- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1st edition (April 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 185973488X
- ISBN-13: 978-1859734889
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,859,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body 1st Edition
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“Those few of us in the academy engaged in writing about the sociospatial relations of skating delight in the polished arguments that Borden presents over nine logically structured, pertinent and stylishly illustrated chapters.” ―Cultural Geographies
“Borden describes the emergence of not so much a sport as a way of life ... Its relation to architecture is kept beautifully clear ... a good read.” ―Building Design
“Skateboarders help us to think about buildings and their use. Borden argues that they draw our attention to the city as the site of perpetual change.” ―The Independent
“The first academic study of skateboarding.” ―Dazed and Confused
“There's absolutely no way I can do [the] work justice here the book is incredibly thought-provoking, especially from the perspective of actually being a skateboarder. I highly recommend it.” ―Sidewalk
“A fine book that I recommend to any skateboarder who can read at a college level.” ―Big Brother
“Borden owes as much to 30 years' of personal passion and experience as he does to any architectural or social theory.” ―The Architect's Journal
“[The book] delineates an architectural history, as yet largely unwritten, which focuses upon 'processes, possibilities, reproduction, performance and use.' Skateboarding, Space and the City reads the city through body and board - not merely through books. At a moment when architecture history/theory consists primarily of regurgitated texts intelligently referenced, inclusion of 'fieldwork' makes Borden's book an invaluable contribution to the field.” ―Archis
“[This book shows] a clearly detailed knowledge of both his chosen theoretical approach and the magazines of the skating community.” ―City
“This is an amazing book and a real surprise A first. Pick it up and you'll learn something interesting about the cities you skate in; you might even learn something about skating itself.” ―Slap Skateboard Magazine
“Even if you don't like books, this book is wicked This book is about you. It is not written by another 'band wagon jumper oner'. Iain Borden is a rare breed I'd like to meet this man and shake him by the hand. He is on our side.” ―Love 'N' Skate
About the Author
Iain Borden is Director of Architectural History and Theory and Reader in Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett, at the University College London.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this monograph, Borden's archive is largely skateboarding magazines. He talks some about zines and almost none about films, and the way he reads mags is simply (and a bit disappointingly) to quote from the alphabetic portions of those texts. This is not to say that this book is not replete with images, because it is -- photos, magazine pages, more photos, including even one of Borden in a pool at a skate park! love that moment in the text -- it's just that Borden is not a discourse analyst, so he doesn't break down and close read in the ways I might have wanted him too. But dude, he sure is an architectural theorist, and so what this book is is Borden dumping piles and piles of Lefebvre onto skateboarding in order to redefine architecture and make sophisticated sense of what might otherwise be considered a "mere" hobby.
That's right: Borden more or less erects a massive half pipe of Lefebvre's work on space and the city, rhythmanalysis, bodies, and the modern city, and then skates skateboarding and the spaces/landscapes that skateboarding takes place and shape in and around in RIGHT THROUGH that theoretical halfpipe. It makes for a yummy ride, if a bit of a repetetive one -- back and forth we go for all of those 267 pages largely riding on the simulacral wave that is the half pipe made out of Lefebvre. But since I dig Lefebvre, I was into the book.
Okay, but this is what Borden SAYS in this book, and what he claims, and what he ardently works to prove. He's mainly trying to say (aside from the statement that "Skateboarding is RAD!" which comes through on every page of this book, even though it is never expressly said) is that
*** get this *** Architecture is not buildings, and objects in our cities and lives are not texts, but that architecture is a sort of result of interactions of bodies in space. So the skater in the halfpipe makes something in excess of the pipe when he (and it usually is a he, Borden concedes; hot skater dudes populate this text while skate-grrls are few) goes for an arial, or does something unexpected with his body-board continuum. Skateboarding is just one way, and a very specific one, that space in the city is made and remade and created out of interactions of the skating kind.
Okay, so that seems to be his main idea, as I repeat it with flaws of all kinds, no doubt. He begins with chapters on wheels and boards, then moves to the skateparks (less interesting) and the urban appropriation of space/architecture by rampaging skater dudes (more interesting). This is where skating is radical, unlawful, wild ... RAD! Borden does a few other funny things: like saying skating is the parole to the lange of the boring everyday, or something like that. He's all theory-crazed, looking for any way he possibly can to see skateboarding as RAD! And he does. And it works.
I guess the main limitation of this book for me, and there were few, is the lack of critique. Borden doesn't see skateboarding as being nearly as commodified and caught up on "what's cool" and even a sort of coopted critique and radicalism as I see it to be. I think it's RAD, I guess, but in ways I wished he would have explored the commodification of it more, the rage and anger and ways that skating is perhaps misplaced and thus safe aggression and critique. I wanted it to be read not so much as RAD, but as a patterning with more facets, at least a few of them LAME. Without, it becomes some kind of cure-all activity, beyond human.
The beginning chapters are heavy reading and heavily referenced, but worth the time and effort. The later chapters go into an in depth and detailed look at skateboarding development and cultural issues.
He challenges readers to change their perception of architecture and spaces, and to look at how our own actions affect the space we occupy, by looking at skateboarding and its culture. He references Lefebvre who said, "Surely it is the supreme illusion to defer to architects, urbanists or planners as being experts or ultimate authorities in matters relation to space." He then goes on to talk about how the interaction addresses the physical architecture, yet responds with a dynamic presence not another physical object. Skateboarding produces space, but also time and the self. This book addresses how, architecture as a set of flows, as a set of experience and reproductions, can be embedded in the practices of architectural history - for as architecture is not itself a space, but only a way of looking at space. The rest of the book is a thoroughly researched look at skateboarding.
Its worthwhile noting that his is not a skateboarding magazine and is written in the academic tongue so is not easy to read. But worthwhile reading if you are interested in this field.