London Orbital by Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit (vs Marc Auge?….PGPD???)

Iain Sinclair is the author of the book ‘London Orbital’.  This book documents his 12o mile walk around the ringroad of London, the M25.  I haven’t read the book, it is a beast at 450 pages!..especially when you have so much else on the go as I do right now, but i would like to read it, it looks like a real journey.   Sinclair looks at a rather mundane entity,the M25, and seeks for a connection with it.

London Orbital gets under the skin.  What looks at first like a dull and deeply unappealing journey is actually a multi-layered, lyrical, ugly, mythical, engaged and engaging excursion from the present into the past and back again.  A filmmaker sets out to make a voyage of discovery on London’s orbital motorway, the M25.  He enlists the help of several others to film the motorway from several points, drive endlessly around it and dig up stories and potential beauty behind the motorway. London Orbital takes off from Iain Sinclairs visionary book of the same title, which took the writer on a walk around the 120-mile route of this infernal circuit, excavating the histories of the sites through which it passes [or which were destroyed to enable its passage]. But rather than recreate Sinclair’s perverse perambulations, Petit took to the road, holding out until the tediousness of a drive without beginning or end began to produce visions: of Stokers vampires; of J.G. Ballards Shepperton; of Margaret Thatchers cozy conversations with Augusto Pinochet; of secret toxic dumps and ragged, dazed wanderers at the edge of the future’s past.’

Petit almost endlessly drives around ‘in orbit’ attempting to find a narrative within the M25 that we can connect to.  To uncover the history within the places that he passes through and to create a ‘museum of memory’, to find the lost voices of London and create a visual map of ‘all of the M25’s secrets’.  Yet in conclusion Petit finds that all the cultural and historical associations that may define this space become overwhelmed by the senseless repetition and true boredom of continuous transience.  We become ‘ a patient of the M25, we become like Bram Stokers ‘undead’.  Our personal experiences that collectively could become the essence of how we define that space get lost in this lack of feeling, it subdues our senses, it diminishes our experience and erases our memory, it continues to be a negative space.  

Petit meets Ballard on part of his journey, here is an excerpt from the film: 





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