Concrete and Barbed Wire

The title of this blog is also the name of a Lucinda Williams song from the album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, where various characters from places in the USA ask how this wall can be real. Back in Algiers, down in Opelousas and somewhere in Louisiana, strong hands or mean dogs can’t break down or move the wall …

The Postminimalist Uncanny

The work of abstract painter Richard Smith who exhibited recently at Flowers East Gallery in London has variously been referred to as Postminimalist, Postpainterly or Situationist. His work spans several decades of experimental painting, exploring relationships between painting and space, making constructed drawings and prints and three-dimensional paintings which investigate how the possibilities of painting and two-dimensional surface could have …

Translation, Textuality, Landscape

A student recently gave me the catalogue of the exhibition ‘Word, Sound, Power’ which was held over the summer at the Tate Project Space. It included artists working across sound, video, performance and text to consider issues of globalization and identity. Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s installation, ‘Conflicted Phonemes’ draws on a process which took place in September 2012 where a group …

Performances on the Underground

Whilst the mid twentieth-century urban theory of Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer and Georg Simmel explored the sociological and psychological implications of urbanization and the potential disruption of the ‘self’, commuting must have become the contemporary equivalence of psychic pain. Travelling by train into London’s St Pancras on the ‘High Speed 1’ route, is a particularly harrowing experience. Moving through the …

An Arcades Project: Brixton

An Arcades Project: Brixton Walter Benjamin, philosopher, cultural theorist, writer and critic wrote about the city through a series of ‘city-scapes’ and ‘urban pen pictures’ – experiments in the representation of the city; a way to represent the momentary and fleeting and contingent. His was a kind of archaeology of the city – its structures of social life, buildings, objects, …