Site-Writing

Site-writing is a critical and ethical spatial practice that explores what happens when discussions concerning situatedness and site-specificity enter the writing of criticism, history and theory, and writers reflect on their own subject positions in relation to their particular objects and fields of study, and on how their writing can engage materially with their sites of inquiry and audiences. Drawing out the spatial qualities of these interactions between writers and readers on the one hand, places, artefacts, and texts on the other, includes sites – material, political and conceptual – as well as those remembered, dreamed and imagined. 

The projects displayed on this website come from writers whose work is engaged – closely and at a distance – with the concepts and processes of site-writing. Some texts have been produced on the site-writing teaching module on the MA Architectural History or Situated Practices, or as part of a PhD I’ve supervised, at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, but other pieces come from outside the academic context and from colleagues worldwide who are experimenting with new kinds of spatial writings that are situated, performative, critical, and relational. 

The site-writings presented here suggest a whole variety of ways for doing art, architectural and urban history, theory and criticism: combining image and text to produce variations in spatial relations; exploring the architectural and spatial qualities of storytelling; blending personal and academic writing styles to create different subject positions; investigating the interaction between material and psychic states; articulating the interactive relationship between writing and art/design practice; and showing how written responses to specific sites can propose innovative urban genres that hover between fact and fiction. By drawing on the emotional, as well as the political, qualities of interactions between subjects and sites, site-writings have the potential to reconfigure the relations between spatial theories, poetics, and practices, in ways that are ethical and aesthetic.

If you would like to contribute a project or have an idea to help develop this resource, I’d love to hear from you – please get in touch – j.rendell@ucl.ac.uk.


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