger than a partridge egg. But then these chunks got bigger and bigger.’ (Ende, 1979, p. 25-26)

Disappearing site / Some would perhaps say that change is inevitable. That a city must evolve with the times. That the new is exciting and good. For others the change is just like the nothing in the Neverending Story, a strange force, that after it has swept through leaves a hole in the urban fabric in which nothing remains.

chapter 5. Cycle of destruction and rebuilding

The Neverending story / He held out his hand and felt she was putting something into it. Something very small but strangely heavy. It was very cold and felt hard and dead. ‘What is it, Moon Child?’ ‘A grain of sand,’ she replied. ‘All that’s left of my boundless realm. […] No, it’s not a grain of sand, it’s a seed. It’s a luminous seed and it’s starting to sprout. […] The seed sprouted so quickly that one could see it grow. It put forth little leaves and a stem and buds that burst into many-colored, phosphorescent flowers. (Ende, 1979, p. 236)

Disappearing site / If buildings are just matter and energy in flux the plaster on the facade of the building will eventually become rubble, which will become dust, which will return to the earth and with pressure and time become part of the layers of sand in the earth. However this particular piece of rubble, in this exact composition, can never be the same again. With the original context of the building gone the rubble becomes an artifact of memory which encapsulates and represents traces of the past.

chapter 6. mine of memories
Excavation map

The Neverending story / He followed the miner to the shaft and got into the pit cage with him. Together they rode down into the mine. […] On this first day and several that followed, the miner, by wordlessly guiding Bastian’s hand, instructed him in the art of separating the paper-thin leaves of isinglass from one another and picking them up. […] he lay in the dark depths of Fantasticas foundations, patiently digging for a forgotten dream, a picture that might lead him to the Water of Life. (Ende, 1979, p. 483-484)

Disappearing site / If we view the site of demolition as a mine – whatever rubble and dirt can be found suddenly becomes geological treasure to be excavated. Each object or artifact becomes loaded with meaning. A piece of a steel beam tells a tale of previous load bearing constructions. Remnants of gypsum on the facade – becomes a piece of art in itself. If only you let it.

chapter 7. site of remembrance

Disappearing site / By recognizing that without a past – you can’t have a future, it becomes possible to imagine a different development for the site. One which is closer to a symbiotic relationship with nature, that returns the site to the earth. A statement against endless exhaustion of resources. A statement where rubble and trash from the demolition site becomes art.

A site of remembrance for what has disappeared.

Book cover_end

One reply on “Disappearing Site”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *