Transcript & Text-based Description of Visuals – The Art of Trespassing (8.1)

0:00: black screen. “The Art of Trespassing” title card appears.

  • Sound: Camera shutter and click 0:05: Youtube search bar. Search query “urban exploration.”
    • Sound: Keyboard typing and mouse click 0:13: Two Youtubers doing a video introduction
  • Sound: What’s good Youtube? I’m back, again, with Mikey Mans- his link will be in the description. What we’re doing today is we’re going to a plane crash- uh, an abandoned clash. Gonna be pretty sick-

0:22: Five teenagers in all black against a brick wall, doing a Youtube introduction

  • Sound: Yo guys, what’s up? VJamz is back today, today we’re gonna be doing haunted house, part six.

0:29: Two teenagers at night on a street, doing a Youtube introduction

  • Sound: We’re gonna do it tonight We’re gonna make sure we get in tonight.
  • [Music cuts in, “Violin Concerto in E Flat Major, Op. 8, No. 5, RV 253 “La Tempest di mare” : I. Presto written by Antonio Vivaldi and performed by the Vienna State Opera]

 Note: Music continues through to 1:40

  • Sound: No matter what, we’re going to do this. 0:33: A house exterior at night lit by a flashlight
  • Sound: What the [expletive bleeped out by original creator]?

0:35: Several people walking through a door in an abandoned building

0:38: One of the teens kicks a red door open

0:44: empty room with pentagrams drawn on walls and floor

  • Sound: This whole place is full of devil worshipping people, or something

0:48: Teen jumps over brick wall and runs away

  • Sound: hold on, hold on, hold on-

0:50: Two teens in an abandoned room pause and run away scared

0:53: Teen being told to leave abandoned trail in forest by police officers

0:56: Two police officers asking urban explorers (off camera) to leave at night

1:00: Man breaking into a house through a window

  • Sound: [my own narration until noted]: Urban exploration, and by extension, abandoned porn photography, is the art of trespassing and recording yourself committing the crime.

1:01: Another man jumping a brick wall

1:02: Two teens jumping another wall to access the abandoned location

1:06: Youtube search results page for “urban exploration”

  • Sound: It’s so popular people have Youtube channels

1:08: A screenshot of Etsy pages selling prints of ruin porn

  • Sound: Etsy shops-

1:09: Screenshot of an “Abandoned Detroit Search Tour” webpage

  • – photography studios, all dedicated to monetizing the ruin.

1:10: a screenshot of an urban exploration video’s view count (3.1 million). 1:12: a black screen

  • Sound: However, it’s not just on the internet.

1:15: Image of a TIME cover titled “The Case for Saving Detroit”

  • Sound: In 2011, TIME Magazine commissioned two French photographers-

1:19: Image of the two said photographers

  • Sound: -Marchand and Meffre-

1:20: Picture of an empty abandoned church interior

  • Sound: – to live in Detroit and take photos of the decay for a year.

1:24: A web search for “”

  • Sound: Going to their website, you’ll find their reflection for the piece.

1:27: Screenshot of Marchand and Meffre’s reflection webpage

  • Sound: they use words like empire-

1:31: A photo of the Roman Coliseum and of the Pyramids of Giza

  • Sound: and compare them to things like the Coliseum or the pyramids.

1:33: A photo of two tall abandoned office buildings

  • Sound: But why are these burnt out buildings as interesting to them as wonders of the world?

1:40: An interview with Marchand and Meffre is cued up, their title card fades in

  • Sound: A camera shutter gearing to take a picture

1:48: A close up of Meffre’s face

  • Sound: [Marchand, in French]: We’ve been taking photos of ruins since 2001-

1:51: A close up of Marchand’s face

  • Sound: I’ve always been interested in how-

1:53: Marchand and Meffre in their exhibit, side by side

  • Sound: historical buildings are so spectacular- how will we say, the way buildings embody their time. They embody this psychology in their architecture.

2:07: A shot of Marchand and Meffre’s gallery

  • Sound: That shows this transformation- the way society turned to ruins.

2:14: Fade to black, black screen.

