Download Urban Memory: History and Amnesia in the Modern City PDF

TitleUrban Memory: History and Amnesia in the Modern City
ISBN 139780203414613
File Size3.5 MB
Total Pages252
Table of Contents
                            Book Cover
List of illustrations
Illustration credits
Urban memory–an introduction
Chapter 1 Trauma and memory in the city
Chapter 2 Urban memory/suburban oblivion
Chapter 3 Clocking off in Ancoats
Chapter 4 Concrete and memory
Chapter 5 Totemic Park
Chapter 6 Remembering, forgetting and the industrial gallery space
Chapter 7 The future of the past
Chapter 8 9/11
Chapter 9 Mnemotechny of the industrial city
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Urban Memory

Urban Memory: History and amnesia in the modern city brings together ideas
about memory which bear upon the architectural and urban experience. It

presents a critical and creative approach to the theorisation of memory, and

focuses this burgeoning area of studies on the actual forms of the built

environment in the modernist and post-industrial city.

Urban memory was a key theme for many leading modernist writers and

social thinkers. Conversely, modernism in architecture often seemed to erase

memory from the city. More recently the two have come together, and cities

that were once centres of intensely forward-looking modernist culture

are now focused on commemoration. This can also be seen in the growing

number of architects specialising in monuments to trauma, the nostalgic

collaborations between conservationists and developers, and the ever-

increasing number of museums and amenity groups.

This book analyses these patterns, showing that the dynamics of history and

memory pervade our ‘post-urban’ and post-industrial cities as never before.

Contributors approach the theme from the overlapping fields of architectural

history, art history, cultural studies, sociology, fine art, critical theory and

psychoanalysis. Particular focus is on post-industrial Manchester, but the

book also includes studies of contemporary Singapore, New York after 9/11,

contemporary museums and art spaces, and memorials built in concrete.

The book is illustrated with images of architecture, art works, views of cities,

and maps, and includes ten specially commissioned pieces by leading

contemporary artists Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson.

Mark Crinson is an art and architectural historian interested in colonialism,
urban theory and contemporary art. He has published three other books and

from 2000 to 2002 was co-director of the AHRB-funded research project

‘Urban Memory in Manchester’.

Page 126

Chapter 5

Totemic Park
Symbolic representation

in post-industrial space

Paul Tyrer and Mark Crinson

Totemism helped to smooth things over and to make it possible to

forget the event to which it owed its origin.1

The urban industrial landscape of the past 200 years – stereotyped by images

of L.S. Lowry’s towering chimneys billowing smoke, and the hard grind of

heavy machinery right in the centre of cities – has now largely been dis-

mantled, run down or reintegrated into the city for new purposes. This is the

inevitable response to a new domination by post-industrial goods and

services, and their accompanying symbolic and cultural contexts and frames.

Leisure industries, for instance, have become an important driver of not only

what the city does but also how it governs and presents itself. As Mellor points

out, ‘In cities in declining regions . . . play and spectacle are increasingly the

crucial elements in reconstituting the city centre.’2 Such industries ‘fuel

the city’s symbolic economy, its visible ability to produce both symbols and


One of the more curious aspects of the British post-industrial city is

its recent reliance upon a symbolic vocabulary that plays on the industrial

past. Thus, there is a tendency not only to emphasise extant industrial form,

materials and symbols in residential, leisure and business settings, but also

to introduce them into new buildings and spaces. This is particularly marked

in Manchester, home of the Industrial Revolution and for a century the


Page 127

industrial heart of the nation, and now the leading regional city in terms of

entrepreneurial and architectural verve and ambition. Loft apartments with

stripped floors, vaulted bare-brick ceilings, iron columns and newly exposed

pipework have become the norm for aspirational living here, as in other

regional cities, but it was Manchester which first converted large chunks of

its Victorian architectural infrastructure into modern, desirable accommo-

dation. Manchester’s bar and club scene has long been (in)famous for its

drugs, dance and guns culture, however outdated all these (aside from the

drugs) have become. The city’s newest bars have occupied the least opulent,

most grimy industrial buildings but have showcased rather than concealed

the industrial internal detailing. The most extreme example of this, perhaps,

is the über-cool Deansgate Lock stretch of bars, set in railway arches, where

industrialesque copper-panelling and substantial piping systems have been

enhanced as essentially visible parts of the refurbishment.4 And service sector

businesses, not just those with an arts or architecture brief, have similarly

introduced industrial symbolism into the design of their own newbuild

premises. The new upmarket Selfridges store, for example, displayed large

pieces of industrial machinery in its windows when it opened in 2002.

Ferrious, Manchester’s most chic independent furniture store, occupies

another railway arch. Such spatial and architectural ‘collisions’ between the

post-industrial and the industrial do not apply merely to Manchester – other

formerly industrial cities in Britain have been undergoing similar trans-

formations (although perhaps the collisions are most evident here because

Manchester effectively defined the industrial city from the nineteenth

century). In particular, in this chapter, we are concerned to ask how the use of

the industrial symbol within post-industrial cities might be explained and

theorized. What cultural and social meanings inform such an appropriation?

