Alan Berger – ‘Drosscape, Wasting Land in Urban America.’


I read a short essay from a book that was released to coincide with an exhibition for the  Fotomuseum Winterthur’s twentieth anniversary. Concrete: Photography and Architecture is an exhaustive investigation of architectural photography, and includes a short essay, Void/Density: Photography and the Representation of Urban Spaces by Nicoletta Leonardi. After reading this essay at the tail end of producing work for this project, I felt that her words were particularly informative and I could relate to the theory that she was referring to. It felt like this piece of writing was beginning to connect the dots in terms of my practical work, and the theory that I have been researching over the last couple of months. She talks about the expansion of cities and the effect of urban sprawl, and goes on to cite urban planner and landscape architect Alan Berger. He believes that “planned or unplanned horizontalisation around vertical urban centres are neither intrinsically bad nor good, but a natural result of industrial growth.” Berger has also coined the term ‘drosscape’ , which refers to the wasted or unused areas of defunct economic and industrial processes within old and new urban regions. These include “waste landscapes”, which are places that actually house actual waste; “wasted places”, such as abandoned sites and “wasteful places” such as huge car parks or shopping centres. Berger uses photography primarily as a research tool, and seeks to photograph such places from an aerial point of view. Therefore, I would not say that the imagery is particularly successful of artistic, but it serves its purpose as a research tool.



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