archaeological imagination

bodyworks

Design-Cloumn-logo

I am back at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam for Design Column #5 – [Link] [Link] Previous Design Columns – [Link] [Link] [Link] Ideas that make a difference Every three months the Design Column at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen focuses on a news item in the form of a small exhibition. The column is […]


Paul Noble – artist | archaeologist

Noble-1

Sjarel Ex (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen) has introduced me to the extraordinary, the wonderful work of Paul Noble [Link] [Link] [Link] A paradigm of the archaeological imagination. Paul has been drawing his Nobson Newtown for a number of years. I could just about tick very one of the categories in my blog. I will have […]


design as exchange

foto 2 sea chair

Design values in globalism – the vitality of return and exchange Here is my commentary on the design exhibition currently running at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam [Link]. My previous commentaries – [Link] [Link] Design Column #4 The circle is round ‘The World is Deglobalizing at Breakneck Speed’ – so read the title of a […]


Richard III found? – why it matters

Richard-Olivier-1955

It’s all over the news today – the claim that the 500 year old body found by archaeologists under a parking lot in Leicester UK is that of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England who fell at Bosworth Field in 1485, losing his throne to Henry Tudor. For much of the popular press […]


Ben Cullen

Flodden-1

On the anniversary of the untimely and sudden death of Ben Cullen in 1995. [Link] [Link] [Link] I dedicated my book, The Archaeological Imagination [Link], published in April, to Ben. It is seventeen years today since he died. Uncanny. I wonder what I would say to him about the book, that might reveal how much […]


the archaeological uncanny

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Gabriel Moshenska has sent me his recent and very neat article about the archaeological uncanny in the ghost stories of MR James. Gabriel is quite right, I think, to highlight the connection between Freud’s unheimlich, ghosts, and the haunting persistence, sometimes malevolent, of the past – MR James made much of the curses that can […]


an archaeology of the contemporary past

Burri-Gibellina

Today I’m in the Clark Center at Stanford, hub of the Bio-X Program – bioengineering and more. Steve Quake (Stanford Bioengineering and Applied Physics) is hosting a meeting of The Human Document Project – [Link] With us are Laura Welcher (Long Now Foundation), Tim D. White (Palaeoanthropology, Berkeley), Michael Fischer (Anthropological Sciences, Canterbury, UK), Andreas […]


Jacquetta Hawkes and the Personal Past

Hawkes - A Land

Christine Finn’s wonderfully sensitive documentary about Jacquetta Hawkes was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 yesterday – [Link] [Link] Truly, a human past. Here are my earlier comments – [Link] Jacquetta Hawkes from Michael Shanks on Vimeo.


Gary Devore on Fellini Satyricon

Fellini-Satyricon

Gary (Devore) is currently presenting a superb commentary on Fellini Satyricon – that sumptuous marvel of a movie – [Link] In a daring and masterful tour de force, the director has violated every cinematographic rule by producing a film with no pace, no psychology, no stars, and no story. Gary has opened my eyes to […]


chorography – then and now

Brecht

Chorography – a workshop at Durham University July 10 2012 – [Link] Summer fieldwork. I am less focused on the excavations at Binchester this year [Link]. I am pulling together my long-running research into the region – the English Scottish borders. How do you tell of such a place? All that is there, and has […]


Bill Rathje

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Bill Rathje died last Friday. Inventor of garbology, pioneer in anthropological approaches to contemporary material culture, expert in ancient civilizations, prescient, daring, and, above all, a great and warm person, larger than life. He had been ill for a long while, but I always thought he’d get better when his doctors found the right medication, […]


Mark Bradford

MarkBradford

We made it at last today to the Mark Bradford exhibition in San Francisco at SFMOMA – [Link] Exhibition website – [Link] Maybe it’s about … tracing the ghosts of cities past. It’s the pulling off of a layer and finding another underneath. It’s the … details that point to people saying, “We exist; we […]


