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Wastelands: landscape, photography, modernity. Juha Tolonen
The thesis has two distinct but connected halves. Text and images are applied to the subject of wastelands: the former works to raise the status of wastelands while the latter gathers visual fragments of wastelands to harness a picture of contemporary modernity. The two combine to create a practical and poetic, a social and flaneurial picture of wastelands.
The author identifies wastelands as the material manifestation of industrial modernity. Although wastelands is an overarching term used to describe general decline in many social, cultural and natural spheres, the author adopts the term specifically to describe spaces of abandoned industry that have emerged since the post-war years in the West.
Wastelands are invitations to engage with the destructive side of modernity. Modernity is simultaneously progressive and destructive. However, this destructive face is too often disregarded. The author sees is as a matter of necessity to re-engage more thoughtfully with the processes and manifestations of destruction. Wastelands should encourage us to do this.