In Defence of Expressionism

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Machine Books have just published a short e-book of mine in their ‘Style: In Defence Of…’ series. It’s on Expressionist architecture; a style and movement I’ve been fascinated by for a while. Down the years I’ve managed to visit quite a few of these buildings in Germany, Holland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and also see its influence here (hello Brutalism) and further afield in Asia and Australia. It’s, by necessity, a short piece but I hope it’s a good introduction to those unfamiliar with the subject and a counter to the various myths that have grown up around the style. I’ve included images of the references I made in it below as a reference or alternatively just to feast your eyes on. Enjoy.
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Droning

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Shared some brief thoughts and fears on drones and borders in Alphr and the New Statesman respectively (in great pieces by Thomas McMullan and Stephanie Boland). I’m sure there’s some Foucauldian combination/clash of the two developments awaiting us in the coming future.

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Bonus Level

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I’ve been playing video games, for my sins, since 1987. For all my flailing pretensions elsewhere, I’ve measured out my life with endless flashing Insert Coin to Continue temptations. For a long time, I became distracted by meaningless things like life but gradually I returned penitently to the fold; following Montaigne’s example that everything is interesting and revealing, and also because indie games, in particular, are enjoying a golden age. Also, have you seen the fucking state of the real world at the minute? Continue reading

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White Noise

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Last month I had the chance to co-edit one of my favourite urbanism sites, the London-based White Noise. It’s probably best to have a look and see what catches your eye but there’s a piece on post-apocalyptic London, an interview with Mitchell Joachim of Terreform One on future cities, a look at the utopian desert settlement Arcosanti, an interview with Richard McGuire, creator of one of my favourite books Here and specially commissioned music/soundscapes by Jupiter-C among other excellent work. Thanks to the brilliant Liz Ann Bennett and Karl Smith for their kindness and support.

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Night White Skies

c1u-6zvweaahtiyI recently had the pleasure of speaking to Sean Lally for his excellent Night White Skies podcast series, on architecture, cities, the politics of space, virtual reality & the imagination. Hope you enjoy ( and listen to the full series, if you get a chance- it’s a treasure trove).

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Hibernating in the woods at the minute and thought I’d do some kind of best of 2016 but it’d likely just consist of a burning tumbril barrelling down a cobbled lane towards a gunpowder store. Instead I thought I’d just mention some recent things I’ve been doing, between drinking and foraging, before the year sinks into the hell from whence it came.

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I have an autobiographical essay on how Belfast put the psycho in psychogeography in the gorgeous Irish journal Winter Papers (edited by Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith).

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I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Lauren Elkin (author of the excellent Flâneuse) for The Irish Times, and I was interviewed about Imaginary Cities and the forthcoming Tidewrack for the Italian magazine Burrasca and the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

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I have a piece on Augmented Reality in Wired at the minute (love the Tom Gauld illustration for it) and my latest column in Kill Screen is on End Boss interiors (interior decor from the days of Streets of Rage etc).

Thanks to the University of Glasgow and everyone who came to my recent talk on the Politics of Space there, to The Atlantic for recommending my twitter bullshitery, and especially to Jenni Fagan for choosing Imaginary Cities as her favourite read of the year in The Herald. The latter is especially appreciated as I’m a big fan of her writing and The Sunlight Pilgrims, The Panopticon, and all of her poetry are essential reading in my mind.

There are some really cool projects coming in the New Year, if the lousy old Earth continues to turn. In the meantime, have a good one folks and keep the deaths to a minimum.

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Mega City Dun

mega-city-2-judge-dredd Thanks to everyone at the Dundee Literary Festival and those who came for a great event. There’s been an avalanche of things happening recently, which I’m still digging my way through, and tomorrow may finally be the first day I’ve had any kind of stability in five years, but if you get a chance I did an interview with Rhys Tranter about books and cities that may interest – excerpt below,

“The writers I’ve loved since, from Montaigne to Borges to Solnit have that same sense of roaming, of proving “why not?” when stepping over frequently-artificial boundaries. It’s not for everyone but I love literature that contains this tendency to roam. It goes beyond even literature I suppose. There’s a colossal amount of be gained from learning from people in other artforms, cine-essayists like Chris Marker or musicians like Brian Eno. I’m not really interested in literature that just speaks to itself. I’d rather literature be a dense and messy city than an ordered monastery.”

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