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Ceci n’est pas l’architecture

8 Aug

[Apologies, fans & muses, for my absence]

I have spent the last few hours chewing through Kester Rattenbury’s book, a collection of essays entitled “This is Not Architecture” (2009). It is one of the few I have found published, that deals exclusively with contemporary architectural media [no doubt because I don’t know enough – point me towards others if you do!]
I’m not allowed to embed things here for now but click the picture to go the googlebooks page. 

Most of what I’ve read so far discusses visual representation of architecture – both in terms of production and dissemination – in somewhat greater depth than that of text, writing, or verbal discourse. Instead the book purports to let the breadth of writing styles apparent in the many essays speak on behalf of the variegation of voices to be acknowledged on this topic.

For the first few minutes of reading Kester’s introduction, I played with switching the word “representation” for something like “discussion” or even “literature”. Of course, the positions of image and text have contributed entirely unique effects and each has their own field – this was just a game of word substitution. So, changing every occurence of the word “representation” to the verbal realm, and correspondingly using “representation” to stand in place of the “verbal” references of writing & literature. I’ll try to upload a photoshopped result of my game below later, until then you can try it yourself with this low-rent screengrab of a sample paragraph. 

[Needless to say after playing my game for a bit, I had to go back and start again, this time reading the words as they were expertly placed.] 
Kester’s own chapter in the book – an account of the political ministrations & mediations of the architectural press and establishment during the British 1980s – has given me a slap around the face, with regards to tackling the political potential of blogs.. and the res publica.. pushing me to climb the Habermas edifice at last?!!