flying moon cloth, True Detective and Ruin Porn

Here is a 38-second YouTube video of the cloth I’m working on flapping in the wind during a boat ride this past week.  Watch for the moon.

IMG_4571The white bands of stitching were added to the moon’s surface last night. More needs to be done to stop that off-white square from resembling a Triscuit. Triscuits look woven. So was this:
IMG_3678_edited-1Yesterday, K. and I finished watching the spell-binding first season of ‘True Detective’ — a Louisiana murder mystery with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Holy cow!  The sociopath was deviously smart and a worthy opponent of two driven and clever detectives.  The creep could do voices, accents, and evade capture for decades.  But he also made these very cool pagan-influenced twig and rag and bone sculptures that I just loved (think: Andy Goldsworthy).  It was odd to be enamored of the evil character’s creations.

In looking for an image from the show, I came across this:  “ruin porn“.  I understand the magnetic pull of run down and decrepit structures.  In ‘True Detective,’ the central ruin was a former plantation — complete with greying, rotting big house, rickety slave shacks, and an underground fort.  These sets were beyond creepy, and yet mesmerizing, proving, I suppose the “ruin porn” article’s point. (For the record, they went overboard with the piles of broken, vacantly-staring dolls. They were not needed to create the ambiance).  See add on paragraph below about set design.

My cousin Ginny Mallon (photographer/painter/blogger) has been exploring all kinds of ruination, especially along coastlines.  Most recently she photographed Dead Horse Bay, which is in Brooklyn near the Marine Parkway Bridge.  Its beach, “Bottle Beach” is so full of garbage from such a long span of time, that it’s considered a ‘living museum of trash’.  Inexplicably, her photos of the garbage are gorgeous.

Driving from Newton to Brookline today, I almost stopped to photograph a robust rose bush spilling over with vermilion flowers. It screamed ‘summer’. It was beautiful. This is almost the exact opposite impulse of the one I documented a few weeks back — the desire to shoot pictures of parking lots, guard rails or gas stations, in part to upend a narrow sense of what constitutes ‘beauty’.
IMG_3023I guess I am allowed to feel both urges. This door was captured about a year ago after fabric shopping in Arlington, I think.

Debbie’s comment inspired me to find out who designed the sets for ‘True Detective’.  His name is Joshua Walsh and you can read about him here.   The ‘vulture’ blog post had this to report: “’He’s the son of a family that ran a funeral home, and he’s an avid hunter and taxidermist — basically, the perfect dude for the job,’ DiGerlando told Vulture.”

I had just commented below that Louisiana itself is a landscape of ruination, and one we’ve seen before in ‘True Blood’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.  It is was no surprise to discover that Walsh also did the set design for ‘Beasts’.

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “flying moon cloth, True Detective and Ruin Porn

  1. saskia

    such an entertaining post! watched the flapping cloth and have added your cousin Virginia to my blog list – what an inspiring woman she is
    have seen ‘true detective’on hbo, riveting!! and yes ’tis true what they say ’bout the fascination with ruins (although some might not want to look, the same can be said for other types of porn)

    the deliberate attempt to seek out non-beauty, I guess it’s something the artist’s eye is always on the lookout for, pushing bounderies, yes? balancing between what we like and don’t like not merely as in ‘taste’ which is always a personal thing, but something bigger than that, something that pulls you out of your comfort zone and lets you look at the world, or yourself in a new way….I’m getting carried away it would seem, as I mentioned at the start: an entertaining post, Dee

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      It occurred to me after reading your comment and thinking about the HBO show, that LOUISIANA itself, as portrayed, is a landscape of ruin — there were parallels with “True Blood” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in that regard.

      and yes, the comfort zone is something to push and pull ourselves out of.

      Reply
  2. debbie.weaver

    Great post and love Saskia’s comment, I to saw True Dectective and was fanscinated by the intricate and beautiful structures that he built. I would love to know who actually built those structures for the series.

    Reply
  3. Maggie

    Very interesting. I am photographing road kill birds and dead fish to paint from… surely many others have done this. “Porn”? that ugly can be attractive? somehow I can’t separate the word porn from the sexual. Anyway, very thought provoking. And yeah, that Triscuit must go 🙂

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Have you ever read the John McPhee piece about eating road kill? It’s a fascinating look at a rural tradition. Your series sounds interesting. Talk about ruination, huh?!

      Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      I haven’t read this or even heard of it. Funny that ‘vermillion’ shows up in the post and in a comment, though…. Have you ever read Octavia Butler? She wrote a dystopian novel called “The Parable of the Sower” — which could be decades forward, or, honestly, the week after next.

      Reply
  4. Virginia Mallon

    Hi Dee, thanks for the shout out on my post on Dead Horse Bay. The word porn fits that place well. A bit horrifying as a tourist spot. The research led me to think of it as much more romantic than it really is. Funny too, is that I have a long running internal dialog on why I am so drawn to ruins – is it just an intrigue with the past, a reminder of my own experience with ruination and search for beauty in that, an attempt to communicate with ghosts, or is it just plain being snoopy??? Every day a different answer but the answer from dead horse was that we, as a species, can really f’up and pollute a planet. That is the depressing tidbit I came away with along with a big bag of crap, sandy shoes, and likely tetnus. You would have been intrigued with the material. So much stocking, soles of shoes, heels, material of all sorts from 1950s beach chair to shredded bursts of twine, rope, and contemporary trash.

    p.s. LOVE THE Movie!! the color, the movement, it reminded me of a beasts of the southern wild creature — maybe an elephant trunk — the colors with the sky = perfect!

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Your thoughts about this are provocative… some of the ‘unable to turn away’ feeling must be that snoopy/voyeur urge, don’t you think? but your work is investigating the topic on so many levels that it is obviously more than that…

      Reply
  5. Dana

    I usually avoid dark and creepy entertainment because I don’t like where it takes me and I feel like I’m being manipulated, but True Detective was mesmerizing from beginning to end. The villain was irredeemable but also pitiable, crushed as he was under a historical family and cultural legacy of cruelty and shame from which escape wasn’t even considered. He was actively and creatively reaching for salvation but his endless spirals only carried him further down into hell. The detectives were caught too in their own characters and history, mirroring the murderer’s dilemma. Ruination is the only possible result. and the triumph of the visual design of the program was how well it telegraphed the endemic malaise throughout every frame. Ruins talk to us about where we come from but speak most eloquently of the dark side of our histories and our souls. Failure, loss, shame and sorrow….nobody is immune to those.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      wow, Dana, that was all so well put! do you write criticism in another life? As you point out, the detectives’ flaws matter, too. Addiction to sex and drugs. The McConaughey’s character had to have a long and deep obsessive streak to reach the goal, so that trait cut both ways. As much as the Harrelson character needled Rust and called him full of shit, time and time again he overcame his ego in order to recognize the sense and genius of his partner’s thinking. I really grew to admire that in him.

      I am so curious how this writer will play out these themes in a Californian landscape with two new detectives, aren’t you? I also want to get his novels.

      http://nicpizzolatto.com/index.html

      Reply
      1. Dana

        Yes, the detectives were both able to transcend their personal quagmires enough to save each other, literally and emotionally. That was what made watching them bearable, and even satisfying. I am looking forward to the story and the design of the new series very much….I love it when storytelling happens on many levels. California will be different from Louisiana….lots of soul loss easily symbolized, but lacking the tortured inbred historical weight that makes reading about the South feel like drowning. California is so about the surface. Can Nic again show us something about it that is deeper than entertainment? I hope so.

        Reply

Love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s