Patrick Keiller


    The most recent of three films that claim to document the projects of a fictional, unseen character called Robinson, Robinson in Ruins was photographed during ten months of 2008, supposedly by Robinson himself, and completed two years later, supposedly by “researchers” who had been given Robinson’s unedited footage and his notebook. The researchers are the Robinson Institute, a body conceived ten years earlier as a vehicle to continue Robinson’s work in his absence. An exhibition titled “The Robinson Institute” was displayed at Tate Britain, London, in 2012. The following paragraphs develop some further preoccupations.

    ACCORDING TO THE FILM’S NARRATOR, when Robinson was released from prison at the end of January 2008, “he made his way to the nearest city and looked for somewhere to haunt.”

    He believed that he could communicate with a network of nonhuman intelligences that had sought refuge in marginal and hidden locations. They were determined to preserve the possibility of life’s survival on the planet and enlisted him to work on their behalf.

    A few weeks later:

    From a nearby car park, he surveyed the center of the island on which he was shipwrecked: “the location,” he wrote, “of a Great Malady, that I shall

  • Patrick Keiller


    CHRIS MARKER was one of a number of innovators with careers most usually dated from the 1950s who had participated in World War II (John Latham [1921–2006] and Kurt Vonnegut [1922–2007] were others); he was born in the same year as his friends Yves Montand (1921–1991) and Simone Signoret (1921–1985), who would each narrate his 1963 film Le Joli Mai, Montand in French and Signoret in English; like Alain Resnais (b. 1922) he was older than Jean-Luc Godard (b. 1930) and François Truffaut (1932–1984) and only a few years younger than Jean-Pierre Melville (1917–1973); like Melville,