BREEDING GROUND - Installation and Photo Series
This series deals with the redefinition of space; in particular the re-interpretation of abandoned and soon to be demolished sites. Playing on the ambiguity of these disused spaces, I created and built site specific installations somewhat phantasmagoric in nature. The series stemmed from an interest in the process of gentrification, and questions the current reality of cultural gain versus capital gain by entertaining the idea that alternate realities can begin to thrive in these spaces.
The photos have been created in Germany, Poland and Australia. It has involved many a late night and questioning of my own sanity. Everything is created in camera.
For my other stuff see www.jasminepoole.com or if you have questions email me firstname.lastname@example.org
New Abandoned Places Blog http://abandonedbutfound.tumblr.com/
I have started a new blog specifically for all the abandoned places I have explored and will continue to explore. Only a few posts up so far, from Sydney, China and Antarctica. Please check it out and follow it you please. Lots more posts to come. All Original Content shot by me.
The Abandoned and the Shameful - Mecca Cinema and Theatre
For more photos and the back story please see the post below
The Abandoned and the Shameful - Mecca Cinema and Theatre
As I sit here and type this the theatre is being demolished. Approved by the Rockdale council this once significant and integral part of the community is being bulldozed to make way for 4 levels of basement parking and 10 stories of residential apartments. All I have to say is shame on you. This is one of the main things wrong with Sydney, Australia.
Sitting vacant for the last 10 years the cinema and theatre had been operating since 1920. I remember frequenting the Mecca as a kid and then teenager. I knew I had to go back for one last look before it got knocked down, after all urban exploring is one of my favourite past times. It was amazing, I spent four hours in there each time photographing and sifting through the old files that lay strewn across the floors, admiring old slides, trying on costumes.
On the second visit I returned with a friend of mine, another girl. We were down in the basement which is rather large when we heard footsteps. I put it down to nerves but turned and saw flashlights at the other end of the room. Fear started to set in, but we reasoned that they were probably doing the same. We called out, they turned off their flashlights and it went deathly silent. Next thing they started making noises, strange meowing noises. We knew there was only one way out, past whoever these people were.
Like a scene out a b-grade horror film I shone my torch into the darkness only to see a large man emerge from behind a pillar and then another from the opposite direction. They questioned what we were doing there, asking us whether we knew who owned it. He told us it was now owned by the hells angels and if they were to come in now would shoot us on the spot. This went on for a while, he claimed he was there uncovering what they were doing to the place. It would be in the papers he said. And he would be killed.
I didn’t know what to believe, I just wanted out. Skip half an hour later and we were out of there, still high on adrenalin. I suppose with all urban exploring adventures you are always playing the odds.
Unfortunately the cinema also has somewhat of a sinister past. The previous owner Phil Doyle is currently in jail on charges of sexual assault on underage boys. He had apparently been using the projection room, toilet cubicles and the candy store room at the cinema to assault boys for over three decades.The cinema closed in 2003 the same time the accusations were uncovered.
But for a look at the other side of the cinema’s history and grand past please visit this awesome blog I chanced upon http://inheritanceorg.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/now-showing-at-the-mecca-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/
Abandoned - St John’s Orphanage
Built circa 1890 the building housed an orphanage run by the Sisters of Mercy from 1905 to 1975. It was a foundling orphanage, which meant that children who were placed there had at least one surviving parent. During the depression, it was common for large families to keep older children and leave younger ones in the orphanage as there was no money to care for all their children.
Tales of abuse and mental scarring are abundant on research of St John’s. Many a paranormal Investigator has descended upon this place claiming to hear screams in the hallways and bedrooms. Apparently beatings and rape were an unfortunate occurance within the confines of these walls. There are boys who have spent time in their youth at St John’s that refuse to talk about it and have turned to drugs and alcohol as a means to forget. Others that say they went through the system and came out unscathed and claim it is all lies.
Currently it sits awaiting to be turned into a residential apartments since 2004, however it appears the plans have been dropped. So for now it still sits idle as a place for vandals, explorers, squatters and a local company that run ghost tours.
Abandoned - St Patrick’s Boys School
I could see inside through a pane of of smashed glass. I wanted in. Entry made simple through an unlocked door. I was immediately hit with a stench of shit. Invading all my senses, the accumulation of years of pigeon shit and death. Small carcasses were strewn haphazardly across the floor, dust covered books piled high on a table. I didn’t get much time in there, partly due to a long drive home in the impending grey sky and rain and well, the smell. The strange noises coming from the upstairs floor which I couldn’t find an entry point to were also unnerving. I put it down to pigeons or a cat, but years of horror films and literature saturation fashioned in my head a depraved hybrid beast part human, part pigeon. Although, it was most likely the wind.
Abandoned Lunatic Asylum, Aradale - Road Trip Continues
On top of a hill overlooking the town of Ararat sits ‘Aradale’ which opened it’s doors in 1865 to accommodate the growing number of ‘lunatics’ in the colony of Victoria. Many patients admitted to this complex were not in fact “insane”but suffered from mental illnesses such as depression and schizoprhenia or conditions such as epilepsy, autism or down syndrome.
Aradale saw some of the most controversial psychiatric treatments performed on patients, ranging from electro shock, lobotomy and insulin induced coma therapy. Practices today that would be deemed barbaric.
Upon entering the grounds of this complex through a hole in the fence I immediately felt a sense of dread. Sitting abandoned since 1993 the institution saw almost 13,000 deaths in it’s 130 years of operation.
