Where the (Moving) Sidewalk Ends: Images of Wasted Americana in the Pre-apocalyptic World
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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