Urban exploration is a fascinating topic. Who hasn’t wanted to check out the underground tunnels that run beneath their city; the old abandoned factories or schools or hospitals; the construction sites; the junk yards … I mean, there’s got to be more than a little 14-year-old boy in all of us, right?
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of urban exploration in this book. Yes, there are some great pictures and the hints of some great stories. But it seems to be only a small part of what’s there.
So, what do we get instead? How about lots of lots of rather pretentious academese. Now, don’t forget to add in a healthy dose of self-regarding hipsterism too. Finally, let’s top it all off with some faux-daring rebellion. And that’s your book.
Don’t believe me? Here, try this paragraph on for size:
“By sneaking into places they’re not supposed to be, photographing them and sharing those exploits with the world, explorers are recoding people’s normalized relationship to city space. It is both a celebration and a protest. It is a melding, a fusing of the individual and the city, of what is allowed and what is possible. Urban explorers make it clear that the city is not as secure as some may suggest and that, more importantly, by undertaking risks to probe those boundaries, one can create opportunities for creativity, discovery, and friendship, and even uncover the places and histories that those in power would prefer remained hidden.”
Honestly, couldn’t we all just trespass and enjoy these places without all this preening and pretention? You gotta admit it, they are kinda cool.