Restless Spaces

I shall soon be commencing research on a piece entitled ‘Upstairs Downstairs: Notes from the 168 Bus’ for the new Ideastap anthology, New Cartography. To get me started, some reading of other writings about the modern city:

From ‘Imaging’ in Restless Cities (Verso 2010):

I came to rely less and less on anything resembling the experiential phenomena of Surrealism and became increasingly uncertain about their political significance. Exceptional moments of natural light seemed to offer similar conceptual transformations, and produced better pictures; for many who work with photographic media, the weather is not merely analogous with a state of mind.”

Raoul Vaneigem’s Traité de savoir-vivre á l’usage des jeunes génerations (1983 translation by Nicolson-Smith):

Though not everything affects me with equal force, I am always faced with the same paradox: no sooner do I become aware of the alchemy worked by my imagination upon reality than I see what reality reclaimed and borne away by the uncontrollable river of things”.

The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre:

the fact is that the space that contains the realized preconditions of another life is the same one as prohibits what those preconditions make possible

Patrick Keiller again:

I wondered if the prohibition that Lefebvre identifies is something suspended within the spaces of a film, and, if so, whether this might explain some of the attraction, and the seemingly utopian quality, of so much film space, and why some people are willing to devote so much time and effort to making films.’

Henri Lefebvre, again:

‘The fact is that around 1910 a certain space was shattered. It was the space of common sense, of knowledge (savoir), or social practice, of political power, a space thitherto enshrined in everyday discourse, just as in abstract thought, as the environment of and channel for communications; the space, too, of classical perspective and geometry, developed from the Renaissance onwards on the basis of the Greek tradition (Euclid, logic) and bodied forth in Western art and philosophy, as in the form of the city and the town . . . Euclidean perspective space have disappeared as systems of reference, along with other former ‘commonplaces’ such as the town, history, paternity, the tonal system in music, traditional morality, and so forth. This was truly a crucial moment’

Finally, Patrick Keiller again:

In 2008, cycling along Harrow Road, I did not encounter any explosion of the ‘intense forces of atmosphere’ that are undoubtedly concealed there; but unexpected memories of earlier discoveries, at a time when it seemed possible that a dysfunctional economic orthodoxy was finally collapsing, suggested that such experiences still have some value.”

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