-slightly modified quote from Ernst Fischer
A lonely bingo machine sits on a community center stage. A little Googling yielded this video, which shows this model in all its glorious circa-1983 action.
With the passage of time and rotation of the earth the sunlight begins to angle overhead and fall unimpeded through the ravaged roof of the machine room. I have wandered out of here twice, but am called back by the lure of the ever changing play of light and shadow that the other building cannot hope to compete with. The third time I enter this room is also the first time I see it with full direct sunlight. Up above me glittery spider webs refract the light and even while I delight in the sight I fervently hope that their creators stay where they are.
At first I cannot decide at first if the strong light is helping or harming my attempts here, and when asked Tabula Rasa replies in the negative. I pause and consider for a moment, then I see this.
The quiet early morning light illuminates machinery that has slept for over 60 years.
The touches of scroll work remind of a time when even industrial work places made some attempt to be beautiful.
Caution is employed with every step, the metal flooring plates are brittle with age and exposure.
“We are symbols, and inhabit symbols.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have an easier time ascribing mental states to machines than to some people, so this little guy struck me as a perfectly sad castaway: clearly obsolete (what did he even do?) and left behind to rot. If you want a brilliant summation of what I felt when I came upon this scene, read this xkcd strip; it made my wife cry the first time I showed it to her.
One of the locations for my “In the Dark” series is an old power plant that, from what I can tell, has been shut down since 1977 or so.
The insulation (asbestos?) has come free from the piping, whole sections of grate flooring are missing on the upper levels and the place rattles and booms on the wind. It is like christmas came a month early for us!
There are mysterious bits and pieces, as well as whole machines left to rust in place. A playground for adults.
I wonder what this did. . .
Sometimes I get a little spooked while walking among the machines, in this place that once was loud and incessantly busy but now is quiet except for the call of a train horn in the distance, the howl of wind, the clattering of loose metal meeting brick.
I also wonder who Gilroy was.
So quite a bit of what I have shared lately has been from the Riverdale Granary, a former chicken feed factory that was built in 1918 and shut down in 1952(ish). It isn’t a particularly safe building (people have met their end there while exploring or saving explorers) but it is a compelling building to visit. If only for the machines.
Big thing to remember in this location, watch where you put your feet, there are built in holes everywhere.
This is because the connecting pipes are missing.
I am always amazed at how much machinery gets left behind in places like these.
Broken, misaligned and turned to rust.
Lurking in the darkness of the power plant, lost in a lonely corner I see a flash of color in the beam of my flashlight.
Under the pale beam of diffused sunlight pouring in from the broken ceiling, the machine waits.