Site-Reading Writing Quarterly
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Solar Trajectories
Pin-hole images by Maryjane Orley & Martin Purvis.

A series of pin-hole photographs created over 6 and 12 month periods (solstice to solstice) in 2017 and 2018.  Made in empty beer cans placed around the site of old Northbrook Nursery in the north of Guernsey, the images trace the movement of the sun across the skyline.

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Maryjane Orley is an interdisciplinary artist whose work involves drawing, print-making, conceptual sculpture, and installation. Over the last eight years, she has been exploring ways of defining and realising notions of emptiness and erosion and their potential for regeneration.

Site-Reading Writing Quarterly celebrates reading and writing as situated practices, releasing a special pair of seasonal reviews four times a year. 

Each solstice and equinox I invite writers to swap recently completed written works and to provide a situated ‘review’ of each other’s work. This involves raising a shared issue/concern, connecting out to another work/text/set of ideas, and/or producing a creative response to an aspect of the writing which might be fictional, prose, visual, sonic, filmic … These acts of exchange open up ways of ‘reading writing’ differently, generating multiple modes of engagement with words, and exploring the practice of ‘reviewing’ from a situated perspective, one that critiques and experiments with the genre of the ‘critical review essay’, creating something far more entangled.

For this March 2021 equinox issue I have invited artist, Polly Gould, and architectural historian, Paulette Singley, to respond to each other’s books, both of which engage in practices of positioned observation. Gould reads Singley’s How to Read Architecture by practising Singley’s own interpretative and observational methods – of outside-in, inside-out, and out-and-outalongside her curation of those visual references that both books share. Singley ends her close reading of Gould’s Antarctica, Art, and Archive by re-locating the eco-critical practices of observation in art, anthropology and science that Gould explores in relation to the Californian sites in which her own reading of Gould’s book took place. These writers’ inter-connected readings encourage an ecological approach to criticism and practice, that brings ‘over there’ into presence ‘right here.’

With this in mind, this equinox sees two new contributions to Site-Writing: ‘CORVID-19’ from PA Skantze and Matthew Fink (Four Second Delay) is an extraordinary duet between letter-writing vegan-turned crows, who dialogue across the debris of a pandemic-scarred landscape. And ‘Station F’ is produced out of filmmaker and podcast producer, Pauline Blanchet’s, transverse of Paris, through which she questions the ambivalent use of history in creating digital futures.

For Critical Spatial Practice Camillo Boano translates parts of his new book, Progetto Minore (Siracusa: Letteraventidue, 2020) into English, writing ofhow ‘multiverses of spatial otherness … have challenged the silence imposed by the modernity/coloniality matrix.’ Operating in such a minor mode are: Desiring the Dark, where Feminist City Light Capers (FCLC) present FeministScenographies, the City, and the Night – a series of scenographic urban actions in Montréal, which resonate strongly with the recent tragic murder of a young woman by a member of the London Metropolitan Police; Dorita Hannah’s and Sean Coyle’s Island Icarcus (2016–2019), a set of ‘iterative’ co-created installations provoked by the death of Omid Masoumali, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who tragically set himself on fire in April 2016 on the Pacific island of Nauru; and Ignacio Rivas’ ‘An Independent and Flexible and Precarious and Overworked, Rehearsal’ that performs the tensions that can occur when home and work are brought into close proximity.

If have a written work that you’ve recently completed and someone you’d like to read it, or would like to write a response to a new book you’ve just read, or contribute a project to either Critical Spatial Practice or Site-Writing: please let me know: – j.rendell@ucl.ac.uk


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