Deconstruction, demolition, removal, erasure. These actions reverse something that exists; they chart a course from presence to absence. After what is useful has been collected, the rubble is carted away to reveal a shadow, a scar, or a ghostly trace shaped by the remaining surroundings. To expose and embrace the steps by which demolition transpires, however, is to both resist invisibility and retain memory—to see that the materials belong equally to the past and the future.
Throughout the decades, the building at 3721 Washington Boulevard cheated its own mortality, shape-shifting with the intentions of many owners and inhabitants. And yet, despite the defiant presence of historical structures, material substance often fails from the persistence of time. Deemed structurally unsound after 96 years, its exterior was painted gold in a communal gesture of honor and respect. Now demolished, the building enters into a cycle of loss and renewal, of disappearance and reemergence.
The rust-belt cities, shrinking cities have been shrinking for as much time as they have been growing. These are fascinating to the Subtraction project because the failure is so spectacular that something almost magical happens, where all of the kind of trafficked mortgage products stop being trafficked mortgage products and turn back into heavy landscapes and houses again. Things back in a gravitational field, things made of material, things that have taxes due, mold in the pool, you know. They go back to being kind of obdurate objects. And that is fascinating because it kind of prompts a parallel market. It means that one has to deal with the market of spatial variables. One has to trade in spatial variables, not only financial variables. Because the financial variables have failed.