Afterdays Media focuses on archaeological views of our contemporary culture. Artifacts, art, or cultural phenomena that picture us in the past tense.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dead Pop 101: The Dixie Square Mall

The walking corpses that infested the Monroeville Mall in the legendary 1979 film Dawn of the Dead eventually had a more plausible, non-fictional parallel. The malls themselves became the zombies. By the late 1980s, we learned that Shopping Pop could die, rot, and become a mildewed tourist attraction for certain kinds of explorers. Dead Pop, Rotted Pop, Resurrected Pop.

The same year that Dawn of the Dead was released in theaters across the country, the Dixie Square Mall in the Chicago suburb of Harvey was closed due to a rising crime rate and falling property values. The shopping center stood empty and sealed for several years. It was used in an infamous car chase scene in the movie The Blues Brothers. The mall remained abandoned, and quickly began to decompose. 

By the 1990s, what remained of the shopping center had become an end-of-the-world destination for urban explorers. The ruins of Dixie Square are perhaps the most oft-photographed example of suburban decay to be found on the internet.  After three decades of abandonment, this symbol of dead-pop is now being torn down. And the demolition feels oddly historic.

1 comment:

  1. When were the abandoned pictures taken? Looks like somewhere between 1997-2003?