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Link - article by Mark Obstfeld and Avi Abrams

Never Obsolete: From Generating Electricity to Generating Art

Some power stations are destined to fall into ruins, yet some are starting to be recognized as monuments to technology and a source of artistic inspiration, and still others are even being converted into ultra-modern shopping malls and theme parks.

I find this trend highly fascinating, as we continue with our series featuring the most sublime abandoned power stations - the ones that linger in our subconscious, generating bittersweet emotions and inspiration instead of good old electricity.

(Richmond Power Station, image credit: Joseph E. B. Elliott)

("Sunshine Turbine" inside Richmond Power Station - image credit: Ethan A. Wallace)

The Pink Floyd Power Plant: Pigs, Tanks, and Avant Garde

In our first part, London-based photographer Mark Obstfeld - a good friend of DRB - showed us London’s fascinating and historic abandoned substations. Today, we are delighted to feature his photographs of the Battersea Power Station, taken in late 2006 when the plant was opened for an exhibition of Chinese art (it is rarely open to the public).

Pink Floyd fans will recognise this structure instantly - Floyd hung a pink inflatable pig between the two front towers for the cover of their 1977 Animals album. "The inflatable pig was tethered to one of the power station's southern chimneys, but broke loose from its moorings and, to the astonishment of pilots in approaching planes, rose into the flight path of Heathrow Airport. Police helicopters tracked its course, until it landed in Kent." (more info).

(images via)

The station also appeared in a number of movies, including Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage, The Beatles' movie Help!, and Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket (with many scenes shot inside the station).

Wandering around in the gloom and mystery of Battersea shattered interiors, you can find yourself face-to-face with... a tank:

The tank was a part of exhibition which took place in 2006 inside Battersea - some of the original art is visible inside one of the turbine halls as well.

(images credit: Mark Obstfeld)

Steam Turbines, Coal Fires and Brass Pipes

Another abandoned power plant with some beauty to spare (or "kept its electrifying good looks", if we may say so), is this condensing power unit at Västerås in central Sweden (built in 1915-17). Swedish photographer Jakob Ehrensvard explored it in detail, producing some evocative pictures:

The control room looks definitely well-preserved, with the 1940s-style plastic knobs, dials and a general claustrophobic feel.

Flying inside the Death Star:

Turbine Hall Sanctuary:

(images credit: Jakob Ehrensvard)

Here is an Art Nouveau-styled power station, with a strangely streamlined look:

(image credit: K-Alexander-B)

Another find inside the Richmond Power Station presents itself as a work of art:

("Sunshine Turbine" - image credit: Ethan A. Wallace)

Abandoned Mystery Site (What Could This Be?)

This particularly intriguing structure in the Caucasas Mountains near Kislovodsk, Russia, prompts all sorts of questions about its origins. A Cold War laser gun testing ground? Astrophysical observatory gone to rust?

(image credit: Olli)



Check out "Abandoned Structures" series on DRB! ->

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at the Battersea power station site a few years ago, the site was the venue for two weeks of concerts. I spent a day exploring the interior of the power station its amazing and strangely beautiful,especially the amazing control room with the brass knobs and old gauges is a steam punk dream. will try and find the pics i took.

Anonymous LittleInsect said...

Battersea Power Station is an iconic piece of Art Deco architecture, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and as such should be restored and preserved. There is a group dedicated to doing just this, and it can't come quick enough for me.

Blogger Stripey Underpants said...

I love the steampunk look of some of these places! They should be preserved as examples of industrial architecture.

Blogger naoyuki said...

It would be good for a low-budget film like Cube

Anonymous Tom said...

Some fantastic photos and info there - especially the images of Battersea Power Station. Can't believe that tank, how random is that?! I guess it must be left over from Full Metal Jacket... I've been past BPS so many times on the train and am always impressed. Great to see sime pics of the inside though. Looking forward to the redevelopment but hopefully it won't lose too much of its mystery in the process.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

More significant than Pink Floyd or Full metal Jacket, Battersea was used to fill several of the scenes in McGyver the Movie.

If you want to see what an old powerstation can become have a look at this. apologies, i think it is only in German...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As publicity for the Simpsons movie, the version of the pig from the animated movie was floated in front of this station in the same place Pink Floyd's pig was. Photos are probably still around the internet.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm. high voltage insulators. good for a collector.thats a place to go insulator hunting.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abandoned Mystery Site (What Could This Be in the Caucasas Mountains near Kislovodsk, Russia

It is a prototype of a radar tracking tower! Love you Site some great forgotten stuff on it!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Tank you see was part of an exhibition, I went to it as it made Battersea PS open to the public and always wanted to see it. From inside its very big and empty, Thatcher let the vulchers in and they stripped the place for its metal during the 1980s I'm sorry to say (that would never have happened in France!).

If anybody else went to see the exhibition do you recall the wall of Apples? It was slowly decomposing, a great piece. I also got a recording of the video playing. Oh and there was a penny machine which took pennies and you put them in and turn the machine crank with a handle, they would come out flattened with a logo on them - I still got mine. At the time it was of the shopping centre complex to be invested in by a Chinese firm, but they pulled out.

Blogger Lightning Rose said...

Battersea PS was also used as a location in the 1995 film, "Richard III".


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