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.

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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


Mauro Gil Fournier E. is an architect at estudiosic in Madrid, Spain. He can be followed on Twitter @mgilfour or @desdevic. He has written this post first in Spanish for La Ciudad Viva and now in English, for the Polis BLOG.

The text remarks the importance of “urban empathy” and how the architect can become involved in the relational city as a urban care provider. We can read:

Self-care is a sign of knowing oneself. Caring for others, therefore, means getting close to them, knowing and understanding them. Caring for oneself also implies complex relationships with others and always reflects on others. In ancient Greece, Socrates took care of Athenian citizens by inciting them to take care of themselves, and thus caring for each other. Care and knowledge of oneself represents the basis of the ethic of the individual in the Greco-Roman polis, linking the question of caring for the polis to politics.

The complete post can be read at Polis Blog

“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

The Master Programme Relational City. Other ways to conceive the plural city is based on the idea that the new challenges of cities, plural and intelligent, are not just working in conjunction with basic disciplinary aspects of urbanism, infrastructure, paths, patterns, but are also closely linked to energy balance criteria and thermodynamic models, theories involving dynamic urban systems, socio-cultural aspects related to the culture of networking and complex behaviours and the evidence that the town still has economic potential for develop an ecosystem-like economy.

Here you can have an overview of the content of the master:

We are receiving applications for the 2011-12 program which is organized by the ESARQ School of Architecture and the Faculty of Humanities at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Review the requirements for admission and apply online.

La ciudad ya no puede ser un lugar pensado desde las reglas, sino un espacio vivido desde los principios.

Ya han pasado muchos años desde que se ha podido constatar el fracaso de planificar las ciudades a medio y largo plazo. Quizás este sistema fuera pertinente a principios del siglo XIX donde todavía se podía planificar atendiendo a curvas de crecimientos predecibles y comportamientos sociales estables. Hoy a principios del siglo XXI está ya claro que crear regulaciones es tan absurdo como pensar que lo que hoy es válido lo será también pasado mañana. La ciudad depende en mayor medida del comportamiento y el uso del entramado urbano que de la constitución física específica de cada calle, cada acera, cada edificio. Naturalmente hay secciones de calle que restringen un comportamiento “urbano” o malbaratan una lógica de lo “común” y en cambio otros dispositivos urbanos favorecen el desarrollo de la identidad (tanto individual como compartida) o ayudan al florecimiento de acontecimientos urbanos que establecen vínculos emocionales con sus habitantes.

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