Thursday, 21 April 2016

The allée Guy Debord: real or imaginary?

On the very edge of Paris where the city segues into Aubervilliers, Google Maps tells us that there is an allée Guy Debord. In the location itself – a recent footpath running between an isolated shopping mall and an arm of the canal Saint Denis – nothing is written and no buildings use the address. If a name exists only on a map, does it really exist at all? It’s a situation that the theorist, writer, filmmaker might well have appreciated.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

A new dress for the belly of Paris

"Since the beginning of the century only one original building has been erected, only one that is not a copy from somewhere else but has sprung naturally out of the soil of our times, and that is Les Halles." For Claude Lantier, Emile Zola's bohemian painter in 'Le Ventre de Paris' the iron and glass constructions - "as light as crystal" and the vibrant market life they sheltered were the antithesis to the new dull, bourgeois - and derivative - Second Empire city.

The new buildings designed by Victor Baltard were "a series of palaces", regal constructions built in the honour of the true French sovereign - food. The 'pavillons' also reinforced the reputation of the area - Les Halles - as one of the world's largest and most prestigious markets, a reputation it had first built under Philippe Auguste in the 12th century.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Fairground Attraction, unplugged

This blog has been a little abandoned over recent months, but like this funfair, the lights will soon be plugged back in and the big wheel turning again. Over 2015, production on the blog had to take a backseat to the book, but for that project the conclusion is now in sight.

The book has been written and delivered, and is now in the editing stage. Photos and illustrations are being selected and there may even be a definite publication date soon. I hope to be able to give more details shortly! It has been intense and demanding, but also an extremely rewarding and instructive experience.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Smallest House in Paris

Measuring just a little over one metre wide, three metres long and five metres high, there is little doubt that the property at number 39 Rue du Chateau d'Eau is the smallest building in Paris. But how did it get there and what purpose does it serve today?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Paris...à contre-jour

'Paris à contre jour' is an ongoing project aiming to share the essence of locations across Paris through a series of short black and white films. Film-maker Mischa Harmeijer told me why he launched the project and what he is hoping to achieve.
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