Monday, 12 December 2011
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Monday, 7 November 2011
I have seen three centuries and the years did not escape me, no, they piled on top and squeezed my spine.
Age pushes my weary body downwards, stuck in limbo between upright elevation and a squelchy subterranean world.
I was wide-eyed with excitement when the first train rolled into the Junction, and exuded a showy appearance.
But now my eyes are heavy, my looks embarrassingly dishevelled.
Four generations of George gave me my name as London stretched its arms and rolled out into the East End.
I protectively enveloped the families that followed the fresh lines.
A healthy dose of extra weight made room for business ambitions and new futures.
The energy of their experiences punched through the front door and rushed through my mortar veins.
Bombs have dropped around me and old friends were swept away in tiny particles.
Yet I stood resilient and proud.
I was energetic and stood tall, now my smallness wears me out.
I suffered the rash of government corruption, and played the victim in a helpless jam.
The rough orangey tongue burnt my bones right after I mistook resentment for love.
Secret instructions and greedy dreams caught me off-guard.
My walls once felt like they could survive hurricanes, and they did, now the brick feels inky, seeping into the earth.
To score some political points, my guts were torn out and my strength was debilitated with an ‘accidental’ punch to the kidney.
Stinging senses have exhausted me, as shifting moralities whirl around the grid.
I’m slumping, slowly leaning, and looking for somewhere to rest the weight of my fatigue.
Money has been exchanged between hands on my behalf, but never reached the final transaction.
There’s been talk discussing my future, I’m sick of being centre of attention, the subject line in conversations branching either side of the Atlantic.
I’m tired but my eyes are stitched open by metal bars, bruises shine from playing the rope in a tug of war.
I need to rest my trembling muscles for warping limbs cause me to trip.
The warm smell of bread, piercing floral colours and thudding music used to drum my heartbeat.
But these loyal friends were torn away and locked out by green hoarding.
Now a handful of fragile humans protect me, humiliated by the last remaining few that care.
Demolish, restore, demolish, restore, I’m tired of waiting for a decision that sticks.
Steel skeletons prop me up, or else they are performing a stop motion demolition.
I would like to go to sleep now, if someone only thought to ask me.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Tonight, there is an encounter between two unlikely characters. Or rather, two characters who do not like each other much. There was a family feud some time ago. Though it was not quite so dramatic, more a slow gathering of absence that quietly stacked up. So high, it formed a barrier between Taka and Poisha. An occasion missed here or there because of a lack of anticipation and then at one point, it just tipped. The history became arbitrary. Enough distance for some abstract resentment to be convincing.
Taka and Poisha are not geographically distant. They live on the same street in fact – at either end of Whitechapel Road. The exact point where each lives defines exactly who they are. Taka is right in the thick of it. He cocoons himself within the comfort of a tight knit community so that he might be everyone’s friend. The tip of Brick Lane, leading to a strip of professional welcomes. Whereas Poisha is out on a limb, consciously so, for just enough space to be allowed the opportunity to be introspective. Giving little away with tunnel vision towards the family. Whitechapel where it starts to change its mind.
Taka and Poisha use the street as a tool to remain a world apart. But a larger force binds them together, tugging at the invisible wires that pull the traffic through. While Taka gazes upwards to minarets among the silk weavers, Poisha curls up beneath the cross. A call for Taka to join like-minded others at the meeting place. One curious offspring of Poisha occasionally peers over to this exotic character, immersed in the centre of activity.
The disparate pair is tied by more than this road, for they are relatives. This would be difficult to spot of course, their personalities are laughably in opposition. Years spent in pursuit of splaying paths, burying the shared blood and naive experiences beyond view. Lives were once piled atop one and other, now they tilt at either end of a see-saw.
Taka and Poisha happen to be money exchange shops. Seemingly banal office types - desks, chairs, filing cabinets, wall calendars - yet filled with tales of adventures, and part of a topography that stretches to the other side of the world. Trade is embedded in the tarmac here, which unfolds and wraps itself around the tea leaves of north-eastern Bangladesh. The exchange of money runs along a streak of blue paint between skyscrapers, which gushes blue-brown through the streets of Dhaka. Travelling on two wheels from the City of Mosques to The City mosque, and back again.
A blur of moving blue lights interrupts the quiet pause just after the small hours, just before early workers. All awake at a tower composed of blue rectangles in the middle of the road, where either end is brought together. Taka is ill, a devastating tear in the routine of normality. The reason is not a lifetime of self-indulgence or reckless attitude to health. Instead, it is something that was there all along, squeezing ever-tightly.
Taka needs a piece of strength from another body to survive. It must be someone with an ingrained bond; Poisha knows it must be him. He does not feel the family connection anymore, he has carved himself a sense of belonging where he is happy; he still knows it must be him. Through bleary eyes, he sees with great clarity a character that lives on the same street. And for this reason alone, the interests of Taka are not foreign to Poisha’s own concern.
Monday, 10 October 2011
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Bicycles are loyal companions and don’t complain much,
they get us home in the rain, we leave them outside while we’re in the pub.
Then as soon as something goes wrong, that isn’t even their fault,
we take our anger out on them and they get forgotten about.
It’s about time we showed our wheely friends a bit of love...
And what better than with these dotingly tailored cards?
