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The Dead Mall project

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  • August 24, 2017
The Dead Mall project

The ever-changing landscape of retail has resulted in the stories of several abandoned malls. The Dead Malls project looks into these deserted landscapes and how the ‘retail apocalypse’ has shaped these once thriving communities. 

Retail historian and photographer, Dan bell is the mastermind behind the project, with photography and videos depicting the state of these abandoned buildings.

Over 300+ malls have been closed and deserted before demolition in the United Sates, at lot of which fuels the fire for the callings of a ‘retail apocalypse’. The project has been going for 17 years, and has documented the barren stores and buildings.

The project features neglected spaces that have been cleared and left to stand months before planned demolition. 

The project has also inspired other curious photographers to investigate these forgotten spaces. 

Film maker Dan Bell presented a Ted Talk surrounding the inner workings of his project. 

The Dead Mall series has a site and Youtube channel dedicated to showcasing the work. Although solely focused on these dead spaces, Bell does not once credit these spaces to the retail apocalpse, but rather a need for growth and expansion. 

Another deal mall project which is unrealted to Bells is run by Peter Blackbird and Brian Florence has a whole site with a map showing the geographical location of each abandoned mall. The site holds over 500+ stories with are submitted by the residents of the towns.

New Zealand's own Glenfield mall, owned by Westfield, is featured on the page. The site says the mall was given a much needed renovation in 2000 but is now seeing "cheaper accessories moving in, signalling its future demise." 

"It feels as if this mall probably won’t get an upgrade in the near future." Says contributor Benjamin Paul. "Such an expense was spent on its refurbishment twelve years ago and recent money was invested in the popular Albany Mall twenty minutes away."

The Dead Mall series can be considered ironic, as Bell uses the images that we takes inside the failed abandoned malls to fuel his career and even sells select prints online. 

Bell travels around the US, documenting all the old malls he finds. With more retail spaces set to close over the next few months, Bell has launched phase two of the series which will see more eeire photos released of desolate spaces. 

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