Monday, October 8, 2007

Ultra Ruin

Paper presented in Eslite Bookstore, Taipei Taiwan 9.10.2007 in lecture series Ruin and the Beauty in Shadow curated by Roan Chin-Yueh.

My name is Marco Casagrande, I am an architect and come from Finland. I grew up in the Northern part of Finland in Ylitornio, Lapland, basically on the border of the Northern borealis forest and tundra, on the border where villages can still exist. North of us are the nomads.

Compared to Taipei the landscape is different. Taipei is a modern city and as such a fairly complete representation of human mind, where as, where I come from the landscape will exist without our thinking.

Already in the early stages of my career as an architect I started to build ruins. I am interested in the constructive dynamics that can be seen in a construction site and also in a ruin. Ruin and construction site are somehow brothers. The fixed house, the closed mechanical box is not so fruitful.

In a classic sense we think about ruins as architecture that is abandoned by man and that nature is taking over. First the man comes into the jungle and builds a house. Man is in and nature is out. In case man moves away from the house, the jungle will step in and the architecture will become part of nature. This is where our thinking on a ruin usually ends. I am interested in the third generation: man comes back to the ruin. (Ultra-Ruin)

This is a ruin that we build in a rice farming community in Japan. (Potemkin, Casagrande & Rintala, Kuramata Japan, 2003) It is a steel park for post industrial meditation.

People in Kuramata belong to the old Japanese religion Shinto and live very close to nature. The Shinto temple is in the small stack of forest on the background. Our ruin is protecting the trees in the front. The park is 130 meters long.

The horizontal wall composition architecture is originated from the terraced rice farming landscape architecture of the site...local knowledge.

Industrial elements framing nature or building a connection with nature is an ongoing theme that you will see in my works. I don’t believe in a romantic Paradise, but in the balance between the man made and nature – our thinking and what is without thinking.

This work in the middle of the rice fields is composed of recycled urban elements: steel from the shipping industry in Kawasaki, crushed glass and recycled asphalt from the broken roads after earthquakes.

Broken concrete. In a different composition the same elements could be a junk yard, now the industrial waste is articulated into a life providing platform, to create beauty.

The dialogue in between and the coexistence of the industrial elements and the nature is interesting. The industrial ruin has the feeling of hope. The trees are in focus.

In the end of the park the walls are five meters high and there is no trees anymore. The visitor is surrounded by steel and the man is the soft one. The presence of nature is in the shadow and in the leaf growths from above.

The ruin turns into an interior space that is focused towards the small river in the valley. In the river is small fish called Ayu. You can go to the river and try to fish an Ayu. If you get one you can come back to the ruin and build a fire in the black round fire place and grill your Ayu, eat it and go home.

All the details are very simple. The whole park is bolted together.

This is where the whole village of Kuramata can sit. There are only 120 people left and most of them are quite old. The younger generation has moved into the city. Every evening the villagers will form a circular dance with the oldest ones in the middle in a smaller circle. They have danced this dance for 400 years. I could not predict how the villagers would react for our work – steel in the middle of their rice fields. When they announced that they will move their dance from the Shinto temple into our park, I felt very good. That was the final acceptance of the work. 

This is another ruin in Montreal Canada (Chain Reactor, Casagrande & Rintala, Montreal Biennale of Contemporary Art 2001) build for high tech people in the information technology centre of Montreal.

The work is a low tech information centre, a public fire place. We collected one kilometre of used chain from the Montreal harbour and made a 6 x 6 x 6 metres steel frame to hang the chains.

In the centre is the fire place. We hoped the information technology workers to get down from their offices to have their lunch around the fire and then smuggle the smell of smoke back into their offices in their suits as a positive virus.

The fire place is an ongoing theme in my works. This is where we all started, fire place is the birth of society. I enjoy building interfaces into cities, where the modern man can step 1000 years back to realize that the things are the same.

Besides fire the main natural element of the work is shadow. The brutal industrial architecture is raised up in order to create shadow, something immaterial but powerful, like the smell of the smoke in the suits.

The shadow will rack the interior of the Chain Reactor with the circulation of the sun.

