Rent: apartment blocks and their uses

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    In 1974, pursuing his interest in the infra-ordinary – ‘the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the back-ground noise, the habitual’ – Georges Perec wrote about an idea for a novel:
    ‘I imagine a Parisian apartment building whose façade has been removed … so that all the rooms in the front, from the ground floor up to the attics, are instantly and simultaneously visible’.
    In Life A User’s Manual (1978) the consummation of this precis, patterns of existence are measured within architectural space with an archaeological sensibility that sifts through narrative and décor, structure and history, services and emotion, the personal and the system, ascribing commensurate value to each.
    Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.
    Borrowing methods from Perec, to move somewhere between conjecture, analysis and other documentation and tracing relationships between form, structure, materiality, technology, organisation, tenure and narrative use, this paper interrogates the late twentieth-century speculative apartment block in Britain and Ireland arguing that its speculative and commodified purpose allows a series of lives that are often less than ordinary to inhabit its spaces.
    Henri Lefebvre described the emergence of an ‘abstract space’ under capitalism in terms which can be applied to the apartment building: the division of space into freely alienable privatised parcels which can be exchanged. Vertical distributions of class and other new, contiguous social and spatial relationships are couched within a paradox: the building which allows such proximities is also a conductor of division. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2012
    EventUrban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012 - University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
    Duration: 13 Nov 201214 Nov 2012

    Conference

    ConferenceUrban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    CitySheffield
    Period13/11/201214/11/2012

    Fingerprint

    Apartment Blocks
    Apartment
    Rent
    History
    Hole
    Detachment
    Invisible
    Render
    Social Relationships
    Borrowing
    Sensibility
    Visible
    Georges Perec
    Conductor
    Materiality
    Ireland
    Emotion
    Tenure
    Spatial Relationships
    Quotidian

    Cite this

    Boyd, G. (2012). Rent: apartment blocks and their uses. Paper presented at Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
    Boyd, Gary. / Rent: apartment blocks and their uses. Paper presented at Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012, Sheffield, United Kingdom.10 p.
    @conference{97cafca66f3d4b8b8202596a93a5d8d8,
    title = "Rent: apartment blocks and their uses",
    abstract = "In 1974, pursuing his interest in the infra-ordinary – ‘the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the back-ground noise, the habitual’ – Georges Perec wrote about an idea for a novel:‘I imagine a Parisian apartment building whose fa{\cc}ade has been removed … so that all the rooms in the front, from the ground floor up to the attics, are instantly and simultaneously visible’.In Life A User’s Manual (1978) the consummation of this precis, patterns of existence are measured within architectural space with an archaeological sensibility that sifts through narrative and d{\'e}cor, structure and history, services and emotion, the personal and the system, ascribing commensurate value to each. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the fa{\cc}ade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.Borrowing methods from Perec, to move somewhere between conjecture, analysis and other documentation and tracing relationships between form, structure, materiality, technology, organisation, tenure and narrative use, this paper interrogates the late twentieth-century speculative apartment block in Britain and Ireland arguing that its speculative and commodified purpose allows a series of lives that are often less than ordinary to inhabit its spaces.Henri Lefebvre described the emergence of an ‘abstract space’ under capitalism in terms which can be applied to the apartment building: the division of space into freely alienable privatised parcels which can be exchanged. Vertical distributions of class and other new, contiguous social and spatial relationships are couched within a paradox: the building which allows such proximities is also a conductor of division. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the fa{\cc}ade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.",
    author = "Gary Boyd",
    year = "2012",
    month = "11",
    day = "30",
    language = "English",
    note = "Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012 ; Conference date: 13-11-2012 Through 14-11-2012",

    }

    Boyd, G 2012, 'Rent: apartment blocks and their uses', Paper presented at Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 13/11/2012 - 14/11/2012.

    Rent: apartment blocks and their uses. / Boyd, Gary.

    2012. Paper presented at Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    TY - CONF

    T1 - Rent: apartment blocks and their uses

    AU - Boyd, Gary

    PY - 2012/11/30

    Y1 - 2012/11/30

    N2 - In 1974, pursuing his interest in the infra-ordinary – ‘the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the back-ground noise, the habitual’ – Georges Perec wrote about an idea for a novel:‘I imagine a Parisian apartment building whose façade has been removed … so that all the rooms in the front, from the ground floor up to the attics, are instantly and simultaneously visible’.In Life A User’s Manual (1978) the consummation of this precis, patterns of existence are measured within architectural space with an archaeological sensibility that sifts through narrative and décor, structure and history, services and emotion, the personal and the system, ascribing commensurate value to each. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.Borrowing methods from Perec, to move somewhere between conjecture, analysis and other documentation and tracing relationships between form, structure, materiality, technology, organisation, tenure and narrative use, this paper interrogates the late twentieth-century speculative apartment block in Britain and Ireland arguing that its speculative and commodified purpose allows a series of lives that are often less than ordinary to inhabit its spaces.Henri Lefebvre described the emergence of an ‘abstract space’ under capitalism in terms which can be applied to the apartment building: the division of space into freely alienable privatised parcels which can be exchanged. Vertical distributions of class and other new, contiguous social and spatial relationships are couched within a paradox: the building which allows such proximities is also a conductor of division. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.

    AB - In 1974, pursuing his interest in the infra-ordinary – ‘the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the back-ground noise, the habitual’ – Georges Perec wrote about an idea for a novel:‘I imagine a Parisian apartment building whose façade has been removed … so that all the rooms in the front, from the ground floor up to the attics, are instantly and simultaneously visible’.In Life A User’s Manual (1978) the consummation of this precis, patterns of existence are measured within architectural space with an archaeological sensibility that sifts through narrative and décor, structure and history, services and emotion, the personal and the system, ascribing commensurate value to each. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.Borrowing methods from Perec, to move somewhere between conjecture, analysis and other documentation and tracing relationships between form, structure, materiality, technology, organisation, tenure and narrative use, this paper interrogates the late twentieth-century speculative apartment block in Britain and Ireland arguing that its speculative and commodified purpose allows a series of lives that are often less than ordinary to inhabit its spaces.Henri Lefebvre described the emergence of an ‘abstract space’ under capitalism in terms which can be applied to the apartment building: the division of space into freely alienable privatised parcels which can be exchanged. Vertical distributions of class and other new, contiguous social and spatial relationships are couched within a paradox: the building which allows such proximities is also a conductor of division. Apartment comes from the Italian appartare meaning ‘to separate’. The space of the boundary between activities is reduced to a series of intimately thin lines: the depth of a floor, a party wall, a window, the convex peep-hole in a door, or the façade that Perec seeks to render invisible. The apartness of the apartment is accelerated when aligned with short-term tenancies. Here Perec’s interweaving of personal histories over time using the structure of the block, gives way to convivialities of detachment: inhabitants are temporary, their personalities anonymous, their activities unknown or overlooked.

    M3 - Paper

    ER -

    Boyd G. Rent: apartment blocks and their uses. 2012. Paper presented at Urban Blind Spots - Theory Forum 2012, Sheffield, United Kingdom.