Image, Text, Architecture brings a radical and detailed analysis of the modern and contemporary architectural media, addressing issues of architectural criticism, architectural photography and the role of journal editors. It covers examples as diverse as an article by British artist Paul Nash in The Architectural Review, 1940, an early project by French architects Lacaton & Vassal published in the journal 2G, 2001, and recent photography by Hisao Suzuki for the Spanish journal El Croquis. At the intersection of image and text the book also reveals the role of the utopian impulse within the architectural media, drawing on theories of utopian discourse from the work of the French semiotician and art theorist Louis Marin, and the American Marxist critic Fredric Jameson. Through this it builds a fresh theoretical approach to journal studies, revealing a hitherto unexplored dimension of "latent" or "unconscious" discourse within the media portrait of architecture. The purpose of this enquiry is to highlight moments where a different type of critical voice emerges on the architectural journal page, indicating the possibility of a more progressive engagement with the media as a platform for critical and speculative thinking about architecture, and to rethink the journals’ role within architectural history.
Robin Wilson works at the intersection of architecture and art through the writing of criticism and theory, curatorship and collaborative practice. He teaches history and theory of architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
"With critical sharpness and aesthetic attentiveness, Robin Wilson treads the elusive yet restrained territory of the architectural journal page. Through a materially inquisitive process of de-editing and re-assembling, Wilson unfolds an unsettling and revitalising u-topics challenging ingrained ideas of architectural representation, revealing the performative capabilities of the journal page as the disturbing and indeterminate elsewhere of a complex architectural present." – Maria Hellstrm Reimer, University, Sweden and The Swedish Design Faculty for Design Research and Research Education
"In his new book on architectural media, Image, Text, Architecture, Robin Wilson develops carefully-nuanced readings of a series of case-studies, ranging from a 1940 article by the artist Paul Nash in The Architectural Review to Hisao Suzuki’s photography for the Spanish publication El Croquis. Whilst focused on the construction of individual journal pages, Wilson’s expansive discussion brings much to bear upon this, drawing upon recent visual and literary theory in subtle and often surprising ways. Central here is Louis Marin's influential post-structuralist account of utopic discourse, with which Wilson works to develop sophisticated arguments about the meanings and effects of specific presentational strategies. Image, Text, Architecture not only draws our attention to something habitually overlooked, but also gives us a powerful way of thinking about it." – Mark Dorrian, University of Edinburgh, UK
"... we are led from the surface of the page into its depths, emerging equipped to reassess the surface as a whole. As such Wilson's work sits in somthing of a field of its own making." - Jon Astbury, Architectural Review