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Urban Exploration & The Search for The Sublime

Part 2 Dissertation 2009
Ian Douglas-Jones
Royal College of Art, UK
We’ve all done it, at least the more intrepid inquirers of us have; and in all probability, unwittingly too:
Its easy, under the chain link fence, onto the sill, pull back the chip board and squeeze through the gap, and you’re in, under the cover of darkness its even easier. No-one should bother you, and why should they; the building has been rotting into obscurity for years… Once inside the remnants of past stories unravel in the detritus left behind, in the patina and palimpsest ingrained in the buildings very fabric. In the derelict, abandoned building, the signs of use give way to a future past; played out in the mind.

It seems to some the city is a playground an arena for adventure subsuming the dogged humdrum the majority of city dwellers pursue. ‘…tear free from the shackles of mindless tv, celebrity bullshit and the constant bombardment of advertising. Shed your bubble wrap suits and live a little’

We know the playground, so what is the game?

Urban exploration.

This dissertation delves into an almost unquantifiable concept, urban exploration is a new medium for tapping into that concept, it is this past time that the city can be unravelled, and the focus of that past time are forgotten parts of the city that reveal much more through their neglect, a greater meaning can become apparent, the transgression of the everyday occurs; the sublime unveiled. Through this study I parallel other activities that bring us closer sublimity. Architecture or base jump?

Ian Douglas-Jones

Mr Bobby Desai
Joe Kerr
Mr Clive Sall
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