Passage #223: 6 November 2013

Cargo Culture

There is a certain mystery to warehouses, as forms within the city. Their blankness and superhuman scale thwart attempts to connect their workings with our daily lives. We know, in the abstract, that nearly every object we touch has passed through dozens of these buildings on its way to our hands, but when we look at a warehouse, there is no sense of recognition. We see only a whitewashed volume, and we are left with just a few scattered clues as to which particular wares might be housed there: some vague signage; a smell of black pepper; a whir of machinery. Indeed, some of the buildings are rather sophisticated machines in their own right--enormous engines of sorting, moving and transformation--but they present themselves as vast opaque boxes, and we may only guess at what goes on inside.

This week, we tour the land of daunting scale and exhausting vagueness: the spaces perpetually for lease; the -tecs and -corps and other aspirational portmanteaus; the conglomerates and shell companies; the off-off-brand clothing wholesalers; the providers of unspecified "services," "solutions" and "applications." All these things and more. Join us as we find mystery, even mysticism, amid the warehouses.

Brought to you by PassageCorp, a division of Allied Yoyogenics.

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