Walking across the desolate sprawling grounds housing over 68 buildings my partner in crime found an unlocked window.We entered, most ungracefully, I fell though a window taking down a curtain in the process and becoming entangled. The doors were all locked internally. I didn’t last 5 minutes inside before fear and unease got the better of me.
Old Mate Clarry of Horsham - Road Trip Continues
Driving along our attention was quickly diverted by an eclectic frontyard. Promptly turning the car around and walking up to the place with a bewildered look on my face, I heard someone yelling out for me to come in. Looking up I noticed a man with an over-sized beer belly waving from his ‘little house on the prairie’. His name was Clarry, his dad had been a collector of sorts, after his death he had taken on the property with his brother. He was a great character, a lover of slim dusty and his brother of Elvis, which explained alot of the paraphernalia that lined the yard and house.
Clarry spoke loudly as he chugged down his beer, he told us stories, some of which I understood, some to which I politely nodded pretending to understand (I think the beers that day had started to produce somewhat of a slur). He opened up his house for us, pointing out objects encouraging me to take photos, as he said “It’s all history, take photos”. Apparently a film crew had been there the week before making a doco on him. It didn’t bother him in the slightest. In fact I kind of think he liked it.
After an extensive tour we said our goodbyes. I hope to make it back for another visit one day. Get a more indepth look into the life of old mate Clarry.
Abandoned Church, Antwerp - The Fatal Exorcism
Staying in the small town of Rainbow the night before with the family of my partner in ‘roadtrip’ crime we were told the tale of the fatal exorcism.
The church was once the meeting place of a small group of devoted followers, amongst them Mr Ralph Vollmer. In September of 1990 he had his wife Joan admitted as an involuntary patient to a psychiatric insitution. Diagnosed with Schizophrenia and released after three weeks, her condition required ongoing medication. In January of 1993 he returned home to find his wife barefoot in a wheatfield “doing some sort of war dance and making strange noises”. One of Joan’s friends claimed that she had finally cracked under the strain of her husband’s religious mania and parsimony “the only place he ever took her was to church”.
Convinced that his wife Joan was posessed by demons and upon consulting fellow prayer group members he decided to let Leanne Reichanbach and David Klinger perform an exorcism. Days of prayers followed as Mrs Vollmer was tied to a chair, her feet strapped to boards and her eyes forced open. After a week with no success they called in Matthew Paul Nuske from Melbourne, an assistant green-keeper, footballer, and secret exorcist. He ran cling-wrap around their house seven times and over the roof. With Mrs Vollmer still being physically restrained the exorcism continued till about 4:30pm at which point she gave a final groan and died.
Under the belief that she would be resurrected they did not seek immediate medical attention but rather waited by the body which had begun to swell up and decompose in the 40 degree heat. Mr Vollmer is reported as saying “there were some terrible hissing sounds; some froth came out of her mouth. The lights went out of her eyes instantly the moment the demons came out. We received…phone calls from people…very sensitive to the Lord…that the Lord was going to raise her up.”
Ralph Vollmer then invited the media to her funeral in the belief that she would infact be resurrected at the ceremony. “I do not believe; I know this will happen. The whole thing has been God’s plan from the very beginning and his name is going to be glorified like its never been before. Before her body is lowered into the grave he is going to raise her up again. And I hope and pray that your cameras will be there… because the Lord wants the world to see this.”
She did not rise from the dead.
Abandoned Abattoir near Rainbow - Road Trip Continues
Abandoned Abattoir - Road Trip Continues
Driving along in Donald, Victoria we noticed a monstrosity of a building that appeared abandoned and behind it a factory for Kookas country cookies. Both had our attention. The guy that ran the cookie factory told us that the big empty building was infact an old abattoir that had closed 20 years earlier.
Exploring around we climbed stairs overgrown by trees into what turned out to be eerily cold rooms with ceilings lined with sharp metal fixtures. It was unsettling to say the least.
Maryborough Primary School - Road trip continues
The school sits empty on a big vacant lot of land which is currently being built up and turned into townhouses. The fate and use of the empty school still remains unknown. There was something calming about the pastel hues of the walls.
Abandoned - Road trip continues
Reaching St Arnuad for lunch and a beer we spotted a motel that looked somewhat disheveled. Trying to peek through the window didn’t bring much information apart from a sign that said ‘valiant not for sale’. Enquiring about it at the convenience store across the road I got the feeling the owner was somewhat of a strange character who was not so well liked. It was for sale though apparently and had been closed for some time.
Ghost Towns - The Road trip continues
Next town on the list was Timor. Once home to 30,000 miners the main street of hotels, houses and stores stretched a mile long. It was a prospering town until the collapse of the mining industry during WWI. The general store operated for 145 years until it eventually ceased trading in 1997. Peering into it’s cobweb ridden windows we were met with what appeared to be a mock up of a bar, bottles lined the walls an old cash register sat idle. I wanted so much to go inside but damaging property isn’t my thing and I am no locksmith.
Ghost Towns - The road trip begins
We decided to roadtrip through country Victoria with no real plan apart from a few towns scribbled on a bit of torn paper. Researching the night before I came across a wikipedia page of ‘ghost towns’, places that had once flourished during the gold rush but had been abandoned when the gold ran out.This set the precedent for the trip, amidst scorching weather and flies that wouldn’t let up we were to discover a wealth of buildings that sit empty against a backdrop of vast land.
It’s hard to imagine that the town of Majorca once bustled with life with 250 stores and restaurants lining the streets, it thrived for 50 years. These days the general store sits on it’s lonesome on a dry stretch of road, the only thing indicative of what once was.