Monday, 5 September 2011
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
our contribution comprises a short story and illustration based on observations of two businesses on whitechapel high street.
pick up a copy at all good outlets along the high street. maybe get inspiration for the next issue.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Saturday, 9 July 2011
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
piecing together the [story] behind the anomaly :
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
here are three foods for your thinking :
1. Slinkachu [above] : look up, look down, zoom in, recycle, make up a story
2. Psychogeographing [the word psychogeography comes from DeQuincey's wanderings, slightly druggy, no pattern, mapping out the city in a dream-like state. Then with Walter Benjamin and the Situationists the term becomes more extreme, a matter of taking very conceptual decisions about the walking you would do and how you would access the city like that] Iain Sinclair 1999
3. many small parts make an unexpectedly massive whole : think small
please email your handiwork to firstname.lastname@example.org by end of play on Friday 1 April
the issue will be in an a5 format, as before, but I encourage creativity within those limits
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
matzine#8 : call for submissions
Domestic Exotic entails an uncovering of the unfamiliar in the familiar, which causes a sudden shift of comfort in our surroundings [positive or negative] : consider the ground as tightly packed substrata of forgotten stories or hollow, filled with colliding conversations between inhabitants, past + present : there’s a river below the road waiting to be found – perhaps the winding path, not the straight line, will take you there : i urge you to actively seek out these hidden truths… let’s make #8 an unpredictable archive!
click for the [deets]
the image above begins to suggest at the layers lurking underground – the act of descending into the cellar of the 16th century Sutton House signifies the clay source of the brick structure so unusual at that time, and thus reveals the presence of the hackney brook, buried many years ago
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
in order to explore the representation of time – the theme of matzine#7 – i immersed myself in the deeds of my childhood home : recently celebrating its 100th birthday, though with a story dating back even longer, i thought an appropriate gift to the house would to be to compile its family tree : its red brick + mortar less vulnerable than human flesh, it has the ability to experience events spanning generations : although not much different in appearance from the neighbours either side, this family tree reveals a unique language of my loyal friend
Monday, 28 February 2011
Monday, 14 February 2011
In a comprehensive introduction, Gyan Prakash punches through the walls that have, until now, restricted the debate on urban dystopia and whether it is merely a construct of Western literature and cinema. Noir Urbanisms comprises ten neatly independent essays which, collectively, allow interdisciplinary interaction. Each chapter explores dark representations of the city that have become important pieces of urban criticism, using examples from real cities.
Rubén Gallo’s essay on Tlatelolco marks the lifespan of a doomed 1960s housing complex in Mexico City. Educated in Paris, architect Mario Pani envisioned Corbusian modernism for one million sq m of new housing. The architect even designed a ‘modernist pyramid’ (a traditional symbol of human sacrifice) to loom over Aztec remains found on site. The adjacent Plaza of the Three Cultures became the scene of tragedy in 1968, when the army massacred 300 students. Further catastrophe came when the powerful 1985 earthquake caused high-rise blocks to collapse. Of Mexico’s 9000 casualties that day, thousands came from Tlatelolco. Subsequent investigations revealed a web of corruption in the construction process. Utopic visions of a Mexican identity disintegrated into a real life dystopia with ruinous pieces of architecture standing monument to megalomaniac design and corruption.
Dystopic visions are perhaps most familiar from the cinema, in such films as Blade Runner and Sin City, but this book looks towards the ‘larger apparatus of perception in the modern city’: pieces of architecture and printed press, among others. The rise of the printed press is inseparable from the rise of technology and capitalism, and its influence has forged a dependence on the image in modern society. In his essay, Topographies of Distress, David R. Ambaras concentrates on 1930s Tokyo to explore the urban representation that arose with modern journalism. Ambaras refers to the media coverage of a spate of infant deaths in the deprived area of Iwanosaka, which became the setting for the dystopic image of slum life – a reflection of the anxieties of Japan’s bourgeois class who understood poverty only through images. The increase in literacy and commuting by train fuelled the rise of newspapers and the thirst for sensationalism.
The dystopic image often acts as a warning of the dark future that awaits if we continue living the way we do. Mike Davis’ seminal Planet of Slums (2006) argues precisely this. It also exists as a representation of the existing city through a screen of anxiety. Based on perception, this infers that there are many different images of the same city existing in parallel rather than one simple view, as before; echoing the belief of French philosopher Michel Foucault, that we are living in an ‘epoch of simultaneity’. Urban dystopia has entered modern thought at a time when globalisation signals the loss of both local culture and moral frameworks.
The belief that dystopia is the opposite of utopia is challenged by the utopic visions of 20th century regimes. In discussing the emergence of cinematic criticism of the fast transition to an urban lifestyle in China, Li Zhang poses the question: Post-socialist Urban Dystopia? Independent Chinese filmmakers such as the Sixth Generation focus on the ‘insignificant’ people caught up in the forced relocation of communities into cities. ‘The visible hand of the state has been replaced by the invisible hand of the market’ says Zhang, allowing crime and violence to prosper. Setting the tone for a dystopic narrative, the ‘other Chinese city’ plays the role of protagonist in films that depict the bleakness of everyday lives. These films have catalysed democratic discussion among their audiences.
The territory for new discussion lies in the interstitial regions of the chapters; hence this is not necessarily a book to be read in order. Prakash permits a nod to the more common themes – Fritz Lang’s Metropolis earns itself an essay, for example. However, the more captivating essays are the less conventional. A potent argument emerges that the history of urban dystopia is entangled with images projected by those most anxious about the future. Ironically, these perceptions usually belong to the part of society that is comfortable and in control – and not the real-life inhabitants of the dystopic city. It is a shame that this book is presumed to target a specific academic audience; Noir Urbanisms deserves to be widely read and debated. In describing why inequalities or disasters have occurred, this becomes a lesson for the architects and urban designers master-planning cities of the future.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
#1 : meta architecture : click [here] to feast your eyes on the article as featuring on blueprint
[watch this space for # 2]