The Armour Meat Packing Plant is a massive industrial complex just north of East St. Louis, Illinois. The plant started operations in 1902 and was a technological marvel for its time. In fact, tourists came from all over the world to see its massive flywheels powered by steam engines that ran state-of-the-art refrigeration systems. The plant was so efficient that it could process tens of thousands of cattle, hogs, and sheep every day. Animals were delivered to the site on boxcars and were unloaded and herded up four stories of inclined passageways to the slaughterhouse. Once killed, the various parts of the carcasses were shunted off to various processing rooms on the lower levels where they were packed into new train cars for distribution across the country. Labor disputes, unsettled race relations, and aging technology eventually led to the plant's closure in 1959. In lieu of back taxes, the company donated the complex to the city. It has been abandoned ever since, deteriorating from harsh weather, fire, and vandalism.
I visited the site in early 2014 and took dozens of photos. At times, I felt a bit apprehensive - both because I was somewhere I probably shouldn't be, and because one misplaced step would lead me plummeting several stories through the crumbling infrastructure.
After returning safely home, I picked several of my favorite shots and processed them into high-contrast images. I used these positives to burn the stencils for my photoemulsion coated silk screens. Prior to printing the photos, however, I first printed both solid grey backgrounds and spot colors for each image. The prints are all 5x7 inches on heavyweight cotton paper. And in keeping the theme of the packing plant, I used single-faced corrugated board for matting the prints.
Individuals (mat=8"x10"; print=5"x7"):
Full Set Array (32"x40"):