The end of the world in Bradford

bunker chairs

Bradford is a suitable location for an above ground art bunker to display pictures of the real bunker.

Hollowed out, the survivors fending for themselves – the back draft from the big bang took it out sometime time ago. But nobody in London bothered to man any kind of emergency control centre over that one.

Why? Why was someone allowed to photograph this major emergency response bunker? This isn’t Corsham with its dusty teleprinters out of date decades before its final decommissioning. Or any other cold war tourist attraction. This is the real thing. Where you really would go if you needed to be deep underground, with blast doors, decontamination chambers, a TV studio, map rooms, several months supplies of boot polish and toothpaste. The question of why the photographer was let in is not answered -because nobody really knows. Some gap in the Whitehall / military bureaucracy where someone left a door half ajar to the idea that this might be the ultimate in open government. Here we are – you see we really do at least have half a plan for the end. There really is a bunker. When it will be just us and Polaris. Some kind of message is being sent. Perhaps we all get bored at work. This is where we work. The last thing you will never see. Sharing the joke – just for a moment. A touch of mockery. Now you see it, now you don’t.

The catalogue furnishings, the studied banality. Hard to suppress the feeling that it’s a fake. Iain Sinclair and Tom Clancey next to each other on the bookshelf – too neat! Hard to suppress a feeling of giddiness. A determined resigned little incubus. Resting and not resting. Down there.

The most disturbing pictures were of the bedrooms – and the shelves full of pillows in the store rooms. Bedrooms with no windows. I could see the way you could live down there during your hours on duty. But in bed – the idea of respite and release – and of waking up again? The dreams of the suffocation of children.

 

Chris Petit on ‘The Last Things’

John Pevirolaris on ‘The Last Things’

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