Research into artist’s observations of ‘place’.


After a trip away at the weekend, where I did some filming inside my aunt and uncle’s house in Basingstoke, and some filming on a fellow CouchSurfer’s narrowboat in Oxford (see photograph above), I presented some rushes at a group critique session at university today. There are many ways I could manipulate the footage: I could compare the two styles of living, highlighting the differences and similarities; I could make a narrative, using sound, and have some drama operating off-screen; I could make a simple observation of how it was to live on the boat at that particular time. Patrick Keiller was a name that came up in the critique, so I’m researching his work.

Patrick Keiller - The Robinson Institute preview

First stop was an article, How Patrick Keiller is mapping the 21st-century landscape, by Owen Hatherley from The Guardian (click the photograph of Keiller above to go to the article). The article documents Hatherley’s visit to Keiller’s The Robinson Institute exhibited at Tate Britain in 2012. Hatherley compares Keiller’s fragments of evidence that document turning points in English history to Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, which documented the commodification of things taking place under iron and glass covered walkways in Paris in the nineteenth century. Both Benjamin and Keiller are political in their work. This quote is from Google Books:

“The Arcades Project is Benjamin’s effort to represent and to critique the bourgeois experience of nineteenth-century history, and, in so doing, to liberate the suppressed “true history” that underlay the ideological mask. In the bustling, cluttered arcades, street and interior merge and historical time is broken up into kaleidoscopic distractions and displays of ephemera. Here, at a distance from what is normally meant by “progress,” Benjamin finds the lost time(s) embedded in the spaces of things.”

 This video, Paris Arcades (with Walter Benjamin), comes from YouTube:

It shows footage of passageways (although not glass-covered) and a voice over reading from Arcades Project. The text has glimpses of middle-class male angst in it.

This video is Patrick Kieller’s London (1994):

It has shots of London with a fictionalised narrative voice over, and also displays middle class male angst.


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