From November 2017, Shannon Mattern on the material archives of climate science.
As she explains “In the geosciences, there’s a long tradition of regarding the Earth itself, the terrestrial field, as an archive. Talk about big data…Over the next century, this metaphor multiplied across layers of abstraction. First there was the Earth as archive; then fossil records and specimen collections, visual representations of those collections, textual catalogs, and, eventually, databases…In classifying and indexing samples of ice, rock, soil, and sediment, we acknowledge the Earth as a vast geo-informatic construct. It is both geology and data, ontology and epistemology.”
From December 2017, Amelia Taylor-Hochberg on Frank Pick, the London Tube and how as “chief administrator of the London Passenger Transport Board” he leveraged art and architecture to advance the “progressive ideal that public transport ought to be more than a means of getting around and that the ever expanding network was an unparalleled opportunity to enhance the lives of London’s citizens.”
Also from December 2017, John David Rose on The house in American cinema, from the plantation to Chavez Ravine. Therein he reflects on Gone with the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird
“When we see a house onscreen, the property relations implicit in the seemingly simple activity of moviegoing proliferate into confusion. And yet there is a kind of clarity in what is at stake here. In purchasing a movie ticket we pay for the right to occupy a space in order to gaze up at a space we can never occupy.
This is the story cinema has been mutely telling all along — a story about the house, the security and ease it promises, and the horrible anxieties produced when we try to force the house to deliver on those promises.”
From Jan 2018, Douglas Murphy on The Modern Urbanism of Cook’s Camden.