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Orbiting London – A Conversation with Iain Sinclair

Event Date: 21 March 2011
Room B36
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX


Orbiting London – A Conversation with Iain Sinclair


Iain Sinclair, writer, poet and film-maker, will discuss – in conversation with Iain Boal, (social historian and Fellow of the Institute for the Humanities) his four decades of chronicling the life of the capital. More than any contemporary author Sinclair’s work is suffused with the spirit of place, of London as a palimpsest, in particular the environs of Hackney, his home since the mid-60s. Sinclair’s books include Downriver, Rodinsky’s Room, London Orbital, Lights out for the Territory, London: City of Disappearances, Hackney: That Rose-Red Empire.

Iain Boal (BIH Research Fellow) is a social historian of science and technics, with a special interest in visual culture, public space and the commons. Educated in the British Isles, he moved to the US in 1982, where he has taught at Harvard, Stanford and the University of California, in the Geography Dept at Berkeley and Community Studies at Santa Cruz. He is associated with Retort, a group of writers, artists and artisans based for two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. With James Brook he edited Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information (City Lights). He is the author, with T.J. Clark, Joseph Matthews and Michael Watts, of Retort’s Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (Verso). He is co-editor of West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California (PM Press, 2011), and his brief history of the bicycle in planetary perspective, The Green Machine, is forthcoming from Notting Hill Editions. In 2005/6 he was a Guggenheim Fellow in Science and Technology.

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