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Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | The Fragility of Dominion

Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | The Fragility of Dominion - Packard Motor Car Company
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Much of American society, the societies like ours, and those that preceded us, are based on ideas of ownership. To possess something, we claim control over it and rights to change it at will. Take a parcel of land as an example: if you own that land, you may modify it as you see fit, and do with it as you please. Already this notion is challenged by the government you find yourself under, which defines the parameters of your freedom of ownership via laws and building ordinances. Even beyond these laws, control and ownership is essentially entirely an illusion. You can't force trees and plants to grow on your land, and you can't order the water off of it if it floods. You hold no sway over the birds or animals or insects on this land, save for destroying them to erase things that could potentially dispute your will.

In essence, this is the root of what ownership is about: you subjugate a thing to make it produce the ends that you desire of it, and if it does not you have the right to use threat or force to enact your will. Thus the very notion of 'freedom' is at odds with the idea of a Capitalist society. Freedom under a Capitalist society is actually a system of tiers of ownership and not so very different from the Feudal System's lords, vassals, fiefs, and serfs.

The problem is that this dominion is fragile and constantly shifting. Because we are taught that acquisition equals accomplishment and power equals freedom, we must spend our time trying to either add to the stable of things that we own and control, or fight the outside forces that inevitably threaten to tear our control from us. Caught in this cycle, we have little time to devote to understanding or appreciating the things that are around us, or to make peace with the fact that all things in life come and go.

Imagine the time that was spent cleaning the windows and floors of these offices! At one time Packard was, as a company, essentially a feudal lord and these buildings were its castle. These offices, much like a royal bedchamber, would have been well maintained precisely as an indicator of the company's dominance. Certainly nobody that was in power there would have contemplated that within the span of a lifetime, the offices they worked in would look like this. What would their reason to push forward be, if that domination they exerted over the space would come to so little? Why bother with the headaches of maintaining ownership or control, if they are perpetually slipping from your grasp?

This is one of the inherent problems with the idea of ownership as an exertion of control rather than as a means of understanding: understanding can't be taken from you, but control always will be.
Packard Motor Car Company, Detroit MI. 2009

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences. Signed copies are available through my website, or you can find (unsigned) copies available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.

Photograph and text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.

Also in: Packard Motor Car Company

Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Falling From Favor
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Exterior Symmetry
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Water Tower Alley
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | was it a dream?
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Collapsed Rooftop Expanse
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Crumbling Rooftops
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Falling Truck
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Vanishing Point
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | the bullfighter
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Rooftop Panorama
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Elevated Bridge
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Shattered Aisle
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Graffiti
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Parallax
Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, MI) | Administration Stairwell