Ill-Studio's 'Then & Now' explores the reconstruction of deconstructed buildings

ILL STUDIO / THEN&NOW

Have you ever watched a demolished building reconstruct itself? Well, now you can thanks to ‘Then & Now’ a collaboration between Ill-Studio and Belgian electronic group Soulwax, who provided the soundtrack.

The project serves as a concept piece merging an “imaginary encounter” between Robert Smithson’s essay A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey and archive footage from contractors demolishing buildings. The creative agency says Then & Now “draws attention to the ruins of 20th century as seen through the prism of modernity” where the lines between past and future are blurred.

Here are two quotes that illustrate ‘Then & Now’ perfectly:

The buildings don’t fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise as ruins before they are built.

I should now like to prove the irreversibility of eternity by using a jejune experiment for proving entropy. Picture in your mind’s eye the sand box divided in half with black sand on one side and white sand on the other. We take a child and have him run hundreds of times clockwise in the box until the sand gets mixed and begins to turn grey; after that we have him run anti-clockwise, but the result will not be a restoration of the original division but a greater degree of greyness and an increase of entropy.

Of course, if we filmed such an experiment we could prove the reversibility of eternity by showing the film backwards, but then sooner or later the film itself would crumble or get lost and enter the state of irreversibility. Somehow this suggests that the cinema offers an illusive or temporary escape from physical dissolution. The false immortality of the film gives the viewer an illusion of control over eternity—but “the superstars” are fading.

Excerpt from A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey by Robert Smithson

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