Saturday, May 15, 2010

What remains

Tunnel for the sake of tunneling.

If you've noticed the ghost remains of bricked up windows, stairways that lead to sealed over doors, bridges and walls that were only partially built, you've detected Thomassons.

Akasegawa Genpei coined the term 'hyperart' to describe urban objects and structures that had grown defunct and useless over time, but for reasons of economy or lack of concern were never removed or destroyed. Instead, they became part of the landscape and maintained accordingly. Akasegawa specifically named the odd items, "Thomassons" after American League outfielder Gary Thomasson, who signed with the Japanese baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants. Although he was highly paid, he performed poorly, nearly setting a record for strikeouts.

Once useful, but now extinct.

Akasegawa wrote a magazine column, regularly describing the Thomassons he discovered and developed a following with readers who also sent in photos of curious, futile objects. The collection of columns and photos were published as a book, released in Japan.

The English version is now available.


Elizabeth Fama said...

This reminds me of "Forgotten Chicago," a web site that documents the physical traces of history in the city (for example, the attachment points of torn-down bridges across the Chicago River, defunct street numbers, and old streetcar turnarounds).

Susan said...

That's an interesting site! I just read their post on telephone exchange numbers; my Chicago number began with 'FA4'--the letters stood for Fairfax, though I never thought to question why.