The Eye of the Hurricane
Posted: 09th October 2015
Viewed individually, I suppose it's possible to say 'all things must pass', even in response to the largest of abandoned places. Maybe the elements of romanticism and nostalgia inherent in ruins blind people to their actuality. Maybe we look at the history of sites like this to avoid looking at the present, and speak of preservation as though it can somehow restore a semblance of order to all of the losses we are sustaining, like a mortician putting makeup on a corpse during the midst of a terrible plague.
Still, I don't see how it is possible not to connect the dots with these places. To me, they are the eye of a hurricane, the effects of a society spinning so quickly that its own mass and weight are pulling it apart. How does one dismiss an examination of that evidence, in this case collected and ordered like exhibits at a trial, and somehow abstract it into idle entertainment? I admit that explorers are as much to blame for this as anyone, in that we are reveling in the spectacle of the maw of oblivion gaping before us. Still, can there be any question that there is a massive and fundamental failing in the very foundations of our entire culture when you take into account the legions of explicit indicators in our midst?
This is the Packard Motor Car Company. It's 35 acres, or 3.5 million square feet. One day it will be gone, but for now it sits out in the open like a challenge, a dare to prove that this is not the way things really are. Every year more of Packard burns, or is scrapped, and nothing is done about it, to the point where restoration is no longer an option. The whole thing has to be destroyed to start over. It was more than just a physical space to me, just as this photograph is more than just an image of an event that transpired. When I look at Packard, I see the end - not just of the plant, or of myself. It is the death of our way of life, and rather than a reminder of the past it is an omen of things to come.
Image and text by Matthew Christopher. For more photographs from Packard follow this link. If you're interested in more Abandoned America blogs, follow this link. If you enjoy my writing, check out my books: Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream (Amazon / Barnes & Noble) or Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Signed copies).
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