I have always been drawn to empty buildings, particularly ruins, spaces that were once complete, populated, and now stand and fall, ghost-like and desolate.

In Cork this weekend, I chanced upon an intriguing exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery. It contains a single piece, an 8 minute film by Martin Healy, called Last Man.

Filmed in the now de-comissioned Cork Airport Terminal, the piece depicts the movements of a solitary janitor as he maintains the empty building. Initially, it feels as if we are watching a lone worker as he prepares the terminal for the busyness of tomorrow. But tomorrow never materialises, the building remains in a state of emptiness, a place of non-happening, that is ultimately and irreparably abandoned.

As I left Cork airport today, from the new inhabited and alive terminal, I glanced at its cast aside and melancholic predecessor. Yet disused buildings are not necessarily empty in the absolute sense. Memories remain, and the ruins continue to live as unique repositories for melancholy, and for the artistic imagination.

CQ

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