What does this tell us about architectural practice, the processes of redevel-

opment, and the importance of the past and memory within such processes?

We will suggest that the theoretical deployment of the term

‘totemism’ within post-industrial space can make sense of these new devel-

opments via a reading of Freud’s Totem and Taboo (1913). Choosing Freud
as a basis for a theoretical model on post-industrial space may appear

incongruous, since Freud is writing ostensibly about a tribal society from

prehistory. However, both Julia Kristeva and Claude Lévi-Strauss5 argue

that Freud is actually describing his own society rather than making insights

into the prehistoric past, and thus this eliding of past and present makes

viable the appropriation of Freud’s model for contemporary purposes. The

theoretical deployment of the totem represents a shift away from the gentri-

fication model of redevelopment championed by Glass, LeGates and Hartman,

Laska and Spain, Hartman and Bouthillette6 among others, which focuses on

‘the replacement of lower-status groups by higher-status groups’ in private

Paul Tyrer and Mark Crinson


Page 251

sublime 130

suburbs 23–5, 38–44; industrial suburb 50–2

Suchard 104–5

Sudjic, D. 121

Surrealists xvii

Swiss Portland Cement Company 78

Switzerland 81; Hallen für Neue Kunst,

Schaffhausen 121, 123

symbols 43, 112, 188; symbolism 101, 113

tabula rasa 148–151, 154–6, 158–160,


Tafuri, M. 89

Taylorist working practices 106

Tel Aviv, Yad Labanim memorial 90

telephone 157

television 210

temporality 64–8, 159

terrorism 186–7, 202

Terragni, G. Casa del Fascio, Como 90; war

memorial, Como, Italy 79

textile industry 25, 27, 31

Thatcher Government 109

theatre of memory: see memory

Theseus xx

thetic phase 102; thetic break 111

Theweleit, K. 40 Freikorps 40

Third Reich 85–6

Tiege, K. 76–7

tiles 29, 35

time 17, 63, 66–8, 93, 152, 163, 202, 203:

empty time 6; see also temporality

Toqueville, A. de 68n3

totemism 99–114, 115n11

tourists xvii, 11

Towering Inferno 186

town planning 37, 42, 196

trace xiv, xviii, xx, 6, 15, 50, 61, 63, 66, 67,

174, 196

trade unions 83

Trafford Park see Manchester

trams 134–5; tram lines 111, 137; tram track


transparency 63

trauma xv, xvii, xviii, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14–15,

19n36, 32, 36, 154, 155, 182, 195

twin towers: see World Trade Center

Tyrer, P. 50

uncanny xx, 4, 126, 130, 154, 159, 163, 209

underdevelopment 148

United States 185, 186–9; see also America;

Judeo-Christian 185

urban memory xii, xiv, xvii, xviii, 18, 32, 43,

51, 196, 212

urban renewal 4

Urban Village 59, 69n23

urbanism xiv, 160, 170

utopia xiv, 63, 65, 138

Van Alen, W. 177; Chrysler building 177

van der Rohe, M. 170

Vendôme Column xvi

Venice xv; Gothic xvii; St. Mark’s Baptistery


Verdun, Monument of the Trench of the

Bayonets 93

Vergangenheitsbewältigung xix

Victorian architects 66

Victorian architecture 65–6, 100

Victorian Society 65

video 210

Vidler, A. xiv–xv, xix, xx

Vienna: Vienna Judenplatz Memorial 75

villages 109, 113, 116n41, 211: and villaging

xi, 59

villas 107

Viollet-le-Duc, E.-E. 81

Vriesendorp, M.: Flagrant délit 177

waiting rooms 14, 16

walking in the city 8, 9, 146

wall 24, 25, 33–8

warehouses 1, 27–8, 114, 122–3, 126, 163

waterfront development 55, 60

Warhol, A. 123

Washington DC: White House 181

Waterloo: battlefield xvi

weaving 6–7

Weimar: cemetery 84; Republic 83, 86

welfare state 42

Wentworth, R. 197–8, 200; An Area of

Outstanding Unnatural Beauty 197–200

Westinghouse 106

Whit Walks 60

Whiteread, R. 196; House 196

wife-swapping 39, 44n14

Wilford, M. and Stirling, J. 126

wish symbols 210–11

Wong, C. 160; Below: Absence 160

working class 35–7, 39, 42, 43, 50, 57, 83,

103–8, 111–12, 211



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World Heritage site 57, 62

World Trade Center xix

Yamaskai, M. 170, 178; Pruitt-Igoe housing

project 170

Yap, A. 146, 147, 151, 153, 156–7, 158–9,

161; compared to Baudelaire 156; The

Space of the City Trees 147; ‘there is no

future in nostalgia’ 151–2, 156–7, 158

Young, J. 36

Zinnemann, F.: High Noon 209–11

Zizek, S. 179–80, 184

Zukin, S. 101: The Cultures of Cities 101



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