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blog#5.12

After Day Zero, which happens about a decade into our future, humanity discovers that it only has a few hundred day left to live before fragments of the Moon start bombarding the planet and turn it into a fiery hellscape. So the world’s governments, engineers, and an Elon Musk-esque space entrepreneur get together to try to turn the International Space Station into the centerpiece of a massive “swarm” of spacecraft that will hold a couple thousand humans and keep them safe for the next 5,000 years while the Moon carpet-bombs Earth.

Above, you can see what eventually happens to the Endurance, one of the spacecraft launched in the frantic years before what the characters call the “hard rain” of Moon fragments. It’s been joined to the old space station, radiation shielded with a massive chunk of ice chipped off of a nearby asteroid, and it’s basically running for its life out of the burning Earth’s gravity well.

The New South China Mall

Tuesday, 01 December 2015 by
blog#6

The New South China Mall in Guangdong Province opened in 2005. With 5 million square feet of shopping area, the mall can accommodate 2,350 stores, making it the largest shopping center in the world in terms of leasable space — more than twice the size of the Mall of America, the biggest shopping center in the United States. At the outdoor plaza, hundreds of palm trees blend in with a replica Arc de Triomphe, a giant Egyptian Sphinx, fountains, and extensive canals with gondolas.

The only problem is that the mall is virtually deserted. Despite the bombastic design and grand plans, only a handful of stores are occupied. Walking among shattered shops, with dusty corridors and escalators covered in soiled sheets, is like a walk through a ghost mall. Rubbish is piled up along the sides, paint is coming off of the walls, and store signs and advertisements have faded. The mall’s indoor amusement park staff lay half asleep over counters, or kill time chatting with each other, while the 1,814 foot roller coaster roars above.

Sci Fi Structures (Yugoslavia)

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 by
blog#7

These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles had taken place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinjača), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živkovi ć, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković… ), conveying a powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. In the 1980s, these monuments attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their “patriotic education.” After the Republic dissolved in early 1990s, they were completely abandoned and their symbolic meanings were forever lost.

From 2006 to 2009, Kempenaers toured around the ex-Yugoslavian region (now Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.) with the help of a 1975 map of memorials, presenting before our eyes a series of melancholy yet striking images. His photos raise a question: can these former monuments continue to exist as pure sculptures? On the one hand, their physically dilapidated condition and institutional neglect reflect a more general social and historical fracturing.