This is from Venice Biennale year 2000 (60 Minute Man, Casagrande & Rintala, Venice Biennale 2000). The director of the Biennale, architect Massimilliano Fuksas asked us to create a work commenting on the theme of the Biennale: Citta, Less Aesthetics, More Ethics. He wanted us to produce an architectonic installation to deal somehow with the issues of urbanization. I wanted to have an industrial boat and to put a forest in it. The boat would be sailed into Venice and opened up as a public park.

All the elements are either found or borrowed. Even the trees were borrowed for four months. The gangway down to the garden is a Larsen –element used for reinforcing the islands of Venice. The handrail is a Nokia network cable.

Up on the deck the city is present but when you descend down below the walls are high enough to block off the city. You see the sky and the trees and you can feel the earth swinging.

In the last room there is no trees anymore. In the corner you can find a marble stone in which is carved: This park has been planted on 60 minutes worth of human waste produced by the city of Venice.

Besides material streams and circulations in the city we wanted to include the organic circles. I started to track down, what happens when you flush a toilet in Venice. Where does the material go? Eventually it all goes into one spot, a mechanical biological composting unit directed by a very fine gentleman Dottore Codato. I asked him, how much human waste Venice produces in a year and he had perfect statistics. Together with Dr. Codato I counted, how much does it mean in one hour. I asked him to donate me the Venice human waste of one hour and kindly he did. The material was biologically cleaned and composted and then taken as topsoil into the boat.

A great reward was to sail with the forest to Venice. The Biennale organization had already forbid us to take the boat into the Arsenale harbour and they were never told about the contents of the ship. Massimilliano Fuksas managed to let us in and with all the tv and media present it was too late to ban us from the Biennale when they finally realized what they are standing on. Fuksas wanted to give us the Golden Lion of the Biennale against the jury’s choice of Jean Nouvel. Also New York Time’s architecture critic Herbert Muschamp chose the project to his favourite of the Biennale.

This one is from the Venice Biennale of last year. (Yuo-Yuan, C-Laboratory, Venice Biennale 2006; video documentation: Urban Farmers, 3RW Architects / Norway) I wanted to create an industrial Zen garden out of recycled glass.

The glass stones are real. They are not manufactured. I was explaining to Taiwan Glass, that I need stones out of glass. We tried different techniques, but nothing was real enough. Then some of the glass industry workers said, that he knows where to find real glass stones.

The glass furnace is kept hot non-stop for 12 years. During this time it may happen, that a piece of sand gets to the oven and that glass mass starts to build on it. During the 12 years in extreme pressure and heat conditions a glass stone may form.

After 12 years the furnace is cooled down for a clean up and the workers may find an occasional glass stone. They didn’t know what to do with the rocks, but they kept them. These rocks are side products of an industrial process. The process is controlled, but the rocks are accidents. They are beyond human control, they are real.

I like the paradox of a Zen garden introducing ultimate control and natural anarchy same time. I believe the Zen should be taken into industrial elements. Zen garden is a ruin, city must be a compost.

The Third Generation City can happen, when the industrial city is ruined by nature including human nature.

This is the work that actually launched our career. (Land(e)scape, Casagrande & Rintala, Finland 1999) It is commenting on the desertion process of the Finnish countryside. People are moving to the cities of the South and abandoning cultures and traditions of hundreds of years in a very short time. The countryside is full of ruins of abandoned houses and barn houses.

We collected three abandoned barn houses to an abandoned field and build legs for them. Longing after the farmers the barns have been forced to cut their primeval union with the soil and are now swaying towards the cities of the South.

With this work the main design strategy was to make a vacuum around the architectural process, so that no external influences can effect the work. We did everything by ourselves: design, getting building permissions, producing the money and in the end constructed the work by ourselves.

When the barn houses rose to their legs and started to walk, people loved them. I found this interesting. A while ago they were rotting alone on the fields and nobody cared at all. People’s sympathies were clearly on the barn house’s side, but still I didn’t feel this to be right for the work. I didn’t want to leave the barn houses walking on the field forever. I felt that I would loose the energy. I decided that the work has to have an end. It has to stop. I would slaughter the barn houses.

6000 people came. They formed a round circle around the burning barn houses and watch them burn. Some were crying and some were predicting future from the flames.

