And it makes us uncomfortable because it reminds us of death, but we're still into it.

While ruin porn is a fetishized art form that has a lot of parallels (good and bad) to traditional pornography, it is not just about sex. Ruin porn is both grotesque and attractive because it reminds us of our own mortality. As Kyle Chayka summed it up in Hyperallergic this January, "Detroit ruin porn functions as just such a momento mori, a call to remember that the same fate as Motor City could befall all of our great cities, all of our unstable accomplishments." The same way that the Old Masters included images of death in their works, we're attracted to the decaying images of Detroit.

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