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Dimensions:
234 × 156 mm
224 pages
Format:
Paperback with flaps
ISBN:
9781861890375
Illustrations:
180 illustrations
Published:
01 Jun 1999
Series:
Topographics
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Liquid City Marc Atkins, Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair is known for his ‘dense, impressionistic, psychogeographical formulations’ of London in books such as White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, Downriver and also the recent, critically-lauded London Orbital. A particular showcase for Sinclair’s unique style are his collaborations with photographer Marc Atkins: these eccentric, manic, often moving explorations of London’s hidden streets, cemeteries, canals, parks, pubs and personalities were first recorded in the highly acclaimed Lights Out for the Territory, praised in the Guardian as ‘one of the most remarkable books ever written on London’.

Liquid City documents the duo’s further peregrinations: consisting of 180 striking, atmospheric photographs by Atkins with accompanying texts by Sinclair, the book focuses on London’s eastern and south-eastern quadrants. An array of famous and lesser-known writers, booksellers and film-makers slip in and out of Sinclair’s annotations, as do memories and remnants of the East End’s criminal mobs, as well as physical landmarks as diverse as the Thames barrier and Karl Marx’s grave in Archway cemetery. The title Liquid City evokes the river Thames, which flows silently through both text and image, and to suggest the changes London has undergone and, like all cities, is constantly undergoing.

‘stunning photographs . . . Atkins’s use of eye, paper and chemicals is an alchemical homage to the mystery of light and dark’ – Jah Wobble, Independent on Sunday

Liquid City is . . . Alice in Wonderland for urban intellectuals, a book that just gets curiouser and curiouser. Which is what makes it so particular, of course, and so utterly alluring.’ – Melanie McGrath, London Evening Standard

‘In their previous collaboration Lights Out For The Territory Marc Atkins’ few dark, brooding photographs added focus to Iain Sinclair’s dense, impressionistic, psychogeographical formulations about the city in which he loves to drift. Here Atkins’ penetrating black and white portraits and his beautiful, troubling shots of a London we forget we know dominate. Sinclair adds occasional pieces in a lighter, more journalistic prose than readers of his wonderful, overwrought novels might expect, discussing Atkins, or one of his photographs, and their mutual project of attempting to pin down the story that is London. And he writes about other scribes (Peter Ackroyd, Michael Moorcock, John Healy) who share his fascination with one of the world’s great cities. This attempt to articulate a truth about a space is an impossible project, and it is impossible to hold a fixed position on it - as the title Liquid City suggests. Sinclair and Atkins know this (Sinclair praises his friend for creating flux whereas his writing tries to mould wriggling chaos) but the project proves worthwhile as it has produced words and some remarkable pictures that only such a troubled engagement could engender. This is a visual feast of contemporary photojournalism, in which Atkins’ visions and Sinclair’s words help the reader perceive a London that can easily be walked past daily.’ – Mark Thwaite, Amazon.co.uk

‘The London landscape that Atkins and Sinclair conjure up is a haunted one, and I suspect their imagery will continue to haunt readers long after they close this book. I have no doubt that this will become accepted as one of the most essential texts for anyone who cares for London.’ – Joe Kerr, Blueprint Magazine

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Marc Atkins is a freelance photographer. He has exhibited across Europe and North America, and his images have been published in books and magazines worldwide.

Iain Sinclair is the author of many books, including White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, Lights Out for the Territory, and the acclaimed London Orbital.