Friday, December 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When A City Falls

The film of Christchurch's earthquakes...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Side Effects: The Memory of Place: a Preview

Side Effects: The Memory of Place: a Preview: In order to entice any potential readers into buying my forthcoming book, "The Memory of Place" (official release date: 15/01/12), Amazon.c...

Robinson in Ruins

Patrick Keiller talks about the film here

Friday, October 7, 2011


To the Islands

To the islands:
The Architecture of Isolation

Urs Bette
Jacqueline Bowring
Margit Bruenner
Michael Chapman
Jennifer Harvey
Russell Lowe
Michael Ostwald
Sean Pickersgill

Jennifer Harvey and Sean Pickersgill

Karen Burns, Jennifer Harvey & Sean Pickersgill

Exhibition launch
6pm Wednesday 28 September

Exhibition open
Tuesday 27 September - Friday 21 October

This exhibition will explore the latent architectural qualities in the idea of the 'island'. The participating artists and architects were asked to examine the text of Lucian of Samosata's 'True Stories' and the surreal islands described in the voyage. The artists have brought the thematics of these texts into contemporary experience, exploring the idea that islands may represent both symptoms and solutions to the experience of isolation.

SASA Gallery

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

(Because sometimes you need The Jam....)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of Time and the City

Terence Davies (2008) Of Time and the City
.... thinking of memories, hauntings, things gone astray ....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


What is the threshold between the laws of physics and those of metaphysics? At what point is the crossing into the world of the seemingly impossible, incomprehensible, ineffable? Where is the boundary between life and art? The image, above, is not (intentionally) an environmental art work ... but the rubble of my home, sitting on the driveway fractured by the force of the quake. Following the earthquake the house, the core of 'dwelling' is metamorphosed. The physical boundedness evaporated, and the building subsequently distilled, decanted, into a mere pile of materials. The material becomes immaterial, in both senses of the word. Things become simultaneously without tangible form, and also inconsequential. The prior priorities of what dwelling implied are re-formulated. Aspirations to an ambience of beautifully proportioned spaces, volumes of light, a garden of different pleasures, gives way instead to the most rudimentary of concerns. The garden transformed into a toilet, the house made into a kind of shed for living. Nothing else really matters. Thoughts turn inwards into the contemplative realm, of a wish to transcend the banality of existence, to somehow rise above this.

The earthquake not only shattered life, but also profoundly spoke of a temporal existence beyond the ephemerality of our own lives. Of something ancient. The violent shaking, this geological Tourette's syndrome of abrupt episodes of random utterances, brings about thoughts of mythological dimensions. The earthquake inevitably morphs into a sinister presence.

It all just seems too impossible, too abstract, too surreal. Might it be that this is all an elaborate performance art exhibit. At some time soon the sky cloth will be pulled back to reveal our 'real' city still intact behind, the lives, the buildings, all returned?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Phantom Limb

It has gone. It is no longer there, but I still sense it. We are not allowed to go there, into the inner city. Still cordoned by an iron ring of ironically camouflaged army personnel, the city is off limits. Too dangerous, still, one month later. Too tragic. Those who have been admitted inside the cordon, the rescuers, those with a vital task, say we will not believe how awful it is. It has gone, nearly everything has gone. The beloved big moments and small moments that make the city, that were a vital part of what we were, amputated. The smell, they say, is unbearable. Fish markets, butcheries, cafes, now for a month with no electricity. The flowers sit outside florists, or tumbled onto the footpaths. Cafe tables and chairs where they were left...

But unable to ground truth it, to confirm it with my own eyes, it remains phantasmic. Although I did manage to stare down towards the Cathedral, and yes there was no spire. As though someone had photoshopped it out, erased it, it seems so impossible. Is the entire event a piece of theatre? Will we sometime soon sail into the sky cloth like Truman Burbank? Suddenly it will be revealed that this was staged, like the moon landing? It is so traumatic, so spectral, so invasive, so evasive? At our homes there is no respite. Things here are profoundly abnormal. It is, as they say, business as unusual. The new normal. The defamiliarised, the strangely unbeautiful... where are the edges of such a thing?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Inside the Red Zone

14 minute video played at the opening of the outdoor Memorial Service for those lost in the 22 February earthquake, in Hagley Park, Christchurch, yesterday. There were plans for a walk-through of the area within the Red Zone - the core of the CBD which is still out of bounds - but it is still too dangerous. So ... turn up the sound ... Inside the Red Zone...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

For those wanting to help after the devastating earthquake here in Christchurch on 22nd February 2011, donations are very much needed, and the government has set up an international appeal: Christchurch Earthquake Appeal

Many thanks.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wings of Desire

"Once we give up the belief that our life-world is rooted in the ground, we may thus come to a point where ungroundedness is no longer experienced as existential anxiety and despair but as a freedom and lightness that finally allows us to move."
John Rajchman (1998) Constructions

Friday, February 4, 2011


Anna Calvi, Moulinette ... (album just released ...)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Before After

What next for Christchurch ... how does a city bounce back after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (and its attendant multitude of aftershocks... now numbering 4,170)?

Before After

Sow the Salt

Thomas Feiner, Steve Jansen ... plumbing the depths of the sublime

Monday, January 31, 2011

Heimlich / Garten

Exploring uncanny landscape ... the Freudian looping of the Heimlich and the Unheimlich ... roaming the garden ... time for new adventures. First, a mental field trip (owing to the limitation of funds), to the Pitzhanger Manor-House in Ealing, West London. Designed by John Soane in 1800, and reverberating with a suitable presence, the manor is home to the PM Gallery, currently hosting The Witching Hour: Darkness and the Architectural Uncanny.

Here are images that cast us in to the twilight zone of marginal spaces, liminal times. Places of palpable poignancy, latent terror, suffused with sinister seething .... double takes, absences, surreality. Channelling Magritte, limning Hopper-esque moments, communing with Bill Henson ...

David Rowan Pacha Kuti (PK808)

Ravi Deepres, Lisbon, 2006

Toby de Silva, Jack (Annie Chapman), 2006