world’s least interesting museum?

rooms of mirrors I was in Germany a couple of weeks ago. Among Dortmund’s attractions are the German Occupational Health and Safety Exhibition. (DASA) Their website sells it thus:

“The concept of the exhibition is not geared towards displaying technical innovation from a futurist perspective. Nor is priority given to the issues of labour market policy. More importance is given to the question raised on how to safeguard key human values such as health, dignity, well-being and participation in society, in view of the foreseeable developments in the world of work from the occupational safety and health point of view.”

We didn’t go. Maybe next time.

abandoned places

Everybody likes a good ruin, but the ones we usually value tend to be old, ancient civilisations, runied abbeys. But the 20th century has given us more abandoned places than any other, the cycles of innovation, industry and obsolesence leaving us with ruins in and around our cities, empty and crumbling, foreboding and locked away. I find such places fascinating.

So does Tim Edensor, my old university lecturer, who wrote a book on the subject.

His eloquent and thought provoking take on industrial ruins is online too, in writing and in photography, here and here.

“As spaces by the side of the road, ruins can be explored for effects that talk back to the quest to create an impossibly seamless urban fabric, to the uses to which history and heritage are put, to the extensive over-commodification of places and things, to middle-class aesthetics, and to broader tendencies to fix meanings in the service of power.”