Promising Home – The People’s History Museum, Manchester

From October 29th to January 13th The People’s History Museum, Manchester will host an IUD ‘temporary research space’ in its Community Gallery. The research space will make available a range of photographs and materials we’ve produced while documenting the changing state of council housing in Pendleton, Salford.

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IUD Archive Image (2014)

Based in a tower block in Pendleton, we have been recording and researching the estate since 2004. The Community Gallery exhibit will highlight a wide range of images and research materials from this extended period of research that critically examines the estates recent transformation.

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IUD Archive Image (2013) – Walk with Dr Simon Faulkner & David Reeb

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A Walk in Berlin: Bruno Taut’s Falkenberg Housing Estate

IUD recently visited the Treptow-Koepenick borough of Berlin to walk around the Falkenberg Gartenstadt (Falkenberg Garden City) with new friend and historian of the everyday, Andreas. Falkenberg is comprised of three streets, Akazienhof, Am Falkenberg, and Gartenstadtweg, with 128 homes developed by the modernist architect Bruno Taut between 1913 and 1915.

Utopia 18

Berlin, Germany: 2015. IUD image.

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The Poetry of the Street – The Film and Flanerie of Jem Cohen

When I was in my twenties two of my great loves were documentary photography and experimental film. Seeing Jem Cohen’s work Lost Book Found (1996) made me realise how the two could come together in a heady mix. Cohen wanders like a street photographer gathering Super-8 and 16mm film material through his direct observation of the urban world around him. Lost Book Found is his modern day homage to Benjamin’s Arcades Project relocated to New York. It attempts to find another layer of meaning to the city through its traces, fragments and neglected spaces. The narrative alternates between the city’s hard streets and a hidden reality beneath the kaleidoscopic distractions and phantasmagoria of its capitalist space.


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Paris – Invisible City – Bruno Latour & Emilie Hermant

041Latour & Hermant’s on-line book Paris: Invisible City (1998) presents a challenge to all urban photographers and the observational methods central to their work. The project questions how much we really can understand about the modern city by simply looking. Starting off on the rooftop of the famous La Samaritaine department store it begins by examining the panorama of Paris.

The book explores the labyrinth of overlapping networks that underpin the functioning of the city. Using Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory as a methodology, it highlights the ‘invisible’ and unnoticed connectivities that compose the city. It presents us with a layered portrait of place “bypassed by the normative representational mode” (Networks of Design). Latour uses the term ‘oligopticon’ to define these hidden networks that ultimately serve to make Paris the functioning city that it is. As a social researcher he believes that they are a means to appreciate the intertwined totality of municipal space. Unlike the absolutist all seeing gaze of Foucault’s panopticon, with the oligopticon “extremely narrow views of the (connected) whole are made possible–as long as connections hold” (p.181, Reassembling the Social). By drawing our attention to the complexity of these ‘co-existences’, the work ultimately demonstrates the sheer impossibility of understanding Paris or any urban space through a single image or glance.


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Life In The New Cities


Michael Wolf’s photographic series the Architecture of Density highlights the emergent landscape of Hong Kong’s high rise apartments. The formalist portrayal of these buildings depicts them as “abstractions, never-ending repetitions of architectural patterns” according to Wolf.

For a full overview of Wolf’s work see his Life in Cities site.

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