Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review... The Architect-Walker: A Mis-Guide

The Architect-Walker: A Mis-Guide
Wrights & Sights
Triarchy Press, 2018, £20

Formed in 1997, Wrights & Sites is a group artist-researchers, including Phil Smith who once wrote a guest post for this blog, whose work looks at people’s relationships to places and landscapes.

The Architect-Walker: A Mis-Guide is their manifesto for changing the world through exploring it.

They describe it as “a tool for playful debate, collaboration, intervention and spatial meaning-making” and “an invitation to engage”.

Here are some of their suggested activities:
Create top-secret bases with no agenda in obscure rural sites. Surround them with barbed wire to incentivise transgression and appropriation. 
Sometimes it is just a matter of leaving some space to the others. I mean the others who come out in the small hours, when everything in a small city closes down. The streets have generally emptied of pedestrians. At such at time, you might sit and watch, and wait, and see a badger to pull up treats from the ground. Fox slips by. A hedgehog snorts with the effort to get under a low gate. 
Hang a red rope between two brass stands in front of a random space. Unhook it and usher people through.
Some of it is fun, some of it is silly, some of it is a bit Yoko One. But in cities where every inch is privately owned and policed with security guards and cameras, this is the spirit we need.

My own explorations are too solitary and too driven by local history books to cut the mustard here. Maybe it is the walks I used to go on with the Malcolm Saville Society, searching for possibly non-existent real-life models for places we had known all our lives, that came closest to the thinking of the Wrights & Sights.

You can order The Architect-Walker: A Mis-Guide from Triarchy Press.

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