Infrastructural Realism: Guest Lecture with Mark Crinson


Daniels Building, Mediatheque (DA200)

Join architectural and art historian Mark Crinson, Birkbeck (University of London), for a special guest lecture on Monday, March 11, hosted by the Daniels Faculty's Architecture, Landscape, and Design PhD program.

In this talk, Crinson will focus on the early years of a new understanding of infrastructure, and uses various forms of representation (brochures, a feature film, architectural drawings) to explore the phenomenon in the case of the international airport just after the Second World War when infrastructural projects came into existence not only as “signs of themselves, but as trope, rhetoric, image, poetics.”

London (Heathrow) airport became the main location for the film Out of the Clouds (1955), interpreted here as a training manual in how to learn the airport, namely how to negotiate infrastructure either/both because you don’t really know it is there or/and because you understand it as demonstratively sensitive to human craft and experience. The film’s treatment of infrastructure has continuing associations to contemporary conversations about forced labor, central state planning, territoriality, immigration, and citizenship.

All members of the Daniels community, and interested members of the public, are invited to join. No advanced registration required. 

Mark Crinson is emeritus professor of architectural history at Birkbeck, University of London, and previously taught at the University of Manchester (1993–2016). He served as vice president and president of the European Architectural History Network. Recent books include Shock City: Image and Architecture in Industrial Manchester (2022, winner of the 2024 Historians of British Art Prize); The Architecture of Art History: A Historiography (2019, co-authored with Richard J. Williams); Alison and Peter Smithson (2018); and Rebuilding Babel: Modern Architecture and Internationalism (2017). His current book, titled Heathrow’s Genius Loci, will be completed in summer 2024. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2023.