We thought the work to be very Finnish and basically just for us. We had concentrated all the energy to keep the work free and sort of clean. Without any planning the photos of the installation got to national media and then to international. We didn’t know by then that the same desertion process as with the Finnish countryside is happening everywhere in the world. The work was even awarded in the Architectural Review’s Emerging Architecture competition and later on the documentation was selected to Venice Biennale. I guess we were quite drunk of the work while doing it and people appreciated the madness.

I want to show the following work in order to add another layer to the ruin discussion, the natural ruin. We normally think that nature ruins architecture. Ruin becomes when man made is overtaken by nature. Ruin can happen in the other way too, man can easily ruin nature. Whole rivers can be ruined, big ecosystems.

This is the forest of Koli in East-Finland. (1000 White Flags, Casagrande & Rintala, 2000) This is a very typical scenery, old forest and clean lakes. You can drink from the lake. Finns are quite shamanistic people. Not in a sense that people would necessarily worship animistic gods, but in the way that nature is taken as something holy. In a way you could think that the forest is viewed as a mediator between the human being and higher spirits. Instead of going to temple, Finns go to forest. This particular forest is considered specially holy. The hill is called Ukko-Koli, the Black Breast.

Anyway, some businessmen found the hill to be good for down hill skiing and cut down the forest. People started to protest, the forest should not be treated that way. To participate in this discussion we planted 1000 white flags (1000 White Flags, Casagrande & Rintala, Finland 2000) on the down hill skiing slope, symbolically one for every dead tree.

The flags were made out of used sheets from mental hospitals. We gave the hospitals new sheets and collected the old ones impregnated with mad dreams.

The work got a lot of media coverage and in the end the business people promised that the down hill skiing range will be there only 10 years, then the forest could grow back. A nice settlement was made.

This work is from Havanna Cuba. (Quetzalcoatlus, Casagrande & Rintala, Havana Biennale 2000) We got invited to Cuba to think of a work and pretty much liked the place. We decided to collect books from all over the world and use the as building material for a piece of architecture. Religious, political and philosophical books in different languages. Soon after submitting the proposal we got a letter from the Cuban government saying that our work is unsound, we can not import these kinds of books to Cuba. In the end of the letter they said that we can still produce an architectonic installation, but it must be completely abstract without any kinds of ideological meanings what so ever.

We knew there was an iron bar hanging around some corner in a university in Havana and decided to use that as a material for the work. From Finland we brought with us 10 kilometres of fishing line. The 600 kg iron bar was stretched between two university building with fishing line.

The work is called Quetzalcoatlus, which was the last flying dinosaur. It died when the environmental conditions became too hostile for it. When the sun is up the iron bar gets hot and the fishing lines are stretching. The iron bar comes down, almost to the ground. When the night falls the iron chills out and it comes up. The work is making a slow motion flying movement according to the temperatures of the day.

This is a very heavy and rusty flight, but there is also some beauty in it. Of course the work is representing Cuba, which is one of the last flying dinosaurs.

The work is very tense. If you cut one of the lines, the whole work will collapse.

This is the work I mentioned we wanted to do in Cuba. I couldn’t get over with the idea of using books as building material for architecture and so we started to collect religious, political and philosophical books from all over the world, even from North Korea. We would use the books for a circular wall construction so that the title back would be facing outwards and white paper inwards.

After one year of collecting 15.000 books they were taken to the Piazza Della Republica in Florence, Italy. (Installation 1:2001, Casagrande & Rintala, Firenze Biennale of Contemporary Art 2001) This is the birthplace of the Renaissance and also the Futurist movement.

The title backs are out so you can go round the circular wall and where is Bible and where is Koran, where is Dao Te-Chin and where is Das Kapital.

There is a door where you can enter to the interior of the work.

Inside everything becomes white paper. You can no longer tell where is Bible or where is Koran. The work is a ruin dominated by human nature. The books are quite ultimate representations of human mind and the feeling of this nature is quite thick in this construction.

As I told you we collected these books for one year and it took two weeks to build the wall. Al the time during these two weeks people were asking us, what are you going to do with the books? They asked if they could get a book and we said no, we want to finish the work first. People were very annoyed when they got no clear answers why we are building a wall of books. They felt very personal with the work. After the wall was finished we went to hotel and got drunk.

