23 April 2010

Rasterized Forensic Bits of Decay


Damage fetishism ∕ Erosion ∕ Miscellanea ∕ Urban Environment

This caught my eye, cycling up Brunnenstraße in Wedding. Mosaics that appeared as surfaces of urban forensics, as rasterized samples of use and abuse, with each cavity the discrete recording of an incident or event of applied impact or abrasion, much like a punched card of an early computer.  I quickly felt reassured by the proliferation of incidents at pedestrian levels.  But what about the ones higher up the column, out of human reach? Already, these hermeneutics were beginning to crumble.


decay bitmap wedding

Was it thermal expansion by sunlight?  On the east, a clustering of events along the left edge seemed to confirm this. Thermal differentials of materials – cooled by night, then heated by the morning sun – were perhaps here the highest. The southern surface showed a much more uniform distribution of incidents, with a more gradual increase in surface temperatures before exposure to the sun. Inward surfaces without direct solar exposure displayed no incidents.

The observed increase in events at human height between the aluminum profiles is attributed to the frequent posting and removal of bills.

decay bitmap collaged_900


One response to Rasterized Forensic Bits of Decay

  1. CD

    I think your analysis is pretty tight, but there may be more … In the upper reaches of both sides, why are there more tiles missing from the outer edges, especially on the left-hand side of the east-facing side? Perhaps the wind, rain, snow and ice play a bigger role than simply thermal differences. Does the winter wind whip more quickly around the outer corners, triggering lower temperatures and more water/ice erosion? Does this explain why the outer edge of the eastern side, exposed to the harshest wind direction, is most damaged of all?