Undoing Architecture

To re-negotiate the relation that the ‘feminine’ might have to ‘architecture’ from a critical and theoretical position is no easy task, it involves work – speaking and writing. Audre Lorde once stated that ‘the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’, if so what other tools do we have at our disposal?

French feminist theory provides the starting point for my rhetorics of misuse, a place which offers me room for both emancipatory impulses and opportunities for self-reflection. The work of Luce Irigaray and Hélène Cixous suggest modes of writing and relations of economy which differ from the masculine, from an economy of appropriation, of the self-same, where more is better and the other is only regarded in relation to the self.

This essay has a way with words, it is a particular patterning of speech, a feminine rhetoric, an undoing of architecture. Mine is not to use examples of practice to illustrate theoretical positions, nor to apply theoretical insights to modes of practice, but through writing to imagine and reflect upon a different relation between the two.

This ‘speaking’ subject, speaks in between.

From this place on the threshold between the two, it is possible to consider both, to be attentive to the concerns of theory and at the same time consider modes of practice; to be attentive to modes of practice and at the same time reconsidering new theoretical insights.

She speaks in threes.

1 and 1 is three.

11 threes.

Her speech is tripled.


Jane Rendell, ‘Undoing Architecture’, republished in Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, curated by Irene Aristizábal (Nottingham Contemporary), Rosie Cooper (De La Warr Pavilion) and Cédric Fauq (Nottingham Contemporary) designed by OOMK, (Nottingham Contemporary and De La Warr Pavilion (2018-9).



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