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Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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“Urban exploration is... a way of renegotiating reality, transforming the moment, turning the city into a video game. Except that, in this game, you only have one life.”—Evening Standard
"A unique and electrifying travelogue … Garrett and his fellow travelers are as fit, agile and fearless as ninja."—Booklist, Starred Review
“For Garrett, physical exploration is merely the outward manifestation of a deeper philosophical inquiry. The theoretical DNA of much of his work traces back to the concept of 'psychogeography.'"—GQ
“An absorbing read … Recommended for travel and modern history readers."—Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Bradley Garrett, a researcher at the Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment, spent several years hanging out with urban explorers, guys (mostly guys; there are a few female urban explorers), sneaking into closed down buildings, sewers, abandoned Tube stations, construction sites, skyscrapers, and other closed off and forbidden locations. He tells the stories of their adventures, discoveries, and misadventures in Explore Everything: Place-Hakcing the City.
For Garrett and his UE buddies, urban exploration, or place-hacking, is not a juvenile thrill-seeking, but "taking back rights to the city from which we have been wrongfully restricted," protesting the "increased securitisation"of public places, about "going places you're not supposed to go, seeing places you're not supposed to see." They see urban exploration as a "more tantalising option"than "the mall and the television screen," and a way to find alternatives to "state-mediated historical interpretation."
One the one hand, Garrett's tales of UE make me curious, not just about the places he visits, but about my own city as well. What might I discover underground, or in some abandoned buildings, or in a construction site? How difficult would it be to on top of Fort Worth's tallest buildings?Read more ›
Number one, this is the first book I've ever read in which the paper the book was printed on was so thick that it was a constant struggle to hold the book open! No fault of the author of course, but I feel it was definitely a shortcoming of the publisher.
Second, much of the book was filled with philosophical comments on the subject of urban exploration. Nothing wrong with that of course, except for the fact that I had difficulty understanding many of those comments. For example, here's one: ‟Despite its weavings into the mythologies of the sublime, urban exploration is not an escape from or a transcendence of the physical, but a challenge to the very boundaries of deeply embodied substance dualisms.‟ Huh?? Other than (far too many) things like that, a worthwhile read.
This book reminds me of "Unseen Versailles"--a book out of print but one that captured Versailles before the palace was restored to within an inch of its life. I think that humans are hard wired to love ruins, and in this case, Garrett explores many modern ruins, besides climbing cranes that overlook modern cities. I do wish that Garret and his crew covered more historical, old buildings, but can assume that surveillance cameras prevent this.
In this high risk dream world explored by "arrested" adolescents, I hope for nothing but future safety for all the characters ...may they survive their adventures, and then really do something RISKY: raise a family, pay taxes, put up with a bad boss and annoying in laws, car payments and paying for braces
but wait...that would be WAY too dangerous for most urban explorers...in comparison, dangling cranes and slippery bridges are a walk in the park.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just. Wow. You can get a PhD in made up words like "place hacking"? This devalues all PhDs, people that worked hard to earn real ones must be upset by this. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Pen Name
The online review made it sound like Ruin Porn. What you get is somebodys badly written dissertation. Read morePublished on March 12, 2014 by Bob
Photography is terrific! Very interesting book in for those looking for unusual experiences in their own back yard. Would recommend.Published on December 21, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I write as someone deeply interested in UE and in scholarship. I admire much of the work here and found it a compelling read. Read morePublished on December 20, 2013 by Gunner
I've been a keen reader (or should I say viewer) of urban exploration books for many years. Most of them are just photo books and don't ever talk about why they are doing what they... Read morePublished on November 10, 2013 by John Chambers
This book is full of interesting insights and commentary on urban exploration. Garrett's descriptions are often beautiful and haunting (at least, when he's not... Read more