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Beautiful terrible ruins : Detroit and the anxiety of decline

Author: Dora Apel
Publisher: New Brunswick, New Jersey : Rutgers University Press, [2015]
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Apel shows how Detroit has become pivotal to an expanding network of ruin imagery that speaks to the overarching anxieties of our era: increasing poverty, declining wages and social services, inadequate health care, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological disaster - in short, the failure of capitalism."
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Genre/Form: Art
History
In art
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Dora Apel
ISBN: 9780813574073 0813574072 9780813574066 0813574064
OCLC Number: 893557826
Description: xiv, 210 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction : Modernity in ruins --
Ruin terrors and pleasures --
Fear and longing in Detroit --
Urban exploration: beauty in decay --
Detroit ruin images: where are the people? --
Looking for signs of resurrection --
Surviving in the post-apocalyptic landscape --
Conclusion : Your town tomorrow.
Responsibility: Dora Apel.
More information:

Abstract:

"Apel shows how Detroit has become pivotal to an expanding network of ruin imagery that speaks to the overarching anxieties of our era: increasing poverty, declining wages and social services, inadequate health care, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological disaster - in short, the failure of capitalism."

Once the manufacturing powerhouse of the nation, Detroit has become emblematic of failing cities everywhere--the paradigmatic city of ruins--and the epicenter of an explosive growth in images of urban decay. In Beautiful Terrible Ruins, art historian Dora Apel explores a wide array of these images, ranging from photography, advertising, and television, to documentaries, video games, and zombie and disaster films. Apel shows how Detroit has become pivotal to an expanding network of ruin imagery, imagery ultimately driven by a pervasive and growing cultural pessimism, a loss of faith in progress, and a deepening fear that worse times are coming. The images of Detroit's decay speak to the overarching anxieties of our era: increasing poverty, declining wages and social services, inadequate health care, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological disaster--in short, the failure of capitalism. Apel reveals how, through the aesthetic distancing of representation, the haunted beauty and fascination of ruin imagery, embodied by Detroit's abandoned downtown skyscrapers, empty urban spaces, decaying factories, and derelict neighborhoods help us to cope with our fears. But Apel warns that these images, while pleasurable, have little explanatory power, lulling us into seeing Detroit's deterioration as either inevitable or the city's own fault, and absolving the real agents of decline--corporate disinvestment and globalization. Beautiful Terrible Ruins helps us understand the ways that the pleasure and the horror of urban decay hold us in thrall.--Publisher website.

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"Theoretically sophisticated yet accessible to general readers, Beautiful Terrible Ruins offers a marvelous model for interpretive work focused on the intersections of politics and aesthetics." Read more...

 
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