After coming back to the site after a couple of days this is what we found. All the books were gone. From the video of the security camera of the restaurant Giubbe Rosse behind the work we could see what had happened. A lot of people were staring at the work and talking. Then a man with a suitcase was passing by and stopped to see if he could get a book from the wall. Of course he could and so he did. When the rest of the people saw this man getting a book, all the crowd attacked the work and ripped it to pieces. You could see grandfathers running away with five kilos of Lenin in Lithuanian or some other language they could never read. They had to get the books. Because of this anarchic and spontaneous reaction of the public we were given the first prize of the Firenze Biennale, the Lorenzo Il Magnifico award.

I believe the third generation city will happen when the industrial city is ruined. In this work I wanted to ruin Tokyo (Bird Cage, Casagrande & Rintala, Yokohama Triennale 2001) imitating the ways how birds are spreading seeds. I wanted to attack Tokyo as a bird. The site is in Yokohama, the port section of the Tokyo Metropolis.

The construction is quite simple. Inside is a cage made out of concrete reinforcing steel bars and outside is hemp rope, the same what they use in the Yokohama harbor.. We wound the rope around the steel cage and waited for the rain. When the rain came the natural rope became wet and when it dried again it shrunk and became very tense and structural with the steel. The shape of the Bird Cage is imitating the skyscraper on the background indicating the direction where we wanted to go.

Inside on the top is a round skylight.

The structure works as a silo for launching birds.

The birds are made out of balsa wood and constructed as gliders. These are the parts of the birds.

Inside every bird is a test tube inside of which is a message saying that who ever finds the bird is asked to put the seed inside the tube to ground and take responsibility of the vegetation. Each tube has 5 seeds of basic Japanese vegetables: soya, rice, soba etc. There is also a contact address for us to inform, where the bird was found.

Every day during the 72 days of the Yokohama Triennial a bird would get attached to a Vaisala meteorological balloon and sent off from the Bird Cage.

The balloon would take the bird up to 10 kilometres where the helium inside the balloon would burst the balloon and the bird would start gliding. It can glide for hundreds of kilometres landing down in some of the Japanese islands or the Pacific Ocean. The bird is made of wood and amphibious. It can go with the Ocean to United States or to Taiwan…

The work was realized in September 2001, same time as the terrorist attacks to the World Trade Centre in New York. Japan Times wrote a big article about our birds that they are the anti-thesis of the New York terrorist attacks, because our birds are also hitting skyscrapers, but they are bringing hope, the connection between the modern man and nature.

After that article somebody drove his car to our Bird Cage and destroyed it. The Japanese students got to the site and released all the remaining birds in one go.

Treasure Hill. (Organic Layer, C-Laboratory, Taipei 2003) Taipei is a ruin. The modern city is spotted with enclaves from the first generation city, when the people were living in close connection with nature. Treasure Hill is an urban faming community surviving inside the industrial Taipei. From these spots the third generation Taipei will grow. These are the acupuncture points.

Taipei is ruined by people, by humanism. Human nature is overtaking the official city like plants are overtaking a ruin. This human layer on top of the hard and inflexible official city is the ritual and the life providing platform that makes Taipei so special. This human nature ruining process gives Taipei a great sense of hope.

Treasure Hill is an illegal settlement and was decided to be destroyed. The official city wanted to change the area into a park. Taipei citizens started to protest and also I was working for the community to find it surviving strategies. I built steps to connect the hiding stairways of the bulldozed houses into circular movement system inside Treasure Hill. I also restarted the gardening that the city had banned.

Treasure Hill is the attic of Taipei, the memory of the house.

Modern city is just one step away. In Treasure Hill the time is different, it is the natural time, not the artificial time of the city.

When I saw the residents starting to react for my basic construction by building themselves I knew direction of energy had changed from destruction to construction. It was time for me to leave. Where to stop architectural control is crucial issue in community planning.

We will call the police, if you dump your garbage here.

Treasure Hill is simultaneously a ruin and a construction site. Also jungle is pushing hard into the built human environment.

The next ruins will be big scale industrial ships out of duty (Post Industrial Fleet, Crew*31, Denmark 2004). The work is commissioned by the Danish government and represented Denmark in the Venice Biennale 2004.

