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Architecture

Jeremy Lecomte

jeremy.lecomte@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Previous education / experience

  • BA in Arts, Anthropology, and Philosophy (University Paris 8 / University of Copenhagen)
  • MA in Social Sciences (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris)
  • MPhil in Cultural Studies (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Thesis title

Architecture, Modernism and Complexity. Doxiadis Associates in Lagos (1960-1979)

Supervisors

Professor Albena Yaneva and Dr Lukasz Stanek

Research details

This research focuses on the research and planning projects that the Greek firm Doxiadis Associates carried out in Lagos and Nigeria between 1960 and 1979. By examining the ways in which Doxiadis Associates’ global modernism encounters Lagos, it explores the multiple tensions weaved between Lagos’ complex dynamics of urbanisation, and the analytic and normative categories, methods and means that inform their research and their design practice.

Research interests

This research is motivated by broader questions about architecture, modernity, and global urbanisation, notably bearing on the relation between the generic and complexity.

On the one hand, my research is concerned with the ways in which modernist debates about standardisation, urbanisation, and the industrial revolution continue to inform contemporary debates about architecture and global urbanisation. Situating this question within the broader history of European modernity since the Enlightenment, I am interested in analysing the role played by architecture in its rationalist project. This question has been the main subject of my MPhil thesis, The Anonymous City. From Modern Standardisation to Generic Models, defended in 2013 at Goldsmiths, University of London, under the supervision of Dr Luciana Parisi.

On the other hand, it is concerned by the ways in which specific architectural projects can be considered to be heuristic sites from which it becomes possible to question this project, not from inside, that is not from the unfolding of its own principles, but rather from outside (i.e. from the point of view of what constantly exceeded it, from the limit and horizon against which this project has posited its movement). From this standpoint, a central question in my research concerns the epistemic double bind in which any situated analysis lies: the double bind between local situations and their global ramifications; the double bind between empirical research and theoretical abstraction; or, in other words, the dialectical double bind that exist between the metaphysical and epistemic problems posed by localised empirical studies, and the empirical traction that speculative thought can gain on global conditions (e.g. urbanisation, capitalism, modernity, climate change) by untangling specific and local sites (e.g. particular cities, particular architectural projects, particular models).

These questions also inform the theoretical work that I am pursuing with Glass Bead, a collective research platform and a journal that I am developing together with Fabien Giraud, Vincent Normand, Ida Soulard and Inigo Wilkins since 2013. Glass Bead organised its first public event at MoMA and eflux in April 2014, as part of the programme Composing Differences, curated by Virginie Bobin. The second event took place in September 2014 at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, in Paris.

The same questions are also central to my art practice. I mainly work in collaboration with Juan Camelo, with whom I have been most recently working on a literary, photographic and sculptural project entitled Cosmic Strip ou Paysage avec personnages en quête cosmologique. This work proposes a speculative and sociological investigation on the Parisian region and its recent transformations. It has been exhibited at L’Espace Khiasma, Les Lilas (France, 2014), in collaboration with Yves Mettler, and will be the object of a book (2015). We are currently starting a new project, Mille Monochromes Littéraires ou Tableaux de craie, which, focusing on the Cretaceous period, draws lines between archaeological reports, anthropological kinship studies, communism, erosion, and chalk dust.

Recent publications

  • Lecomte, Jeremy., et al. (2014) "Glass Bead", in Le Journal des Laboratoires, 2013-2014, Aubervilliers: Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers. 
  • Lecomte, Jeremy. (2013) “Beyond Indefinite Extension: About Bruno Latour and Urban Space”, in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, No. 21, pp. 462–478. doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12044
  • Lecomte, Jeremy. (2013) “Speculative Architectures” (Review of Luciana Parisi. Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics and Space, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013, Mute Magazine [online]. Available at: http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/speculative-architectures
  • Catren, Gabriel and Jeremy Lecomte. (2012) “Translation: the philosopher's task. Interview with Gabriel Catren”, Translation from French by Sara Heft, IF-Verso [online], November 2012. 
  • Lecomte, Jeremy. (2012) “Speculative Realism: The Short Story of a Contemporary Label”, Translation from French by Jill McCoy, in IF-Verso [online], June 2012.