Having recently written an article for the popular web-platform Archinect, I’ve been reconnected to an area of interest in architecture that I've left largely untouched for the last few years: that of architectural criticism. This interest for me was then, as it is now, largely concerned with the how such works should be derived – favouring, personally, a method that communicates buildings more as something we experience in daily life and less of something that is objectively rendered on the page.
Returning to this space now after many months away travelling, I wanted to engage with a couple of things that came up over this period but I first want to address the character of my trip in general; for while I did not set out with the intention of creating some esoteric exercise to report on (but instead simply desired to “see” and “explore” the world), it wasn’t long before it began to take on such a quality as it evolved alongside my other interests and concerns at the time.
Finally, having more or less finished the portfolio section of this website, I want to give a little time to this space and some of the subjects that have been mounting up over the last few months. But, before I move away from my past work entirely, I do want to quickly shine a light on a project that didn’t make it into my portfolio (for lack of sufficient depth) but which had, in my opinion an interesting hypothesis and potential for further investigation.
A while back now, I came across the work of Swedish artist, Anastasia Savinova and her Genius Loci. A series of architectural collages intended to grasp the identity of a city or place through its architectural consistency. While this work deserves a spotlight all on its own, I wanted to highlight a few of my own compositions, which, much like Anastasia’s, intended to capture the essence of a place through a photographic montage.
Recently, I’ve been digging through some old work in a bid to put a new portfolio together and in doing so I’ve come across this unpublished article I wrote back in the summer of 2014. The article is a continuation of some ethnographic research I did with a squatting community in North London, earlier that year. It has a very strong polemic narrative throughout, which in hind-sight I regret a little but it is, at least, a good reflection of where my head was at during this time… (that is, alone in a French country house surrounded by stacks of Marxist theory - so it was to be expected). Enjoy.
I’m sure it comes with little surprise, to anyone that’s spent even a modest amount of time in Europe, that Paris is somewhat of a “Mecca” for graffiti. Some of it very much artistic, a portion of it largely destructive and the vast majority of it located somewhere in between. It might come as a surprise though – as it did for me – that in Paris, this is not simply a “static” affair, limited to billboards, gable walls and overpasses, but also a “mobile” one, frequently inscribed onto many of the city’s ‘goods’ vehicles.
Sometimes, just sometimes, we are rewarded for those impulsive hours we spend on websites such as ‘Reddit’. For, while much of what we flick through is, of course, interesting for that fleeting moment, rarely does anything stay with us long term or, rarer still, have a direct consequence to something we might already consider, ‘interesting’.
I wanted to just quickly make some comments on an art installation I came across a couple of weeks ago, which until recently I had not quite made up my mind on what to think about it. While rummaging around the expansive flee markets of the 18th arrondissement, we came across, quite by chance, a quiet yet well frequented compound which housed, alongside a small collection of antique boutiques and an appealing burger bar, the Untilthen gallery. A contemporary art space accommodated within an old steel framed warehouse.