Denmark has the world’s largest commercial fleet Maersk. Bigger than Evergreen and Yang Ming shipping of Taiwan, which are good number two. There is 100 harbour towns in Denmark 31 of which are closing the harbour activities because of bigger centralized harbours. Our work was to think, what to do with these 31 communities who were in panic, what will happen to us when the ships stop coming, the ships is what the whole town was build for.

I decided to keep the ships in the towns. Instead of sending the retired big boats to India to be demolished, we could mount them into the harbours for good as fixed platform for community activities. The ships would not move any longer, but still be permanent part of the urban narrative. Different programs could be applied into the ships, which are units of wonderful spaces.

A bio ship, that would contain all the modern environmental technology to treat the city’s waste.

Steel models 1:100.

The Post Industrial Fleet of ships and barges out of duty.

The deck of the Bio Ship. Inspector and a dog.

Community ship.

Some sort of a theatre.


Happy times.

This is where the ships end today. The end of the line: Alang beach in the Gujarat state of North-West India.

Ships from all over the world get beached in there and ripped apart for recycling. 40.000 men work in this beach to treat what is considered waste in somewhere else.

The work is very dangerous. Every day one man dies. 25% will get cancer from the toxic wastes inside the ships.

A workers compound build from remnants of ships.

The whole bay outside Alang is dead. All the remaining fuels and oils of the ships are let to the sea.

It is forbidden to enter the Alang beach, so I had to sneak in to take the photos. While doing this I got busted by wild pigs.

Asbestos. This is why the ships can not be demolished in for example Europe. It would simply cost too much to have the special crews for asbestos work and sealing the working area to protect the environment. It is easier to dump the ship in India and forget it.

In Alang is asbestos from 20 years time of 70% of all the world’s ships.

People live in asbestos huts or caves.

Farming on asbestos landfill.

Alang beach is a closed area where you can enter only by permission of Gujarat Maritime Board. Also the workers are not allowed to go out.

The workers come from the poorest areas of India and get locked inside the Alang beach. No women are allowed. Alang has one of the highest AIDS ratios of India.

From the Alang beach starts a 10 kilometres road both sides of which are lined with small shops specializing in items found in the ships. Life vests.

Fire hoses.



Life boats.

Grand pianos.

Log books and machinery manuals.

Sailors’ books.

Rescue suits.


Metal work machines.

ngine parts. When you have 3 broken engines, you make one that works.

Clocks and loud speakers.

On office made out of the radar sphere.

A whole house made out of ship parts.

An engine ready to run.

Krishna electronic weight bridge.

Royal Enfield.

Main engine going to power a factory in Punjab.

Colorful people.

Buffalo heard with Pepsi machine.

A Muslim family.

Shuttle bus to Bhavnagar, the next town.

Also Bhavnagar lives out of ship parts. Here everything gets fixed and polished.

Sheet metal turns into kitchen wear, frying pans and pots.

Basic destruction. One has to die a bit to be reborn.

Removing bearings to make new ones.

The band.

Small engines.

mall engines and goats.




Small engines.

Emergency lamps.

Search lights.

Outboard engines.

A family workshop separating plastics and copper from electric cords.

A restaurant.

Weight and a girl managing it.

A happy family.

Buffalo.This is now in Mumbai. The same way like Alang and the whole province of Bhavnagar lives out of something that is considered waste somewhere else in the world, the ships, the sams way the slums of Mumbai live out from the waste produced by the surrounding city. Buffaloes play a big part in this story.

The buffaloes have always been. The Hindu Indians don’t eat meat and need a lot of buffalo milk, yogurt and cheese to eat. Mumbai has 17 million people and a lot of buffaloes. The urban buffalo sheds and the urban buffalo herds form an own culture inside the city. Men and buffalo live together. This is a first generation urban condition.

The buffaloes need to be washed all the time, therefore the buffalo sheds are situated along the rivers.

Besides milk the other vital product that the buffaloes are producing is dung. Buffalo dung is the main fuel for cooking. Women of the buffalo people harvest the dung from the rivers in where it is mixed with straw.

The buffalo dung is formed into dung cakes and dried along the walls.

Dung cake fuels cooking.

Buffaloes live downstairs and people upstairs.

