Richard Long. Una línea trazada caminando 1967. Collection Dorothee and Konrad Fischer. ©VEGAP, Barcelona, 2012

The history of mapping is as old as humankind. The human need to know and appropriate it’s territory by drawing its limits has been essential for the development of nations and countries, but more than this, to satisfy the need of pertenence into a community. Following this main idea, there is a current exhibition at Caixa Forum Barcelona called Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought.

We can read a brief description about it:

We map our world in order to gain a glimpse of the reality in which we live. Since time immemorial, maps have been used to represent, translate and encode all kinds of physical, mental and emotional territories. Our representation of the world has evolved in recent centuries and, today, with globalisation and the Internet, traditional concepts of time and space, along with methods for representing the world and knowledge, have been definitively transformed. In response to this paradigm shift, contemporary artists question systems of representation and suggest new formulas for classifying reality.

We know about the existence of ancient cartographic maps dated from 6,000 B.C. that have evolved until the current times by using different tools for it’s survey and representation.

Read More


We just found through the blog “los vacíos urbanos” this fascinating film directed and produced by Norman McLaren in 1952.

The story is as simple as the story of two men, Jean-Paul Ladouceur and Grant Munro, who live peacefully in adjacent cardboard houses, as neighbours. When a flower blooms between their houses, they fight each other to the death over the ownership of the single small flower. It is a representation of the essence of human behaviors. Norman McLaren pointed:

“I was inspired to make Neighbours by a stay of almost a year in the People’s Republic of China. Although I only saw the beginnings of Mao’s revolution, my faith in human nature was reinvigorated by it. Then I came back to Quebec and the Korean War began. (…) I decided to make a really strong film about anti-militarism and against war.”

The film uses the technique known as pixilation, an animation technique using live actors as stop-motion objects. Here you can see it:

Miquel Lacasta, miembro del equipo del Urban Relational Laboratory ha desarrollado una serie de reflexiones en torno al concepto de “ciudad relacional” en su blog Axonométrica. En esta ocasión, citamos parte de su texto “Hacia una ciudad relacional”:

“En un artículo en el diario El País del pasado 14 de Mayo de 2011, Manuel Gausa reclamaba una Ciudad Reactivada. Concretamente el título del artículo Hacia una Barcelona Reactivada, buscaba una nueva actitud ante el modelo de ciudad Barcelonés, profundamente agotado en su propio ciclo de éxito. La habitual brillantez de Gausa daba en una clave aparentemente léxico/estética para replicar la falta de ideas que parecía detectarse entre los actores habituales de la ciudad. Tal clave consistía en activar el prefijo “re” a una serie de verbos-proclamas que permitirían ver la ciudad de Barcelona y por extensión cualquier ciudad plural y de tamaño intermedio en el mundo, con otra mirada, con otra visión, con otra actitud.

Más concretamente Gausa clamaba por concitar una actitud revitalizadora capaz de crear un urbanismo más empático y creativo. Estas actitudes re- se resumían en el reciclaje urbano, la renaturalización central, la revitalización económica y social, la reconexión urbana y territorial y el research urbano.

El texto de Gausa concluía con una proclama final: hoy la ciudad debe proyectarse internacionalmente como un entorno innovador y emprendedor, productivo y creativo; un entorno inductor capaz de generar auténticos referentes para una nueva sociedad del ocio y del conocimiento: de la interacción positiva (con el medio, con la sociedad, con la cultura y la tecnología) y de una nueva convivencia sensible más sostenible.

El resto del artículo en Hacia una ciudad relacional

“La riappropriazione della città”, by Ugo La Pietra [international architecture, designer and performer]. Ed. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1977

Born in Italy in 1938, the designer and architect studied at the polytechnic school in Milan. His career has been marked by experimental anthropological activities that explored the relationship between man and urban phenomenons, redifining the relationship between the individual and the environment.

More info at his web-site

We found today this documentary on the blog Open Source Cities. They describe it as “A quirky documentary on urban living and placemaking”. How to Live in a City [1964] was produced in cooperation with The University Council on Education for Public Responsibility. The Council, which operated from 1961 to 1975, funded a successful project on urbanism, examining the positive and negative aspects of the American city, resulting in a nationally televised series and a book of selected readings.

From the film’s current distributor:

Have you ever wondered what makes some cities better than others? In public access television pioneer George C. Stoney’s How to Live in a City, the argument is that it all depends on the quality of the public space.

New York City folk singer and architectural critic Eugene Ruskin guides us through unique locales which illustrate the fine line between organic and sterile urban spaces. It all depends on a place’s ability to attract and sustain, even if only momentarily, a sense of community.

And while some spaces succeed and others fail, one may wonder whether if it was designer’s intention to drive people away, or not.

In this feature length film Gary Burns, Canada’s king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the suburbs. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age.

Kenneth Chisholm reviewed the film with this words:

Since the end of World War II, one of kind of urban residential development has dominate how cities in North America have grown, the suburbs. In these artificial neighborhoods, there is a sense of careless sprawl in an car dominated culture that ineffectually tries to create the more organically grown older communities. Interspersed with the comments of various experts about the nature of suburbia, we follow the lives of various inhabitants of this pervasive urban sprawl and hear their thoughts. However at the end, there is a twist that plays on the falseness of the world in they live.

Below you can see the trailer of the documentary: