Ruins of the Future – An Extract

Ruins and Futurity

Waste Effects

An extended version of this post appears in Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste, ed. John Scanlan & J. F. M. Clark (Cambridge Scholars, 2013) pp. 141-162.

If waste is taken to denote change, a coming to be by having been, then the anticipation of ruins mark out the present as the condition of the future. One of the narratological effects of imagining the present in a ruined condition is the strong emphasis that this places on ruins’ relation to the present and the dynamic vigour of ending. As a form of waste, the ruin is both an end and a continuity, both the end to use and the muted remainder of that activity. Whilst future ruins frequently suggest the termination of some time, people or structure, there is a lingering or remaining sense of time, a time that is particular to the condition of being ‘leftover’. This…

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