Jacquetta Hawkes – antiquarian

Jacquetta Hawkes - National Portrait Gallery

This morning Christine Finn interviewed me for her new BBC documentary about Jacquetta Hawkes (1910 – 1996). So much more than an archaeologist, Jacquetta Hawkes was a fascinating latter-day antiquarian. This is why her academic archaeological colleagues tried so hard to make her marginal. And she was a woman. Hawkes was notorious when I was […]


move over Instagram – here comes the past

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Camera Awesome for the iPhone – playing with the filters – so many of which simulate analogue film – capturing what becomes of what was – materialities, quiddities Café Scheltema, Amsterdam – [Link]


Forensic Architecture

James-Street-Cardiff-10-2003

“At a scene of crime anything might be relevant” – a catch phrase from our work in theatre/archaeology, explored in Experiencing the Past (1992) and featuring now in my new book “The Archaeological Imagination”, out this coming week – [Link] In this light, Ewa (Domanska) has referred me to a fascinating, an intriguing new project […]


The Archaeological Imagination

My book, The Archaeological Imagination, long in gestation, will soon be out from Mitch Allen’s Left Coast Press – [Link] This week in Götegorg, I have been sharing some of its stories. Set in the borders between England and Scotland, I explore the roots of so many of our contemporary attitudes towards the past. The […]


hybrid Humanities – Ben Cullen

On the anniversary of the untimely and sudden death of Ben Cullen in 1995. [Link] [Link] [Link] Ben Cullen thought beyond conventional distinctions under a fresh evolutionary notion of humanity as deeply hybrid – material and immaterial, personhood and artifact, species and thing. Humanity: an undecidable, in Derrida’s sense. The lens through which he approached […]


the Classical and the Romantic

Belsay, Northumberland. Early nineteenth century. Visiting with Bianca (Carpeneti). As pure a contrast between the Classical and Gothic Romantic as can be imagined. Here is something I have written to appear in my forthcoming book “The Archaeological Imagination” – to my embarrassment and frustration still in (final) revision. Sir Charles Monck decided not to restore […]


writing ancient Egypt

I have just received a copy of Toby Wilkinson’s Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. The cover endorsements are enthusiastic; the blurb is packed with hyperbole and the promise of a roller-coaster soap-opera of pomp and ceremony, corruption and decadence, rulers with all-too-recognizable human emotions, in a book that will, we are told, become the […]


Optimism and transformative design

Anna-Deavere-Smith2

Transformative Design, my class about design thinking that makes a real difference, run with Meghann (Dryer of IDEO) and Bernie (Roth of Stanford Engineering), opens again soon in the d.school. I got thinking seriously about its themes this weekend at a fund-raising event organized by Castilleja School, where Helen teaches and Molly learns, on the […]


The Baltic, Newcastle

At the Baltic Arts Center, first visit in a long while – last time it was Anthony Gormley – [Link]. This time – Anselm Keifer and his remarkable workings with memory, materiality, guilt and landscape. I’m waiting for the fog to clear at Heathrow. Lovely winter views out over the Tyne. (Photos taken on the […]


things – beyond objects

Two new books add depth to my long-running ruminations on the character of things. Nonobject, by Branko Lukic and Barry Katz, was published this week by MIT Press [Link] It’s a rather beautiful book about Branko’s design work. Barry (and Bill Moggridge in his foreword) provide fascinating commentary. The nonobject is inbetween, relational, interstitial, combinatory. […]


Gorillaz – the archaeological imagination

Superb performance last night from Gorillaz at Oakland Arena. Their latest, Plastic Beach, has an environmentalist theme, but avoids trite treatment of such a common and pressing matter of concern. (The contrast with the likes of movie Avatar is stark.) Human concern – – Damon Albarn, graphic artist Jamie Hewlett, the 2D virtual members of […]


Science is Culture

My conversation, back in 2007, with artist Lynn Hershman Leeson about artifacts, memory, art, forensics, archaeology appears today in a new collection – “Science is Culture: Conversations at the New Intersection of Science and Society” [Link] Seed magazine brings together a unique gathering of prominent scientists, artists, novelists, philosophers + other thinkers who are tearing […]