Region/Concept: Europe, Space
Sub-Concepts: Corrosion, Debris, Desolation, Apocalypse
Description: Former Soviet submarine bases continue to stand and haunt despite being abandoned.

What are the exact properties behind this elegant work of desolation: i.e. the complex array of colors, textures, and shapes that emerge only in the wake of deserted and rusting edifices? An entire poetics of debris and decay have taken hold here, as each evacuated underground structure or broken particle sits ready to transmit their two important messages: 1) that the world of objects will always outlast the world of subjects (the inhuman is superior to man); 2) that there is no death, only the dying (the absolute is subordinated to the interminable process). Beyond the last remaining trace of functionality or relevance, these discarded spaces and contraptions speak to the terrible endurance of things. Carnivalesque. Undefeated. No architect remains, no blueprint or creative origin…only the generative matrix of corrosion into which uninvited forms shoot and perish over expanses of time. Not just dystopian echoes of failed utopias, but rather ongoing habitats of insane and chilling atmospheric turns. Thus they retain their investment in the Open. And this powerful state of aftermath compels us to rethink the very concept of apocalypse itself: for these hollowed-out subterranean bases are not quite signs of the “post-apocalyptic” (since it is not clear that we have in fact passed some definitive threshold of extinguishment), nor of the “pre-apocalyptic” (since it is not clear, given our technologies of prolongation and artificial immortality, that we even still have the capacity to die or end). Instead, we find in these wasteland chambers the evidence of something without totality or destination, and thus far more daunting: that is, an endless procession of the apocalyptic.


Jason Mohaghegh