Restless Device

A Podcast about Extraordinary Technology with Dave Unger

Ruins and Monuments of Industry

I love old industrial sites. I love the texture and color of the rusted structures, the overwhelming scale, and lost-world feeling. Two places come to mind– Gas Works Park in Seattle, WA (which I can see from my apartment window) and the SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA (where I grew up). In both, ruins have been turned into monuments of industry. But they are a strange way to remember industrial history. In both, the remains of industry are the background for recreation areas. The rusted steel towers and machines have been turned into aesthetic objects.

So what’s going on here? What does it mean to turn ruins into monuments this way?