9781781687765-max_221 more images image

The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes

Essays by the iconic British filmmaker on the relationship between film, cities and landscape
In his classic sequence of films, Patrick Keiller retraces the hidden story of the places where we live, the cities and landscapes of our everyday lives. This collection explores the surrealist perception of the city; the relationship of architecture to film; how cities change over time, as well as an urgent portrait of post-crash Britain. The View from the Train establishes Keiller as one of the most perceptive writers and thinkers about the city, landscape and politics.

Reviews

  • “Patrick Keiller’s films (including London and Robinson in Space) are some of the most beautiful and evocative images of contemporary urban environments we have; in this collection of lucid and eloquent essays he shows us the theoretical rigour that lies behind his practice. Essential reading for urbanists, cineastes, psychogeographers – and indeed anyone who either lives in cities, or cares about them; so: everyone.”
  • “Keiller is Britain’s most observant and provocative film-maker around the subject of cities and the landscape. In these wonderful essays, he explores the political and cultural forces behind how the UK looks.”
  • “An enigmatic, intermittently brilliant collection of essays about the built landscape of Britain and how it has changed in the last thirty years.”
  • “Perceptive, educated, un-obvious musings on place and inhabitation.”
  • “Our most original geographical and political thinker.”
  • The View from the Train often delights with its sly, impish wit and observation.”
  • “An essayist of stylish rigour.”

Blog

  • Infrastructures of Empire and Resistance


    Demolition of "The Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, October 2016. 

    In late October 2016, I packed my bags for a short trip abroad, leaving a region raw with struggle over the racial and colonial violence of infrastructure. In places like Standing Rock, Flint, Muskrat Falls, Toronto, and Baltimore, conflicts raged over the targeted violence of energy, water, border, and policing systems. Movements for Black lives, for migrants’ rights, for indigenous sovereignty, and for economic and environmental justice were increasingly mapping violent infrastructure systems with their direct actions and analyses. The water protectors’ camps at Standing Rock were large and growing, animated by spirit, ceremony, and unprecedented gathering as they halted the Dakota Access Pipeline. The largest prison strike in history, 45 years after the Attica uprising, was calling out the inhumanity of American carceral infrastructure. Black organizers were denouncing infrastructure crises like the one poisoning Flint, Michigan, suggesting these would be the defining struggles for Black communities to come. More than 50 Indigenous Nations from across Turtle Island had just signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, with the goal of protecting Indigenous lands and waters from all proposed pipeline, tanker, and rail projects. In my hometown of Toronto, Black Lives Matter members were making claims for the protection of “Black Infrastructure.” Blockades of damns, ports, highways, and rail infrastructure had become frequent news virtually everywhere, except for in the reporting of the mainstream media.

    Continue Reading

  • Architecture and Cities Reading



    As the cost of housing continues to rise and affordable housing remains scarce, we face a global housing crisis of epic proportions. Our cities are now a geographic representation of the widening wealth gap, with the rich moving upwards into sky-high luxury living, and the poor being pushed further and further out. Architecture reflects and reinforces divisions with ever greater brazenness.


    This housing crisis has deep political and economic roots—requiring a more radical response than ever before. Familiarise yourself with the geography of inequality, politics, and identity with these books on our modern cities. 

    Our Architecture and Cities reading is all 50% off, with free shipping and bundled ebooks (where available), until the end of the year. See here for more sale details.

    Continue Reading

  • An Open Letter to the British Left

    This essay was first published in Jacobin


    (2015 Plan B conference: Stefano Fassina, Oskar Lafontaine, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and Yanis Varoufakis. via melenchon.fr)

    Dear friends and comrades,

    To a foreigner who has been living and working in the United Kingdom for the last sixteen years, the immediate post-referendum situation appears highly paradoxical. It seems as if the shock has been of such a magnitude that even the most celebrated British virtues — sense of humor, understatement and, above all, solid common sense — have faded away.

    On the losing side, which includes, of course, most of the media and the economic and political establishment, the impact is as devastating as it is unexpected. The markets are plunging all over the world and the City of London, the economy’s central nervous system, faces disaster.

    Continue Reading