Buffalo people are very clean, as are the animals. Having a shave in a buffalo shed.

Having a shower.

And brushing teeth.

Preparing food.

Buffaloes, people and pigeons. In the first generation condition the city mainly produces only organic waste. Animals are needed to process the waste. Buffaloes will eat remnants of vegetables, goat eats even paper. Dog will deal with occasional bones and what is left is for the pig. The first generation Mumbai got used to bring waste to the river side, where it was processed by animals and also didn’t really harm the river either.

When the city got industrialized not all the waste was organic anymore. But because the people had been accustomed to bring the waste to the river it is still continuing the same way today. The non organic waste is suffocating the river systems, destroying the environment.

This is waste that can not be easily processed, not by animals nor by men.


Dead landscape, polluted river.

To treat the enormous amount of waste that the industrial city was producing another kinds of buffalo sheds were needed. Slums were formed to treat the waste and following the old waste circulation culture the slums grew along the rivers. Waste goes to river, people know. These slums are along the Oshiwara river valley treating the surrounding city.

ecause of large amounts of illegal working power the slums are safe havens for illegal industry that dumps all the waste to the rivers.

Acid for removing colour in recycled plastics.

Plastics point.

Separating aluminium from glass.

High Tech Engineers 1.

Some chemical work.

Collecting fire wood from the city.

Scrap metal.

Skillful people.

Crossing the river. The pink stuff is coming from a chemical factory.

Very fine manual recycling.

Urban nomad structures.


This pretty much tells the attitude towards urban waste. It provides life. Waste is a good thing, a happy place.

People in Oshiwara live from the waste of the surrounding city like Alang lives from the waste of the "developed world".

A small business man.

Temporary homes on a bridge. All these will be washed away during the monsoon. Slum is ruin and it is a construction site, urban ruin as a human nature's life providing platform. Slum is open form, as nature is. The dynamics and energies of a slum are much more powerful than those of a fixed, closed form settlement, industrial architecture.

Happy new year 2005.

Legal housing in a nagar, legal slum. Slums can be upgraded into a nagar, if they for example vote for a lucky politician.

A corner shop for dung cake burners.

Barber shop. A decent shave is respected.

Telephone master.

Weight and the chief.


High quality chicken, fresh.

Selling color.

Colorful women.

Muslim folks.

This family invited me to their home in a nagar.

The founder of the slum. A respected person the followers of whom now enjoy gifts and comfort of urban life.

Modern times.

This is a poster of one of the Bollywood movies advertised in the slum. Lagan – The Dedication, tale of immortal love…and science. A handicapped guy is sitting in wheel chare that is equipped with a strange laptop. In the background is a space shuttle taking of to the orbit and a pale, white skinned female beauty. This must be how the slum is seeing the surrounding city. It is like a ferry tale or a paradise maybe. Just like in the movies, you can maybe see a glimpse of it, but never really enter. That’s where the immortals live cruising around with laptop wheelchairs. They are somehow crippled and sophisticated. The white skin of the lady has not seen one day of physical work.

A hot goat.

A beetle nut “ban”.

Public art.

A ritual bath place of the Hindus. Bathing takes place maybe a couple of times a year, the rest of the time the holy bath serves as a garbage dump.

Construction workers. These guys are nomads moving from one construction site to another. They will build up their own village from the left over construction material of the houses that they are building.

The organic scaffolding work on the façade of the building is like nature on top of a ruin.

Or a creeper on top of a tree.

Leveled and straight lines created by irregular sticks.

I took a mirror to the most polluted place in the Oshiwara chain of slums, where they are washing colour off from plastic trash with acid that later on runs into the river.

A glimpse of blue sky in the polluted river.

You can literally paint with the river. The water is like ink.

People watching the mirror from a bridge.

This gentleman said he likes what the mirror means. He said the river could be like the blue skies. His method for growing up a respect towards the polluted river was farming. The gentleman said, that he has found a crop that survives in the polluted soil and that the plant is so high, that all the pollution stays in the roots, while the product on the top is clean and eatable.

The gentleman suggested the riversides of the Oshiwarea chain of slums to be transformed in to urban farms that would both produce food for the slum population and clean the river.

When I asked my Indian students to assist the gentleman in the farming work they gave the tools to their personal car drivers.

