This is an extract of a talk which I will present at the ‘Afterlives of Constructivism‘ conference at Princeton University in May 2013 ♦ At the height of the period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia in the mid 1960s, architects began imagining the kind of ambitious projects for cities and buildings that went far beyond the … Continue reading
In lieu of the full text, here is a link to a talk on Oskar Hansen’s ideas about the mobile body. It was presented at a conference at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in June 2013.
This lecture was given at Tate Modern in London on 15 March 2013 as part of the Global Pop conference.
In Eastern Europe before 1989, the state held a near-monopoly on all forms of public expression. Censors wielding red pencils checked every message that went into print. Fearful of the spread of free opinion, the authorities controlled the use of even the most basic office printing equipment. In Ceausescu’s Romania all typewriters, for instance, had … Continue reading
In many science fiction films of the Cold War period the cosmos is represented as an extra-terrestrial space in which international rivalries have been overcome. ‘Der Schweigende Stern’ (The Silent Star) depicted a world in which communism had swept the planet and mankind now enjoyed the benefits of nuclear technology, social equality and international fraternity. … Continue reading
This review was commissioned by the European Architectural History Network in 2010. ♦ Like a number of other exhibitions on modernist art and architecture, Modernizacje 1918-1939. Czas przyszły dokonany (Modernizations 1918-1939: Future Perfect) at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź opened with images of a society in revolutionary turmoil. In this case it was not Soviet … Continue reading
This is an extract of an long essay on the work of photographer Nicolas Grospierre. It will appear in a book surveying his practice that will be published in 2013. ♦ … Unlike painters or sculptors, architects do not work directly on their creations. They rely on drawing and occasionally model-making to act as a … Continue reading
This essay appeared in the catalogue for the Postmodernism. Style and Subversion 1970-90 Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London in 2011. ♦ Architects in the Soviet Union experienced a strange premonition of postmodernism fifty years before its domination of the architectural scene in the West. The monumental classical style known as Socialist Realism which … Continue reading
This piece was first published in 2008 ♦ On first inspection it seems unlikely that the interests of Polish artists and writers in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century – the theme of this essay – could anything more than the subject of a minor footnote in the history of either country. Living … Continue reading
This is an extract of an essay published in Sparke, Massey, Keeble and Martin, eds., Designing the Modern Interior (Berg, 2009) ♦ The modern home is, conventionally, bathed in the light of order. Adolf Loos’s vision of a ‘New Zion’ stripped of its nostalgic ornament; Le Corbusier’s ‘fenêtre en longeur'; and Pierre Koenig’s glass curtain walls … Continue reading