Site-Writing

An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Judith Rugg | Brixton

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  • This paper draws on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy for considering the ‘city as text’ – a way of writing that maps personal history through a series of ‘urban pen pictures’. It considers Brixton, in South London – a place of constant change yet embedded in history – through the perspective of autobiography. In an attempt to ‘know’ Brixton, I draw on memories of my past, whilst confronting the overwhelming stimuli of the present. The paper references Benjamin’s unfinished work, The Arcades Project (1927-1940), a series of fragmented writings about the Paris arcades, the habitat of the flâneur or urban explorer who embodies modern urban experience. It draws an oblique parallel with Brixton’s covered arcades, lately preserved as ‘listed’ and recently reborn as ‘Brixton Village’. The paper touches on ideas about identity and the city and how place – its architecture, shops, history, images and associations – imposes a powerful and lifelong impact in our sense of belonging. 


    Biography:

    Dr Judith Rugg is an artist and art theorist and Professor of Contemporary Art & Spatial Culture, emerita, UCA. Her publications include: Spatialities: The Geographies of Art & Architecture (Intellect Press, 2012); Exploring Site-Specific Art: Issues of Space & Internationalism (IB Tauris, 2010); Issues in Curating, Contemporary Art & Performance (Intellect Press, 2008); ‘Maternal Loss, Transitional Space and the Uncanny in Alison Marchant’s Kingsland Road East’ in Textile Journal of Cloth and Culture; ‘Sophie Calle’s Appointment at the Freud Museum: Intervention or Irony?’ in New Practices, New Pedagogies (Malcolm Miles, ed. Routledge, 2005).

    https://judithruggsblog.wordpress.com


    Practices:

    Keywords:

    References:
    1. Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin), (Harvard University Press, 2002)
    2. see above
    3. Keywords: Brixton, Walter Benjamin, London, autobiography, the city

    Other projects:
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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