The Invitation of Precarity

Summer already, though I’m writing this wearing my winter jacket and leg-warmers.

I love writing outside as much as I love moving outside. The latter continues to be my daily practice. A love affair with the land, the weather, the sky and my moving body. Right now I’m snuggled in with one of my favourite rocks.

I want to share this lovely short film made by a student on the Weathering Well design studio I contributed to earlier in the year at Edinburgh College of Art.

Karina Rac, the MA student who made the film, resonated very much with Not Brittle, Not Rigid, Not Fixed the work that I made for Edinburgh Art Festival in 2022 which circled around Richard Sennet’s belief that how we are in our bodies reflects how we build our cities. In his words:

 “…the organization of bodily sensation influences how people behave in cities. It also influences the spaces they make” 

“….how the sense of the body enters into the built environment … how over the course of time different biological and cultural understandings about what the human body is, its physiology, its sense life, how that kind of organic understanding influences people’s ways of building inorganic forms…” 

I love Karina’s exploration of precarity and precariousness in her final portfolio work

Precarious – subject to change or unknown conditions, uncertain

which wonderfully reflects the body’s capacity to read, respond and adapt to the ever-changing environment it lives in constant collaboration with.

We tend to think of architecture as a fixed thing when in fact it holds a liveness for the body which is in constantly shifting dialogue and negotiation with surfaces and textures, light levels and temperatures, depth and breadth and heights of spaces. Architecture is a veritable sensory feast for the body, and in this sense our buildings always hold precarity, and perhaps the more of this there is, the more invitations there are for the body to be more fully alive. Precariousness can be an opportunity to build skills, awareness and resilience in the body and in being. Dealing with uncertainty is so very much needed in these times

Here is the film:  Precarious Performance                                                                                  I find it so wonderfully visceral. Thanks to Karina for sharing

I so enjoyed Weathering Well, yet another opportunity to bring people into body and to connect body with building. I loved the students final portfolio exhibition and seeing the movement influences pepper through their work. Good luck to all the students as they embark on the next stages of their careers

The rest of the summer is going to be busy, more on that later. For now I’ll keep nestling into the living 350million year old rock face, into its welcoming warmth, its strength, solidity, slowness and steadfastness. There feels little precarity here, yet it is constantly feeding my senses. The weather though is another thing

Hope everyone is finding some places to nestle this summer

Go well


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