2011 volume 29(6) pages 1048 – 1067
doi:10.1068/d18010

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Garrett B L, 2011, "Assaying history: creating temporal junctions through urban exploration" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(6) 1048 – 1067

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Assaying history: creating temporal junctions through urban exploration

Bradley L Garrett

Received 8 October 2010; in revised form 24 February 2011

Abstract. This paper discusses the role of encounters with the past in the practice of urban exploration through ethnographic research undertaken with communities of urban explorers. Urban exploration is an activity intimately connected with places that have largely reached the end of their capitalist use-life. In this paper I argue that the practice enticingly complicates understandings of places by unveiling unexpected material traces and immaterial affordances that build resilient personal attachments where the ‘present’ tangibly intersects with the ‘past’. In the process urban exploration exposes possibilities for a cultural use-life of abandoned buildings beyond the event of abandonment, with or without formal historical interpretation.

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