continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 4.3 / 2015: 1-2

Letter from the Editors

Lital Khaikin, Paul Boshears, Jamie Allen, Matt Bernico


This issue of continent. deals with the theme of intangible architectures. While in keeping with the theoretical and experimental nature of previous issues, this release intends a balance with an urgent grounding in current events, political schemas and areas of research that demand broadened dialogue. An underlying conversation represents some response to the tension that is enabled through systems that shape experience, behaviour and meaning – examining the imprints and traces that are left on our beings by these forms.

In some cases, this tension is manifest as social violence, where political and economic conditions are inseparable from the cultural expression of these structures. The idea of intangible architectures as political agents may relate to emergency states, militarised environments, questions of statehood and national borders, and the patterns of self-determining communities (Paul Boshears, Charles Stankievech, Ethel Baraona Pohl, César Reyes Nájera, Léopold Lambert). Architectures that are not yet constructed, and the rhetoric used to justify or oppose such development, are also revealing of the philosophy of private developers and communities of resistance (Lital Khaikin, Nathan Medema).

We may then find, after encountering these most immediate forms of intangible architectures, the spatial manipulations of social and intimate behaviour, laws, experiences, and memories. Architectural structures that do exist may yet conceal more complex frameworks, which exude laws that are autonomous to their initial, intended use. These subtle systems are encountered in liminal and transitory zones of city space, in artist-run exhibition spaces, in the homes that we recreate in our memories, in the emotional symbolism we create from structural space (Paolo Patelli, Giuditta Vendrame, Simone Ferracina, Sophie-Carolin Wagner, Tiara Roxanne).

But then, may we go deeper to find traces, mirrors of these intangible architectures, within language and more abstract experience of atmosphere? Do the systems by which we begin a construction of our understanding of the world – from phonemes to the cartographies that are charted in sonic atmosphere – not also shape our behaviours and relationships to space? (Kaie Kellough, Jason Sharp, Orit Halpern) In all cases, we are asked to consider the manifestations of structures that determine our experiences, interpretations and relationships to space. Let these be public or intimate – they engage the imagination equally, challenging us to think about the way these imprints affect our shared presence and relation to all beings.


The image series included in the index is pulled from the Vancouver Archives’ public collection, depicting aerial views of trenches in France, in 1917. Taken by Major James Skitt Matthews (1878-1970), the photographs are now just under a hundred years old, reminding of the land-borne trauma and human devastation of the First World War.


[1] July 28, 1917. France. Nuns Alley. (Letter from the Editors)

[2] May 9, 1917. France. (A Tale of Two Cities | Ethel Baraona Pohl and César Reyes Nájera)

[3] July 7, 1917. France. (AlphabetA | Kaie Kellough and Jason Sharp)

[4] July 9, 1917. France. (Remus has to Die | Léopold Lambert)

[5] July 19, 1917. France. (A Draft for Asinabka | Lital Khaikin)

[6] July 19, 1917. France, v2. (The Falls from Here | Nathan Medema)

[7] July 21, 1917. France. (Cloudy Architectures | Orit Halpern)

[8] July 28, 1917. France. Noggin Trench. (Friction Atlas | Paolo Patelli)

[9] July 28, 1917. France. Nuns Alley, v2. (BlakeBlakeBlake | Simone Ferracina)

[10] August 5, 1917. France. Nestor Trench. (Art Space Archaeology | Sophie-Carolin Wagner)

[11] August 9, 1917. France. (Lacuna | Tiara Roxanne)

[12] August 16, 1917. France. (A Charles Stankievech Dossier | Paul Boshears and Charles Stankievech)