Get real!

It’s about reality, really.

Get real!

It’s about reality, really.
Why do we work on Public Space? Are we working for it or are we using it as a medium for our own endeavours? It’s not about us, it’s not about the art. It’s about reality, really.
File under
  • # Construction
  • # Social
  • # Infrastructure
  • # Other

Public Space interventions are really in, right now. But why are we doing it? What are our goals, criteria? What is our purpose?

Reality is interesting enough as it is and it’s about that we should be working: bringing reality back to the spotlight. Public intervention should, thus, help create critical thinking about the space we live in, help promote a collective sense of responsibility about our own reality.

By making reality’s processes intelligible as they are – i.e., with no predefined conception of what’s right and wrong about it – everyday users of space (so yeah, everyone) get a chance to reposition themselves in a reality that is so well-known, that it became numb. Whatever we choose to do (or not to do), it should be an actual choice, not the result of a lack of engagement.

Interventions should be a means to an end, not the end itself: it’s about an approach strategy, rather than the material result. It is, in principle, ephemeral. It’s reality that’s permanent.

In the context of a Street Arts Festival, the city welcomes all kinds of external interventions. The proposal here is to include the city itself, as it is, as a part of the festival cultural offer. By keeping a part of a street in its day-to-day state, reality becomes an intervention in its own right.

Repavement work was scheduled and a cultural programme was to take place. Local material could be used as a trigger for debating the place, its unique conditions and the social role of Intervention in Public Space. It could be used as a tool for increasing critical thought and to fight cultural passiveness about space.

The premise was to solve a city problem: to finish a block, to resolve a blind wall. By duplicating this – so considered – problem, the wall achieved architectural acceptance. What are, then, the criteria to decide whether something is right or wrong?

The aim is to emphasize natural environment, to look at it as if for the first time: landscape values are not lost, we just tend to forget about them. This mechanism was conceived to highlight reality: it does not change the view, it just invites us to actually see it.

Olafur Eliasson – TED Talk 2009
This kind of concern is not new at all. Why, then, does it seem never to be truly a part of architectural discourse?

Idea by

Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
ORA Collective
Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão – now as ORA – are long term partners. Architects from Oporto, they’ve walked very different roads that enrich their common work around ephemeral interventions. Believing that reality is interesting on its own, with no subterfuges or props, ORA aims to return it its value on everyday life and stimulate critical thought about it. This is the fundamental principle of the work they’ve been developing over the last few years.

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