I took the photograph "Military Detritus" at an abandoned munitions depot bunker near Tustin, California. I have included it as part of a VTS photo essay for several reasons. First, from the perspective of composition, the image embodies a paradox found at the core of toxicity at a structural level; namely the layered order of intrinsic violence rendered through institutional infrastructures. The photo is of a crumbling, weathered and abandoned bunker, but the wooden beams pull the frame into a sort of geometry that implies order.
I also chose this image for its affective qualities. Specifically I am interested in the ways people use ruination like the kind on display here to catalyze their own haunting narratives, personal histories that intersect and diverge with the normalized stories of place, space, and class. However, I hypothesize that the intention for engaging nuanced representations of late industrial decay is alinear, and comes from a space of affective immanence rather than simply holding on to waning memories of power, stability, and success.
McGrath, Andrew. 2018. "Military Detritus" in California Urbex and Labor, created by Andrew McGrath. In Visualizing Toxic Subjects Digital Exhibit, curated by James Adams and Kim Fortun. Center for Ethnography. March.