Creating Urban Life Out of Decay

Peter Aspden celebrates the symbolism communicated in the transformation of the detritus of industry into loci for cultural regeneration, as represented by the Tate Modern and its planned expansion.

Aspden uses the transformation of London's Bankside power station into the Tate Modern art museum, and the coming debut of first stage of the gallery's expansion into the former power station's two giant oil tanks, to make a larger point about artists' "use the debris of a fallen age as props with which to sketch out new tomorrows."

Aspden celebrates the project's symbolic connection to Britain's wider post-industrial shift, and the ability of artists to see opportunities for regrowth, "Where we see decay and disorder."

"If Britain's past was based on the muscular manufacture of things, its future seems increasingly entwined with the ethereal flow of ideas. While that may understandably provoke a feeling of insecurity, it is no bad thing. The future belongs to supple minds, not stretched sinews. Britain did well as an industrial powerhouse. But we are in a different place now. To be a world leader in culture is to promote openness, tolerance, fresh thinking."

Full Story: When industry gives way to art

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