  • Sound: Philip Glass’ “100,000 People” begins to play (until 3:05)

2:20: TIME Magazine “The Tragedy of Detroit” overlaid an abandoned trains station

Note: All the photographs until 3:00 are Marchand and Meffre’s

2:22: Abandoned theater interior, “The Ruins of Detroit” headline overlay

2:26: Abandoned factory, “42 Staggering PHotos of Abandoned Detroit Buildings” overlay

2:30: Abandoned school, “The Ruins of Detroit” overlay

2:33: Abandoned office, “Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline” overlay

2:37: Torn photo of an an old aerial shot of the city, “America’s Broken Cities” overlay

2:40: Abandoned church, theater, and street seen from an abandoned apartment building, “Detroit: a city in decline- in pictures” overlay

2:50: Abandoned ballroom, “US Cities With The Highest Rate of Vacant Homes” overlay

2:54: Abandoned red brick house, city street, and abandoned train station “Watch Detroit’s Neighborhoods Fall into Ruins” overlay, fade to black.

3:09: black screen, “How did we get here?” title card

  • Sound: Camera, shutter and click.

3:14: BBC Newscaster at his newsdesk, delivering an opening monologue.

  • Sound: [Newscaster]: It was the home of the US motor industry, and the Motown music phenomenon. Detroit emerged from World War Two as one of America’s great industrial powerhouses, with a population of almost two million. But since the 1960s [dramatic violins cut in], it has been in decline, and last night, became the largest US city to declare bankruptcy.

3:33: archival newsreel footage from Universal- National Guard and military vehicles driving, shots of burned out buildings taken from cars

  • Sound: [Newsreel narrator]: Four days of rioting, looting, and arson rock the city of Detroit in the worst outbreak of urban racial violence this year. Entire blocks of homes become infernos. At least 36 are killed, more than 2,000 injured, and damaged topped the half billion mark.

3:51: Still archival footage with burnt buildings and people milling around outside of them

  • Sound: A new news reporter cuts into the monologue, saying “Dave, the city of Detroit today reaching a fever pitch-” before getting cut off by more reporters coming in, creating a cacophony with few distinct words.

4:08: Newsreel footage of burnt buildings, city streets, people walking around

  • Sound: The cacophony of reporters with an electronic crescendo building underneath

4:15: Sudden cut to black, typography reads in sync with the sound

  • Sound: Crescendo cuts short, reporter says “Now has more people living in poverty than cars on the streets.”

4:22: Cut to black, title card reading “The Vacant Sprawl of Detroit”

  • Sound: Camera shutter and click.

4:25: Drone footage of an abandoned factory and warehouse

  • Sound: [My own narration]: Detroit’s population decline as a result of economic collapse has created a playground for urban explorers. The US Census shows a steady decline since the late 1960s, dipping under a million by 2000.

4:40: Drone footage goes underneath the building’s underpass with corresponding numbers

  • Sound: Today, the population is almost a third of what it was at its height, coming in at 672,795.

4:47: Aerial drone shot of the factory.

  • Sound: That’s a lot of empty houses.

4:53: A map outlining the city limits of Detroit

  • Sound: Here’s a map of Detroit.

4:55: Yellow dots fade in on the map with a corresponding number.

  • Sound: Officially designated blighted lots are in yellow. There’s around 6,135 of them. However, those are just lots, empty parcels of land.

5:05: Blue dots fade in, with the number “40,077”

  • Sound: Here, in blue, is every single plot of land with abandoned buildings recommended for demolition. There’s over 40,000 of them.

5:18: Fade to black, “Paradise” title card appears.

  • Sound: To most, that’s a dying city. To urban explorers, it’s paradise.

5:20: Timelapse of a Detroit street with some text overlays corresponding to quotes.

  • Sound: Not everyone is a fan. John Patrick Leary, a professor at Wayne State University, has written about abandoned porn extensively. He says its exploitation, voyeurism, wealthy suburbanites monetizing the city’s downfall. He thinks its repulsive.

5:35: Cut to black, “Interview with an explorer” title card appears.

  • Sound: Camera shutter and click. 

