Patrick Keiller: The Dilapidated Dwelling

An excellent night out last Thursday, with a special LFA 2014 showing of Patrick Keiller’s ‘lost’ film, The Dilapidated Dwelling, made in 2000 for Channel 4 but never shown by them. Was followed by a discussion between Keiller, Anna Minton and Sam Jacob (formerly of FAT, recently man-about-Venice).

The film, conceived in the days when great things still seemed possible from the Blair government, can be seen as subtly hopeful, with talking heads provided by the late Martin Pawley, Cedric Price and other luminaries. Keiller’s film, through a fictional protagonist (voiced by Tilda Swinton) asks why, when technology in other areas of consumerism continues to evolve, has housing remained so backward, so lacking in innovation? In fact, the film turns out to be rather too prescient in terms of the current housing crisis (which of course is now much much worse than it was in 2000) and concludes that perhaps Britons are doomed to live to forever live in ageing, dilapidated dwellings while remaining avid consumers of high-tech.

In the discussion afterwards, the panel gloomily agreed that discussions about innovation in house building have now been largely forgotten in the face of ludicrously high land values that have swept the innovation question to one side. Nevertheless, a thought-provoking evening, and if you get a chance to see the film, do so.





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