The Secret Life of Buildings – a disambiguation

I am currently artist-in-residence at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, UK. Officially I was due to start on 1st July, but due to one small hiatus after another I have done nothing so far and aim to start properly on Monday August 1st. I will be creating new video work to be part of my ongoing body of work, ”The Secret Life of Buildings”.

Coincidentally, on the same day, Channel 4 is to start broadcasting a series of television programmes about the effects of architecture on our lives entitled “The Secret Life of Buildings”.

I gave this title to a body of my work in 2009, and immediately felt aggrieved that someone had “stolen” my title. Not so, and within 5 minutes of seeing the trailer I had discovered the following links:

The Secret Life of Buildings – An American Mythology for Modern Architecture
Gavin Macrae-Gibson (1988)
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=9276

The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories
Edward Hollis (2009)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Lives-Buildings-Parthenon-Thirteen/dp/1846271274
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/12/secret-lives-buildings-review-glancey

The Secret Life of Buildings
A blog at The Department of Architecture, UC Berkeley, US.
http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/courses/fa10/arch244/

The Secret Life of Buildings (2011, Channel 4)
Presented by architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-secret-life-of-buildings

It seems my precious title has already been used many other times by other people both before and after my use.

However, after only a cursory glance at these other references online, it became clear that none of them threaten to make my own efforts redundant. They all have very different purposes, identified together only by a common phrase. Although I coined the title before the tv series, it may be that I had read or heard about Gavin Macrae-Gibson’s book and may have recalled it subconsciously.

I only discovered these additional references and the imminent Channel 4 series on 30th July so I have not been able to read the books or watch the tv programmes yet, but I have decided to accompany my own work by looking at these other strands of architectural appreciation alongside my own.

Just to clarify, my body of work was not named after any of these other works and it is entirely coincidental. Also, it is not related to the tv-series. At least, not yet…

richardbolam.net

bankstreetarts.com

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