Churches from above

I posted recently about the discovery of a triangular church, which seems to me to be a fairly rare phenomena, and one which had a particular, if restricted, heyday in the 1960s. The form interests me not so much in itself, than in its relation to the suburban areas in which they appeared. Looking at the area around the Ham church, this area was developed pretty much at the same time as the churches were built, so I expect the church was designed into the masterplan for the area, as a focal point both spiritually and physically (the particular road arrangement around the Ham church which led me to notice it in the first place places it at the end of one of the main road entrances to the estate).

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archive of the Disrupting Narratives symposium at tate Modern

I’ve just seen (via neural.it) that the recording of the excellent Disrupting Narratives symposium—which I attended last month—has been added to the tate’s website.

On a side note, and this may be old news, but tate are using a new video player (produced by BT, using Flash apparently) which seems to be of better quality and easier to use than the old one.

tatedisrupt.jpg

My friend Yumiko and I at the end of the symposium.

In suburbia

St Richards Church of England Ham

St Richards Church of England Ham

Suburbia, for me a quasi-magical set of places. There are obviously many suburbias, I grew up in one of them, and I’ve lived in a few others, and I know there are many more out there somewhere. But I would never want to visit them on purpose. They are places you have to be, only if you have to be there – you would never just visit them on their own account, perhaps? Very often they are not even places you pass through, they’re spurs off the main roads, usually not shortcuts to anywhere else, they occupy tracts of land between the major areas, the areas with a meaning, filling in gaps. They are ringed by mini-roundabouts, protected by sleeping policemen, cul-de-sacs.

The cul-de-sac! Unless you lived in one they were off-limits. You wouldn’t enter a cul-de-sac without a definite intent, and destination (or were lost?). There was one just around the corner from the house where I grew up, I walked past it every day I went to primary and then junior school, but I have never been into it. I didn’t fantasize about it, but it remains to this day a blank place.

And what of wanderings about suburbia, the endless roads, the sameness punctuated by sudden change, the places where I was lost for a while, but then unexpectedly—and with so much relief—found the connecting path through to a known area. How terribly nostalgic it all is. It feels so dangerous, this reverie, so thoughtless. What does it mean to dwell on and in these places?

好久不见

This post is dedicated to my fiancée, Shi, from whom I’ve been away from for far too long and won’t be seeing again until October, this absence proving far more difficult to handle than I expected.

So, in my Chinese lesson today, I learned how to say “long time no see” which seemed appropriate to our situation, so here it is:

好久不见

我爱你 诗 xxxxxx

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Writing as value

I’ve now finished reading the selection of Roland Barthes’ essays published under the title Image, Music, Text. From these I can see how Barthes’ writings straddled both Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, in that they very strongly reveal systems at play in texts, while adding a definite historical context and contingency to those readings.

There were a couple of things which interested me that I’d like to write about. First I wanted to take a quick look at the last text in the book: Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers (Barthes, 1971, pp. 190–215), in which he lays out the distinct roles that these take in relation to the social production and activity of the Text.

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