2 Years

What began as a walk through Richmond's historic downtown became an independent research project partially funded by VCUarts. NTHNG MSSNG explores the life of 50 vacant buildings which were on the cusp of redevelopment. Over the course of 2 years, I developed partnerships with real estate developers to gain access to the world behind these facades to find some pretty breathtaking disrepair and eccentric remains of lives past.

In an effort to understand the decline of the neighborhood over the past century, I spent a lot of time at Richmond’s history museums, sifting through sanborn maps and rediscovering the magic of perhaps the most helpful research tool, the yellow pages.

This part of the research resulted in short descriptions about each building and a comprehensive visualization of a century of neighborhood decline. Through making this, I realized that you can document and document and document, but that rote documentation won't always offer a story.

Once I felt I had seemingly exhausted the data, I explored other ways to tell the story of the space — through activating the spaces through events, or through artistic explorations around found artifacts. The name derives from an artifact I found in the rubble of an old photography studio — a check with the slogan “Nothing Missing but the Voice” printed below their logo.

I wrote the book with the understanding that its value would increase over time, as the neighborhood changes, and as the buildings get developed. Currently, there is one copy of the book. But in a few years, I plan on peppering new coffee shops, offices, and galleries with copies of the book.