5:39: Screenshot of a Youtube page with cursor movement to obtain an email address

  • Sound: [My narration] Wanting to get an insider opinion, I reached out to an urban exploration Youtube channel that operates in Detroit.

5:45: Screenshot of an email

  • Sound: To my surprise, Tony, the owner of the channel, got back to me immediately

5:50: Footage of Tony speaking to the camera in a different video

  • Sound: (phone ringing in the background) He’s the kind of guy that Leary would hate- upper middle class, suburbanite, Royal Oak. Comes down to Detroit to take photos.

5:55: Tony’s footage of urban exploration- a man going through a hole in the wall

  • Sound: [Me speaking] I just had a couple of questions for you, this shouldn’t take too- too long.
  • [Tony] Sure, no problem.

6:00: Tony’s footage of people walking down an abandoned hallway.

  • Sound: [Me] Why do you think people like abandoned photography?

6:04: Footage of an abandoned pool

  • Sound: [Tony] It’s a- it’s a thing that nobody gets to see. You don’t get to see that, it’s not, uh, it’s not normal.

6:10: Quick cuts of a stadium, a rooftop, various buildings

  • Sound: [Tony] A lot of people like, wonder, and they never get to see what’s on the other side. So, it’s cool to bring that to light. The stuff people don’t normally get to see.

6:19: More montages of abandoned places- a playground, a warehouse’s interior and exterior

  • Sound: [Me] Uh, what do you think about criticisms of it, like, cause some people that it’s exploitative or like, voyeuristic.

6:27: Montage of abandoned schools, stadium, interiors of offices and warehouses.

  • Sound: [Tony] Uh, uh, I feel it’s, if you’re- the explorers who are doing it for like history and documenting, I feel like that’s important- because, otherwise, it’s gonna crumble and nobody’s going to see it. But, the people who are actually destroying stuff- I- I, I really don’t appreciate them doing that.

6:45: Footage of Detroit streets with burnt out buildings, the city and traffic.

  • Sound: [Me] So, you kind of feel like you’re doing a service by documenting it, before it, ah, before it’s gone.

6:51: Footage of city traffic and miscellaneous buildings.

  • Sound: [Tony] Yes. Like I feel like to just, like, bring it to light, is a good thing.
  • Music: Moody atmospheric piece with piano accompaniment

6:55: Black Screen.

  • Sound: [My narration until otherwise noted] It didn’t sound exploitative to me.

6:58: Footage of Tony speaking and exploring abandoned hallways, the French photographers, more footage of warehouse interiors.

  • Sound: Tony wasn’t like the French photographers. He isn’t trying to further his own brand, and he didn’t think of himself as an artist.

7:05: Montage of abandoned factory interiors and exteriors

  • Sound: He viewed himself as a historian, like it was his job to preserve the memory of these buildings. And Tony’s right- this Detroit isn’t going to be here forever.

7:12: Campaign footage of Mike Duggan at a podium, giving a speech

  • Sound: This last winter, Mayor Mike Duggan announced a plan to demolish 10,000 abandoned buildings over the course of two years-

7:17: News footage of blight demolition programs, cranes destroying a blighted house

  • Sound: – triple the amount taken down since 2015.

7:22: Graffitied interior of a factory, abandoned warehouses B-Roll

  • Sound: Given they’re facing removal, maybe Tony is right to want to preserve the buildings, at least in memory- or maybe Leary’s right, and Tony’s just some con artist trying to monetize the ruin.

7:32: Shot of a window in a factor, drone footage of Detroit’s downtown, montage of broken factory interiors.

  • Sound: But to me, he didn’t sound that way. If reports of the city’s revival are true, maybe this is an important version of the city to remember.

7:39: Montage of Youtubers exploring and an abandoned school interior

  • Sound: Maybe all the urban explorers and photographers are doing us a service by documenting it, even if they’re not aware of it.

7:46: Fade to black, black screen.

  • Sound: Maybe. (Piano fades out)

7:50: Drone footage of a building demolition fades in, credits roll over it

  • Sound: “I Wanna Prove to You” by The Lemon Twigs plays

8:15: Fade to black

  • Sound: Song fades out.