Intersections: Architecture and Poetry

Friday 3 June 2011, 14.00 - 18.15 (with registration from 13.30)

Saturday 4 June 2011, 10.00 - 18.30 (with registration from 09.30)

Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art

two images, one is detail of decorated wall of 13th century mausoleum in Samarqand, the other detail of round 18th century ceiling of Music Room at Home House
Mausoleum at Shah-i Zinda Necropolis, Samarqand, late 13th century. (Photograph: James Scott). Robert Adam with Antonio Zucchi, Detail of Music Room Ceiling, Home House, c.1777. (The Courtauld Institute of Art, Conway Library)

Speaker(s): Fiona Anderson (King’s College London), Andrea de Meo (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Myrtha Ehlert (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität), Katie Faulkner (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Margaret Graves (University of Edinburgh), Jeehee Hong (Syracuse University), Ben Jacks (Miami University), Anna Liu (Tonkin Liu Architects), Agata Madejska (artist), Terri Mullholland (University of Oxford), Lisa Nobeta (University of Kyoto), Alan Powers (University of Greenwich), Mark Riley (Roehampton University), Alena Sakalouski Johnson (University of Minnesota), Yasmine Shamma (University of Oxford), Graham Smith (Professor Emeritus, University of St Andrews), Siân Thomas (poet), Zehra Tonbul (Mardin Artuklu University), Mike Tonkin (Tonkin Liu Architects), Linda Marie Walker (University of South Australia), Judith Walton (Victoria University)

Ticket/entry details: £25 (£15 students) Please send a cheque made payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’ to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art , Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, clearly stating that you wish to book for the ‘Intersections: Architecture and Poetry’ conference. For credit card bookings call 020 7848 2785 (9.30 - 18.00, weekdays only). For further information, send an email to

Organised by: Ayla Lepine and Caroline Levitt (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

‘We cover the universe with drawings we have lived’

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 1958.

Poetry and architecture, brought together by Gaston Bachelard in his seminal investigation of lived-in space, are art-forms that nevertheless continue critically to be considered broadly apart from one another. The one concrete and three-dimensional, the other abstract and metaphorical, these two creative art forms invite further comparison. Philosophers and theorists have often used architectural metaphors in their writing – Freud, considering the canny (heimlich) as a cage that represses the uncanny (unheimlich); Bataille using architecture to represent authority and social order, that might be attacked and undermined by the destructive act of the individual; or Lyotard, proclaiming that ‘the temporal regime of the domus is rhythm or rhyme’.

This conference seeks to re-assess such analyses. Concepts of beauty and utility, of personality and indexicality, of inscription and graffiti and of memory and temporality are all key concerns in the investigation of how these two distinct disciplines productively engage with one another. Intersections: Architecture and Poetry features speakers who bring global perspectives to bear in their diverse practices as architects, poets and academics. Key themes investigated throughout include urban development, bodily experience, ritual and memory, scale, and the nature of dwelling. As such, Intersections offers new ways of thinking about space and poetics.

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Supported by The Poetry Trust

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