Future Cities: Architecture + the Imagination

“The imagination is politicised by definition (‘as a faculty that only flourishes when set free, it inherently resists … subjugation’), and in the anarchy of this spirit is its potency and efficacy. Using the works of Dickens as an example in our understanding of, and feeling for, the city of London, Dobraszczyk observes that the carnivorous global scale of urbanisation has rendered cities impossible to comprehend without an overriding fictional projection. “

from my review of Future Cities: Architecture and the Imagination, out today

Lethal White / Robert Galbraith

I’ve just had the rather odd experience of discovering that my review of the latest Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling was actually published last year, which is why I’m posting now:

” The novel has been described as Dickensian, but is actually more like Victor Hugo in its radical intent. Dickens was gentler, more amusing and significantly more susceptible to the ornate lyricism of Victorian Romanticism, whereas Rowling, an outwardly respectable matron, is a punk rocker at heart. She wants to smash the system. “

– from my review of Lethal White @ www.thaustralian.com.au

Darkness: A Cultural History – review

“The Romantics expanded this limited understanding, effectively arguing that the ‘deep, dramatic contrast of light and shade has long been a means of suggesting depth’ – that is to say, spiritual beauty … Edmund Burke and his veneration for the incomprehensible in relation to the Divine; Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his love of the poetic supernatural; Emily Bronte and her stark and sweeping landscapes of darkness, literal and figurative.”

– from my new review in The Weekend Australian, out today.

Sex in the World of Myth // David Leeming

“Rather than as what Leeming calls ‘an instrument of love or even procreation’, the erect penis has always been perceived by misogynists as a weapon, something with which to hurt or assert dominance over the female. Size thus becomes synonymous with masculinity, cruelty and power, a world away from the sexual template of the mutual, integrated pleasures depicted in Sumerian myths or the Song of Songs.”

– from Patriarchal Passions, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke

The Waterless Sea

“To the layman, cities in ice, horizons suspended as a shimmer above the earth and mountains of spectral beauty may appear complex, but the science is relatively simple. Light bends as it plunges through different air densities or temperatures. Similarly, the water ripples in desert mirages and heat haze shimmer are simply by-products of the volatility of the heat gradient. Such atmospheric optics are, however, the least interesting attributes of the mirage. Pinney’s fascination rests in the complicity at the heart of the mirage. As he points out, ‘the act of beholding involves an erasure of this distantiating knowledge.’ In short, the mirage cannot exist without the visual, cultural and epistemological template of the onlooker, whose interpretations invest magic into pretty, if otherwise meaningless, refractions of light.”

– from my review of The Waterless Sea: A Curious History of Mirages (reprinted)

Pitch Festival / Kent, England

I will be speaking about the romance of intimacy and attachment at one of England’s coolest and fastest-growing family-friendly music festivals, Pitch. Three days, 30 bands, 10 DJs, workshops, happenings, camping, solar showers, water, parking and kids under 16 free!

Dates: 17 to 19 August 2018

Buy your tickets soon as they’ve almost sold out – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pitch-festival-2018-tickets-42797931766

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