A fantastic month here for experiments in history and theory — very fortunate for the generous support this work has received and I am happy to relay some recent adventures:
I recently returned from a trip to Malmo, Sweden for a series of lectures on nature, environment and history in architecture and landscape. One lecture was part of “Landscape Architecture Day” – an event organized by the students of SLU, in Alnarp. The talk was one of four presentations that included discussions of gender and landscape by geographer and SLU professor Kenneth Olwig, a Ranciere-inspired lecture on city, activism, and landscape by Maria Hellström Reimer, and a lecture by Danish landscape architect Ellen Marie Braae. The other event was sponsored by the FUSE group in Malmo (Future urban sustainable environments); that talk – on nature reconstruction – was paired with Per-Johann Dahl, a PhD student doing fascinating work on Los Angeles at UCLA. One of the highlights of this trip was the “Subnatural Dinner” that SLU student, Henrik Olsson hosted. We ate quite a bit of animal detritus, which required a combination of bravery and gluttony. If you haven’t had ox heart, it was delicious (at least in this particular incarnation) and a sensorial engagement with the subnatural.
This week I’ll travel to Australia for two lectures. One presentation will be given to a symposium sponsored by the National Institute of Experimental Arts at the University of New South Wales in Sydney: Materials, Objects, Environments This talk, on May, 19th continues a strand of exploration in post-Deleuzian/Latourian images and concepts of environment within architecture and cities. It’s about seeing an environment as a thing (in some Kantian sense), but also sans “flow”, sans naturalism, and it’s called “Reflux: From Environmental Flow to Environmental Object.” The second lecture, which the students behind Kerb journal generously helped arrange, will be in Melbourne, part of the Philosophy +Architecture lecture series at RMIT: “New Groundworks”.
In publishing news, an essay that I’m quite excited about (as it’s part of the topic of my next, future, manuscript project) – The Architectural Reconstruction of Nature – was just published in Landform Building (Lars Mueller Press). The book is edited by Stan Allen and Marc McQuade. It’s an important and gorgeous book that positions a specific architectural theoretical strand (what is clearly being staged at Princeton at this moment) within contemporary environment/nature debates. My essay is on the imagery of reconstruction within the landform idea and it forms one of two afterwords for this book. Grab a copy.
Finally, I just finished a new book manuscript – an attempt to marry urban, architectural, interior, and environmental history – via an analysis of around 10 rooms in one city during a very small time frame. This book is about six years of exhausting and intense work within a scattered group of archives. It’s an experiment in writing history; bringing architectural history into a dialogue with other academic/historical forms without it becoming a “socialized” (and weak) passive history of architecture in and against the city. it’s a book that frightens its own author (in a good way); and I’m very excited about its potential.