Art in Urban Exploration Nov16

Art in Urban Exploration...

Some people are discovering a new hobby, one that is slowly being revealed through recent media attention, and it is called urban exploration. Some readers may already know about this pastime through such shows as Discovery Channel’s Urban Explorers or other media sources that cover it from different angles, including the hip and horrific potentials for such expeditions. Urban exploration is like hiking or spelunking, except it focuses on the man-made world of industrialized environments. Explorers get into abandoned ruins, underground passages, or rarely traversed areas of cities in order to experience the raw, man-made environment which is often in a state of decay, neglect or exclusion from mainstream society. This kind of exploration opens up a vast amount of possibility for historical documentation and of course for artistic expression. Responsible urban explorers are careful not to trespass on private property where they are not welcome, but there is still a rush of adrenaline in wandering through a city’s ruins that cannot be denied. Explorers also need to be extremely careful with physical safety in decrepit environments as they uncover the underbelly of our societal structures, then reveal it, primarily through photographs. The motto of most urban explorers is, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.” This phrase is a common philosophy of modern hikers in the natural world, but the urban explorer adopts it for his or her own ethical platform as well. Controversy about public safety is of course high and that’s part of what makes urban exploration alluring for some. Art has always pushed the boundaries of what is culturally acceptable and this undertaking is no different. Those artists who explore an urban landscape are primarily photographers. They capture the emotional thrill of ‘infiltration,’ a word...