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intentional camera movement

I took an overnight train from Boston to Cleveland just to spend 24 hours there (less, actually!) to see a Picasso exhibit before catching another overnight train back. So what do you do in the middle of the night while trying to stay awake to catch a train?


Well, night photography is a good bet if you're a shutterbug. Helps too, if it's your first time in town and the city has a landmark you admire (actually behind a contemporaneous hotel, photo midground). That's Terminal Tower in the background, Cleveland's old Art Deco gem of a train station, now a mall and office complex. Sadly, intercity trains no longer use the building although you can still see fixtures along the former platforms. Plans were to have the light rail stop there (it now does). While I'm saddened that the interior has been altered into a mall, I then think of Detroit's Michigan Central terminal, or Buffalo's Union Station (not to mention the long gone New York Penn Station) and sigh: mallification is better than abandonment -- not to mention, destruction.


The foreground building is a contemporary of the station, a great old hotel from the days when every station had a hotel across the street. Film scan of glorious Kodak HIE infrared film, dust removed using Gimp. Downtown Cleveland, TS-E 24mm.


The sharp-eyed will notice that I'm standing in the street to take this -- with a shift lens, no less! (Focus, meter, shift, tweak focus, shoot, wait for exposure). In the ballpark of 20 seconds at f/11. Had to time it between traffic lights: wait for light and break in traffic, run to middle of the lane, plonk down tripod, level, focus, shift, time exposure, run back,...repeat!

Today, two Scoop NYC stores - Scoop Street and Scoop Kids - occupy the space once home to the legendary underground nightclub MOTHER

The current location of Scoop stores - Scoop Street and Scoop Kids. In the 1990's it was the home of the legendary underground night club MOTHER. See what this view looked like a week after the closing of MOTHER in June 2000.



by Purvis -


The process in North America by which formerly glorious farms, fields, woods, swamps, shorelines, and deserts become identical, anonymous, uninspiring suburban shopping and residential districts featuring disgusting acres of concrete parking lots and chain stores. Mallification also entails the destruction of urban areas and urban vitality and its replacement with suburban conformity and uniformity as resources shift from the city to the suburb to the fringe. The consequences for the environment, for culture, and for democracy itself are immense and tragic.


Mallification seems to be an inevitable consequence of Neoliberal economic policy, especially when combined with not so Neoliberal government programs that encourage it, such as subsidies to the oil and automobile industries combined with drastic cuts in public transportation and city services, the dumping of all social problems on central cities, and insisting that Interstate Highways be built right through the middle of cities dividing and destroying everything in their path.


Mallification is essentially the story of the great geographic and cultural transition of the past 40 years. Initial suburbs in America were bedroom communities. People lived there but worked and shopped in central cities. Beginning in the late 50s, a few large shopping centers, accessible only by car, were built around a few major cities. A notable development was Northland Mall, at that time on the outskirts of Detroit, today firmly within the much expanded ghetto. These shopping centers, although small by today's standards, were epic for their time, and given the ironic name 'malls,' invoking the commercial free public parkland of small towns and cities that they were coming to replace as 'public' space. A new pattern of life was established. Other retail development followed in the suburbs, especially after the flight from central cities that took place in the late 60s and early 70s.


However, the true Mallification of America came about in the 80s, as urban decay became an urban holocaust under Reagan-era economic policies. Now all development was taking place in the suburbs. Huge glass and grass office parks became the new locus of economic life, sidewalk-free residential subdivisions sprung up everywhere and obliterated everything in their path, and larger and larger malls and shopping centers, now enclosed and featuring trees and waterfalls - replicas of the nature they were destroying - proliferated. New roads and highways were built to alleviate the traffic congestion that now plagued the endless suburbs, only to become congested themselves as more cars traveling farther each day entered the fray. Mallification spread from suburbs of large cities to small towns everywhere, replacing 'main street' businesses with Wal-Mart style chain stores on the outskirts of town. The shopping center had become the center of public life and human contact. Consumption of goods had become the primary - actually the only - way to interact with society.


In the 90s, Mallification continued its relentless march. The new culture of consumption to the exclusion of everything else was buoyed by an economic bubble. Malls, cars, houses, and highways got even bigger. Even 'revitalization' in central cities became just another version of Mallification, replacing local businesses that served the community with tourist oriented chain stores that served outsiders - a notable example of this being Times Square in New York City.


Mallification leads to environmental destruction in two ways: the greatly increased automobile travel and destruction of formerly rural or wild places. It compromises culture by replacing authentic, local experiences and interactions, not to mention locally owned institutions, with scripted pre-fab experiences determined in far off board rooms and focus groups. And perhaps most dangerous for America, it compromises democracy by replacing tr

‘Urban Classes and Politics in the Neo-Liberal Era: Turkey in Comparative Perspective,’ Bozazici University, Istanbul, 22 October 2010. Since neo-liberalism and integration into global capitalism began 30 years ago, Turkey has experienced processes similar to other regions: austerity, social polarization and rising inquality, the rise of new high-consumption middle classes and transnational capitalists, the "mallification" of commerce, financial speculation, etc.

Today, two Scoop NYC stores - Scoop Street and Scoop Kids - occupy the space once home to the legendary underground nightclub MOTHER. See what it looked like in 2000.

Just down the street from the Electric Bar. Back in the day this walkway was a real street called Linden Avenue, and it must have been hopping. This block that emptied into Electric Avenue was turned into a pedestrian mall when deindustrialization started to take hold, at the same time the fad for urban mallification hit many American cities. Today it is a ghost town.

These little envelope graffiti things are pretty cute. Also, notice how all the stores in 1070 are closed or closing. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of Vienna. Mallification is thoroughly taking hold.