Unsettling Photos Of Irish Ghost Housing Developments

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In some places in Ireland there are housing developments that stand like lonely sentries, waiting for people who never come. Valérie Anex’s series “Ghost Estates, Ireland, 2011” captures these eerie non-residences and their all but unused communal spaces.

The National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis NIRSA defines a ghost estate as a development of ten houses or more in which fifty per cent or less of homes are occupied or completed. In October 2010, according to official estimates, there were 2846 ghost estates and more than 350 000 vacant homes throughout the Republic of Ireland.

Even completed and populated these estates would be odd Stepford-like places, with their rows of identical buildings spreading across the countryside. Lived in, though, they would adapt and change, influenced by their residents. Landscaping, additions, a new front door color— eventually the sameness of the buildings would subside. Empty, though, the monotony is numbing. Anex’s photos are stark and documentary in style. The repetition of the house forms, a superfluous real-life copy and paste, benefit from their pragmatic composition. Anex doesn’t rely on fancy tricks or filters to evoke the paralysis of these places—the empty eyed windows and rubble-strewn lawns become increasingly disturbing with each image in the series.

These empty shells are eyesores for the locals in these small towns. The crisis is affecting the country – unemployment, debts, budget cuts, flights of capital investments – but it is also shaping its landscape. Bitter memories left by the spectral and temporary nature of the property boom in Ireland, ghost estates are the symbol of the property market’s collapse, a topology of the economic disintegration of the country.

There are some residents in these ghost estates, though Anex has chosen not to include them in her photos. Tana French’s chilling 2013 novel, Broken Harbor, is set in such a place. In that book, madness and murder and awful fear take place among the mostly empty and unfinished houses of an Irish ghost estate. Looking at these photos, it doesn’t seem a stretch. It can’t be comfortable to live in such a place, with unfinished houses and absent lives. (via Slate)

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Precious Dioramas Built Inside Tiny Sardine Cans

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Packed within the four walls of a tiny 6 by 10 centimeter sardine can, the miniature characters created by sculptor Nathalie Alony for her project Home Sweet Home are both humorous and poignant. Arranged in a massive grid, the artist’s sardine can dioramas serve as a metaphor for the confined apartments in which we nest. These intricate figurines—men, women, children, beloved pets—each exist within the limits of their aluminum enclosure, building complex family and personal universes that seem to operate independently of the outside world. Despite the isolation of each piece, together Alony’s cans form a complex network that wakes and rests as a unified community, separated only by thin, delicate metal.

Like strange dollhouses, these precious sardine can apartments allow us to navigate and to find meaning in the rituals of domestic life. Much of the action portrayed here is banal: the routine laundering of children’s clothes, the checking off of days on a calendar, the painting of walls. When seen in miniature, intricately rendered by the artist’s masterful hands, mundane home improvement tasks become endlessly enthralling. Here, we can be voyeurs in the most innocent sense, entering the intimate confines of the homes of others with tender curiosity.

Alony’s brilliant little worlds capture the lonesomeness of modern living; seeing the fourth aluminum wall pulled back to reveal precious, private lives, we yearn for a similar intimacy in real life. A home, carved out lovingly from a tiny industrial box, contains all the secrets and wonders of families that are not our own. What goes on in the cherished homes of others? (via Junk Culture and Lost at E Minor)

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Laurent Chehere’s Flying Houses In Paris Suburbs

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Even in his commercial work French photographer Laurent Chehere clearly has a creative and curious eye for his surroundings.  An avid traveler, Chehere enjoys exploring the cities he visits.  This becomes especially evident in his series Flying Houses.  The series contains a number of photographs of floating buildings.  The buildings seem otherwise ordinary, perhaps tethered by power lines, quietly floating in the sky.  Chehere achieved the effect by taking photographs of buildings throughout the suburbs of Paris and digitally manipulating them.  A gallery statement  (translated from French) from a recent solo exhibit explains Chehere’s inspiration for the series:

“The artist isolates buildings from their urban context and frees them from their stifling environment. Houses fly in the clouds, like kites. Inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris and the famous short film The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, Laurent Chéhère walked the districts of Belleville and Ménilmontant gazing at their typical houses. The images of the artist seize an unexpected levitation: held to the ground by unseen hands, like so many balloons used by the boy, these old buildings floating in the sky, sliding on the surface, they reveal to us their hidden beauty. Some houses are adorned with drying laundry or flower pots, outweigh other brands and shops fleeing the flames of a fire … All seem to find a second life. Uprooted from their hometown, they go to new heights. It’s a true invitation to travel and metaphor for the transience of the world, Flying Houses Laurent Chéhère’s series plunges us into a dreamlike and changing world full of gaiety and humor.”

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Ambitious Two Year Street Art Project Tackles Suburbia

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Ian Strange: SUBURBAN from Ian Strange [KID ZOOM] on Vimeo.

Australian artist Ian Strange‘s ambitious project two year in the making is difficult to pin down.  SUBURBAN isn’t quite installation, photography, performance, or video art – its really more than all of these.  The project is really Ian Strange’s investigation of and interaction with the idea of suburbia.  The sidewalk, front yard, middle class, ubiquitous rows of homes have grown with a generation of young people, and now with a second and third.  The neighborhoods and houses themselves have become symbols of something beyond their function that Strange’s work seems to seek and find.  Check out the video to get a preview of the upcoming exhibit.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Reds

 

Want to see what kind of music video a bit of creativity and $200,a two car garage,  soldering iron, handmade clay molds, christmas lights, and no CGI can produce? If so watch this great promo video for  Reds by Houses directed by LAMAR+NIK after the jump!

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