Echoes of Forgotten Places: Urban Exploration, Industrial Archaeology and the Aesthetics of Decay

A snail's pace crawl through the usually exciting world of urban exploration, Echoes effectively reduces the practice to an extremely boring and sanitised documentary that feels like something you'd be forced to watch in high school geography class. The 40-odd-minute film features sluggish, hyperbolic narration and unbearably lame Yoga studio-style backing music by the Cocteau Twins's Robin Guthrie. Interviews with "explorers" and "industrial archaeologists" harp on about "forgotten places," the importance of maintaining historical relics and, the most eye-rollingly cheesy part, the important ethics of not tagging, vandalising or doing graffiti on/in these magnificent, beastly old buildings. If you can stay awake, the doc will take you through short explorations of old industrial factories and spaces, work places, storm drains and tunnels (at the end of which the narrator claims "it's like being reborn." Fuck!). The viewer follows explorers, narrators and unending panned shots through 125 still images by Kendall Anderson. The drawn-out monologues that repeat the same overly dramatic sentiments about beauty, senses of wonder, mystery and awe, humbling experiences and other new age-y bullshit are intolerable. But the absolute worst part about Echoes is how badly it misrepresents a practice that is genuinely fun, interesting and exciting. For those interested in truly exploring the hidden parts of their cityscape, Ninjalicious's Infiltration zine at www.infiltration.org is a resource leagues ahead of this misguided DVD. (Scribble, www.scribblemedia.com)