‘Ruin Porn’ in Detroit

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  01.24.11 | 2:13 PM ET

In Guernica, John Patrick Leary takes a look at a couple of new books that depict Detroit’s empty urban landscape and ponders the broader trend they’re a part of.

So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city. And to see oneself portrayed in this way, as a curiosity to be lamented or studied, is jarring for any Detroiter, who is of course also an American, with all the sense of self-confidence and native-born privilege that we’re taught to associate with the United States.

(Via The Daily Dish)


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.


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