This publication has its provenance in an experimental workshop held in Sheffield, UK, in April 2016. Jointly organised by Theatrum Mundi and the School of English at the University of Sheffield, the workshop brought together a multidisciplinary group of creative practitioners, scholars, and theorists and invited them to contribute their expertise to a collaborative archaeology of a nonexistent building, a lost structure or structure of loss of which virtually nothing was known.
Effectively a collective exercise in speculative fiction, the workshop in Sheffield generated the findings archived in the GUIDEBOOK contained in this publication; it also elicited a series of interconnected conversations between participants on themes such as the following: the relationship between the real and the fictive and the material and the imaginary, cultural value in the context of the built environment, time and the urban, media archaeology, dissociation as creative process, and the possibilities of speculative fiction as a form of cross-disciplinary methodology. Because our uncommon building is by no means the only one, the publication also includes an instructional MANUAL. This provides some guidelines as to how to collectively excavate an uncommon building of your own and is intended as a pedagogical tool without purpose or given horizon.
Theatrum Mundi is a network of urbanists and artists in different cities. It provides a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion about cultural and public space in the city. The collective consists of academics, architects, planners, performing and visual artists, with the aim to stimulate debate around ways to revitalise urban culture.