Following on yesterday’s post about the possible consequences of urban exploration is a brief review of a beautiful documentary series on the subject. Crack the Surface, from the people behind the urbex blog Silent UK, is a documentary series that, in part, answers the essential question of why people would risk their safety, and the possibility of serious legal trouble in some situations, in order to take a look at what’s behind the scenes in cities all over the world (though Silent UK focuses primarily on the UK and Europe). The two episodes out so far intersperse interviews with footage from the exploration of various sites in the UK, France, The US, and Canada.
While the interviews with various explorers were interesting and provided some perspective on why someone would get involved in such a hobby, it was the footage of actual exploration that struck me and kept me watching. Although I’m not bold enough to actually participate in any serious urbex, I find the pastime fascinating, and I was mesmerized by the footage of subway tunnels, sewers, and other unseen parts of our world. These scenes are backed up by a dubstep soundtrack that never felt obnoxious or intrusive.
One theme which cropped up again and again in both episodes was that of personal responsibility. You shouldn’t be surprised to know that opinions on this subject vary from those who feel that if you get hurt because you don’t know what you’re doing then it’s your own damn fault to those who say that they would feel awful if they knew that someone else had gotten hurt trying to explore a location they had posted pictures from. In the end, the subjects all agree that common sense reigns, which I was glad to hear.
If you’re willing to invest forty minutes into watching these two videos, you will not find their time wasted, and if you’re like me, you’ll eagerly await any news of an Episode III.