This question lay at the heart of Issue 4 of Crumble Magazine, launched in May this year, and has shaped our thoughts and activities over the last 12 months. From reflection on the range of articles, creative writing and illustrations wrapped between the covers of the magazine and, through responses to our exhibition at the Lighthouse in Glasgow as part of Architecture Fringe 2019, two key interpretations have emerged.
The first takes up the challenge: we should not be sitting comfortably when, as individuals with a stake in the built environment, we are facing threats to our cities and our futures. These come in varied forms and scales, and open the door for innovation, collaboration and determination to rise above discomfort and tackle problems ahead.
Following this, we recognise the value of comfort as an influencing factor in delivering change. Our homes and the buildings we frequent create places of comfort. Our individual identity, strengthened, perhaps, by allegiance to building, street or city, brings us comfort when we reach beyond. Architecture facilitates the rituals of our lives, heralds the familiar, and structures the uncomfortable.
So, we are not sitting comfortably and, as Crumble moves forward, we have been driven by the strength of responses to this provocation. The new academic year has brought a major restructuring of our editorial team and a host of new faces to the fore and, in considering the magazine’s next theme, we felt duty bound to develop on this with a view firmly fixed on the present and future. The enormous presence of our damaging impact on the environment and the need for significant and rapid change is firmly within our consciousness, and undoubtedly represents the biggest issue for our future issues.
Balancing the immediacy of these issues with a provocation inclusive of a wider discussion, and yet one not branded solely as a ‘crisis’, led to our theme for Crumble Issue #5: ‘moment, movement’. Both terms carry enormous agency, and their pairing is illustrative of the significance of their relationship. Movement is dynamic, progressive and decisive, pushing beyond ideas and shifting discussion into action. Individuals move in complex and untraceable motions through cities and spaces and, in doing so, exhibit the opportunity and possibility of enacting change. The movement is a group too: driven by a collective ethos and ambition, movements drive progress.
The moment is an elusive measurement of time, capturing and holding a temporal interval in place. A moment focusses the attention and a movement is often a response to a moment in time. For Crumble, too, the moment is important as a space outside of time: when one can ‘take a moment’, there is space and time to breathe. Creative thought and reflection rely on this opportunity in a hectic and rushed world and, taking time to stop, think, and then move forwards with purpose is critical to our approach.
In many ways, this represents a continuation in emphasis; building on our discomfort and cognisant of the importance of positive, people-oriented change, we stride into Issue 5 set on moments now and movements to come. The dynamism of the city and the individual, captured and aligned to collective goals and ambitions, is a hugely powerful force: when is the moment and what should the movement be?
This is an extract from RIAS Quarterly Winter 19/20, guest illustrated by Cécile Ngoc Suong Perdu of CRUMBLE, written by the Editors of Crumble Magazine.