Apocalyptic narratives focusing on urban wastelands have become ever-present in twenty first century media. Artists Stephen Crompton and Corey George capture images that evoke similar emotional tenor, drawing on the despair of a world where humanity’s impact on the landscape are in drawn-out states of death and reclamation by nature. While Crompton’s photo series The American Mall focuses on the slow decline of malls across America, George’s Alas, Babylon series details the casualties of the boom-and-bust cycles in the housing industry in Florida. Their photos bookend the same kinds of devastation seen in post-apocalyptic fiction, but also show America in a state of pre-apocalyptic decay. This chapter argues how the work of Crompton and George offers an additional intervention in understanding the widespread appeal of apocalyptic narratives.
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Parts of Disney theme parks, like handrails, are repainted nightly to disguise the inevitable wear and tear of the thousands of guests that visit each day. According to Kendra Trahan (2005), “To keep a better than new look, Disney uses more than 20,000 gallons of paint each year. Disney’s specialists are masters at making new things look old and old things look new” (191). An art of artifice one might say.
Dawn of the Dead (1978) was largely shot in the Monroeville Mall, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The mall is still open (and thriving) and has become a destination for fans of the films (Porter 2015).
Stephen’s The American Mall photo series began in 2011, following the conclusion of the production of his documentary short film, Mall Church. In Mall Church, he exposed a recurring pattern where churches opened inside dying Midwestern malls, occupying what had previously been retail spaces and operating alongside recognisable chain stores.
According to Zillow, this house, which was one of the show homes originally built to demonstrate to potential residents what they could own, was sold on March 24, 2016, for $254,000. On the current Google Map, the house is isolated from every other constructed part of the property.