Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lost City

Photographs by Yuji Saiga that appear as if from one of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities - an abandoned city on the Japanese island of Gukanjima. Originally known as Hashima Island it came to be called Gukanjima (battleship) Island because of the profile it's apartment buildings rising out of the sea. It was developed as a coal mining community and was populated from 1887 to 1974, eventually being abandoned when the coal ran out. In the 1950's it was apparently the was the worlds most densely populated community.


"Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communicating among themselves. At times even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices' accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new ones are better or worse than the old, since there is no connection between them, just as the old post cards do not depict Maurilia as it was, but a different city which, by chance, was called Maurilia, like this one. (
Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities)

Also worth looking at are the photographs of the sea wall surrounding the island as well as photographs from 1974 when it was still inhabited


Anonymous said...

Fascinating, erie, little series...
Thanks for bringing it to light!

Gary Nylander said...

These are great photographs, very cool !