This week I’m taking a bit of a departure from my thoughts on various media productions to discuss my current goal to research for a potential future documentary project the illusive but equally fascinating phenomenon of Urban exploration. For those of you who do not know Urban exploring or “Urbex” as its commonly known on the forums involves individuals (usually in groups) venturing beyond the comforts of the homely comforts of a living room to observe and most importantly document with a trusty camera the collapsing decay of abandoned structures.Whether it be an abandoned hospital or even an amusement park urban explorers are here to stay,venturing into the unknown remnants of a past we have all long forgotten.
This pass time naturally is something many people are uninformed on, its seen by many as a shady hobby,nothing more than simple trespassing by groups of teens who seek nothing more than defiling derelict buildings however I wanted to find out via an assortment of research what its all really about.
My first instinct when starting my research on Urban exploring drew me towards the internet, the source of a vast amount of articles and webpages on the topic as well as being the home to urban explorers collections of thoughts and feelings via picture galleries as well as blogs.When researching I first stumbled upon a large amount of web spaces exclusively dedicated to the practice of venturing to abandoned locations, one such example would be “28dayslater.com” rather like the film of the same name this webpage paints a bleak vision of a post apocalyptic landscape through its harrowing haunting imagery of completely desolated locations posted by the many bloggers and urban explorers on the page.All the imagery really makes you aware of the scale of derelict structures across the country and indeed the world. I was coming to understand urban explorers rather than being low level intruders were really just people with a passion for preserving the memory of what once was.
My research also brought me to an variety of articles from prominent newspaper tabloids such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.Many of these articles capture the side of the hobby that involves these explorers of decay getting into trouble over their actions.One articles accounts the arrest of one individual whos “alleged crimes were a blatant affront to the image of a high-tech security state London had constructed for itself.” (GQ,2013).Other articles do highlight many individuals break into private property without the proper permission and by doing so are putting themselves in danger, after all “Derelict buildings are not skateparks or playgrounds. They are potentially dangerous.” (Grimsby telegraph,2016).Other articles however expressed an opposing view citing that urban exploration is not intentionally a hostile activity but instead “It’s about preserving places for history before they’re demolished” (The Telegraph,2015).Overall all these articles are all equally informative and really expand upon my research and ultimately develop my understanding of the issues surrounding Urban exploring.
I also desired to contact these individuals, by reaching out to urban explorers directly I hoped to gain some insight into those who knew it best. I began emailing several via various pages and managed to gain a quick response from one individual who explained why he couldn’t hand out his number for a chat on the phone but could answer any questions I had via email. I was more than happy with the response and proceeded to send him a range of questions such as why he got into it in the first place as well as asking about any standout memories he has had while participating in this admitably at times risky pass time. UrbanX (the responder) was able to answer my questions in detail,even citing some times his exploration became less than pleasant when he was plunged into a pit of raw sewage.UrbanX was also able to inform me on the whole grey area surrounding the legality of Urban exploring, explaining to me the authorities minus private security understand the intentions although sometimes trespassing are seeking only to document derelict structures that the rest of us have turned a blind eye to in our busy lives.
Overall after my week of extensive researching i believe i have learned a great deal, although unable to pin down a crucial phone-call with an urban explorer yet, i was able to establish a line of dialogue with one such individual via email.That accompanied with the assortment of articles and blog pages on the activity of urban exploring all come together to build on my ability to research as well as furthering my understanding of this intriguing pass time.