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Department of Architecture


Jane Rendell

May Mo(u)rn is a site-writing which takes a collection of abandoned black and white photographs of modernist architectural icons found in a derelict arts and crafts house called 'May Morn' as a starting point for a discussion of London's post war social housing projects. Morn and mourn are homonyms, one suggests a beginning, the other an ending. Morning begins the day, while mourning – in grieving the loss of something or someone – marks an ending. Due to their deteriorating material states, the house and photographs point towards their own disintegration – or endings, yet the buildings contained within the photographs are shown at the beginning of their life. What does it mean, now, to turn back and examine these icons of modernism at an early moment – a spring time. This text-image work juxtaposes resurgence and decay, siting a fascination with the backwards gaze of nostalgia in relation to anticipation as a yearning that moves forward.

JANE RENDELL is a writer, art critic and architectural historian/theorist/designer, whose work explores inter- and trans-disciplinary crossings between architecture, art, feminism and psychoanalysis. She has put forward concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ (2002/6) and ‘site-writing’ (2007/10) through such authored books as Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002). She is currently working on a new book on transitional spaces in architecture and psychoanalysis. She is co-editor of Pattern (2007), Critical Architecture (2007), Spatial Imagination (2005), The Unknown City (2001), Intersections (2000), Gender, Space, Architecture (1999) and Strangely Familiar (1995). Recent texts have been commissioned by artists such as Jasmina Cibic, Apollonia Susteric and transparadiso, and institutions such FRAC Centre, Orléans, and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. She is on the Editorial Board for ARQ (Architectural Research Quarterly), Architectural Theory Review, The Happy Hypocrite, The Issues and the Journal of Visual Culture in Britain, and Ultime Thule: Journal of Architectural Imagination. She is Professor of Architecture and Art at the Bartlett, UCL.

Thursday, 15 May, 2014 - 17:30 to 19:00
Event location: 
Boardroom, Department of Architecture