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  Schism Matrix by Bruce Sterling

Week 8


Man, they sure do hate trains in Detroit. What the Motor City did to that train station, most towns wouldn't do to a doghouse. You know, I've been inside that vast ruin, and the best photos can't do it justice, though these come close. The place is uncanny. It's truly unheimlich.



Resident alien on Sterling lawn

My neighborhood is noted for bizarre lawn displays in the holiday season. For Christmas 2001, this mysterious reindeer centaur appeared in my own front yard.

She's supposed to be distributing peppermints to the local children, but for some reason I can't pretend to understand, people keep giving her cash.



There's no ruin quite like a giant industrial ruin. Andrew Carnegie made a lot of money out of this steel mill, and now it's inventing a new visual vocabulary of raw decline.

These intimate close-ups of the pipes are my favorites.

You have to wonder: why is all that metal still there? It's not as if anybody loved the place. Couldn't somebody chop up all that steel in the steel mill and feed it to a steel mill?



If rusty hardware alone fails to deliver sufficient frisson, consider this German website. It appears to be run by an entire art-movement of guys who do photo shoots of industrial ruins -- with nude models.

Note the studiously detached, Ballardian expressions on the women on this website who are *not* professional models. I'd be guessing they are wives and girlfriends. And I'd be really wondering about the conversations that preceded this activity.

Warning: if you find peeling paint, shattered walls, and exposed wiring offensive, please, don't even look here.



The great Veruschka Lehndorff from her mind-boggling "Transfigurations" photo album. It's as if she's become so sick of being a '70s supermodel that she's decided to melt into the landscape.

This is the kind of assertive, conscious, feminist nudism that men find really disappointing. It's like: "Hey wait a minute! She's naked and pretty, but *so ingenious that I can barely see her!* Hey, what about *me,* what about *my* needs?"

Oh yeah, here I stand, handsome; walk right through me! A lotta good it'll do ya.

"It's *not even fair!* She's buck naked but she *put on so much make-up* that she vanished right into the forest!" If you're a woman, you look at an image like this and think: "Oh yeah. That's it. I have days like that all the time."


Bruce Sterling writes books like Darwin watched animals. Find out more about him, and read tattered electronic copies of Cheap Truth, at the Bruce Sterling Online Index. He lives with his wife Nancy and their two daughters in Austin, Texas.

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