In the end also the students joined the work.

Watering the plantation.

Setting the seeds to the ground.

The journey to India following the imperialism of pollution started with the boats and harbours in Denmark. The Post Industrial Fleet was also exhibited in the Taiwan Design Expo 2005. Kaoshioung used to be world’s number one in destroying the ships some 20 years ago, like the beach of Alang is today.

Bristol Bay in Alaska.

This is the world’s biggest catch for salmon. The fishery has been ongoing for 15.000 years.

A net hanging shop. Women hang nets, men do fishing.

The net hanging shop is also a community centre. All the fishermen have to come here to fix their nets and to relax in a cosy atmosphere. The fishing on the Bering sea is very brutal and hard work.

A 200 fathom drift net.

A coffin for dead fisherman.

The aluminium boat fleet waiting for the salmon.

32 feet aluminium fishing vessel F/V Mecca.

A drift net soaking on a calm July day.

The prey, Sockeye red salmon.

The fishing has always been. You can feel it. This could be 10.000 years ago.

The small fishing vessels give their fish to tender boats, like the black one here. The tender boats take the fish to canneries or to floating processing boats like the Alaska Packer here.

Modern man has to take the liberty to travel 1000 years back to realize that the things are the same.

Turk, the captain of the F/V Mecca.

Deck-hands Marty Ross and Marco Casagrande.

Fish is real. Fish would be here and run to the rivers without our thinking.

The 7-11 Sauna in Gongguan, Taipei City centre. I finished this work just one week ago. Finnish sauna is a place where hot steam of water cleans and relaxes you body. Sauna has also spiritual qualities for us Finns, in here the artificial time stops.

One gets naked in a sauna. The president does and the working man does. Public saunas in Finland are places where different layers of society can meet without titles.

I like the 7-11 Sauna, because you can decide either to step into the very flower of hectic urbanism or to step 10.000 years back. Just one step.

Wooden interior.

A Korean guy who visited the sauna said that before he thought that the construction wood would be dead, but in sauna he felt the wooden interior to be highly alive. He could feel the energy coming from the wood around him, like being in a forest.

The fireplace, the “kiuas”.

You heat the sauna by burning wood. This wood is collected from Gongguan after the typhoon.

The burning fire will heat up the stones on top of the kiuas, which will preserver the heat during the sauna.

You throw water to the hot stones to create hot steam.

The sauna, the chill out room and the 7-11.

One has to take the liberty to travel 1000 years back to realize, that the things are the same.

Marco Casagrande


New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey Noble Mon! I found you by Googling the word: "Redrum" and absolutely Love your work. What a surprise. I placed you onto today's NO News Ladder.
I hope you appreciate the placement. Please do fang back through recent posts too and...please feel free to contact me through email in bio.

Thank you,
editor~New Orleans News Ladder

New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey Mon! I have read your entire blog and come back to invite you to New Orleans. You work moves me totally.
I would have thought that you would have already gone there after Katrina.
The city has the largest debris field in the world. Talk about Ruins...Acres upon Acres of abandoned homes and landscape.
Please go there and build an installation to the ReBirth of the City That Care Forgot.
You must come to New Orleans for Jazz Fest this April, and stay through the seasons.
Please move there and immerse yourself in the city. She calls to you from the bayou.

Thank you again,

Lejobart said...

I have also been reading through your blog - Bruce could be right - the Bayou might be calling you.

It's like Shultze - look it up: Shultze get's the blues.

German polka accordion musician retires from working the mines and goes to the Bayou - gets lost in it, but finds himself trapped in the happiest moment of his life.

the Voodoo Princess


not even sure how i found this article but it is one of the most amazing things i have ever read...just to find these observation of culture and time in one place. thank you for all the incredible visuals and well-described dichotomies between the human and natural world. -maldorora


not even sure how i found this article but it is one of the most amazing things i have ever read...just to find these observation of culture and time in one place. thank you for all the incredible visuals and well-described dichotomies between the human and natural world. -maldorora


not even sure how i found this article but it is one of the most amazing things i have ever read...just to find these observation of culture and time in one place. thank you for all the incredible visuals and well-described dichotomies between the human and natural world. -maldorora

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