We got rank in SCOPUS
in the area of Art and Humanities (Visual Arts and Performing Arts)-
We got rank in SCOPUS
in the area of Art and Humanities (Visual Arts and Performing Arts)-
By -Zoltán Somhegyi DOI: https://doi.org/10.1344/waterfront2021.63.4.01
Cities have been inspirational for the creators of visual art works long since, first as mere secondary, additional motifs to indicate the “urban” environment of the main scene, then as subject-matters in their own right. Those images could depict both imaginary and actual cities of the past and of the future, including mythological and Biblical locations, documenting distant lands and fantasizing on the appearance of utopian cities. In some of these aspects, the history of city representations shares significant similarities with the history of landscape depictions.
In the present paper, however, I aim to focus on a curious and particular detail in this pictorial tradition. Following and further investigating a brief reflection by Michel Makarius from his 2004 book on Ruins, I would like to compare the visuality and aesthetic effects of dense and empty cityscapes, of which two classical examples could be the capriccios – imaginary views of cities completely filled with aesthetically pleasing elements, including magnificent remnants of the Antique heritage – and representations of cities in which their emptiness is highlighted to such extent that the observer tends to assume that the real subject-matter of the image is not the city, its buildings, forms and physical components but exactly its being “empty”.
These “extremities” on the broad range of cityscapes, i.e., the densely-filled and the extremely depopulated are, however, not merely historical sub-genres of long-gone centuries. These typologies have survived to this day, in various versions and with diverse accents; what’s more, they seem to be more relevant than ever in understanding not only the nature of these artistic representations and their aesthetic references, but also in learning more of our contemporary reality itself. It is enough to think of the numerous ways in which artists approach the convoluted issues and challenges of urban life today, with the classical references and visual vocabulary in mind, either unconsciously creating occasional parallels or using them as explicit forerunners to their own works. The density of the global megapolises are represented in artistically novel ways often with socially critical overtones, while the images of empty cities – not long ago, for example, during the recent pandemics and lockdowns – are again resulting in aesthetically inspiring and insightful works incentivizing us to reflect on the oscillating dynamisms of our present urban realities. Therefore, it is particularly beneficial to observe such renderings of our cities and hence to raise more our awareness of the multiple global issues that are often very strongly manifested in the everyday life in large metropolises. Pieces of art thematising the extreme forms of city life can become very efficient ways of constantly reminding us of our duties of taking care of both our cities and our life.
representations of cities; dense cityscapes; empty cities; aesthetics of urbanity
Samuel Esteban Padilla-Llano, María V. Machado-Penso, Emilio Reyes-Schade, Paola M. Larios-Giraldo, Irina Cabrera-Sánchez, Emerson Martínez-Palacios, Daniel González-Forero, Juan Tapias-Martínez
Barranquilla, a city located in an intertropical geographical latitude on the left bank of the Magdalena’s River mouth, is constituted as a conglomerate of pieces due to its urbanization processes. Processes that began an accelerated urban development during the first decades of the 20th century, without an Urban Plan for the management of its vast territory. In the absence of this, bourgeois neighborhoods are drawn up to allocate European Immigrants by the time that other informal neighborhoods appear spontaneously to allocate local and regional immigrants.
Among the bourgeois neighborhoods, El Prado neighborhood stands out, developed according to the urbanistic principles of the Modern Movement, following the Garden City model, it constitutes the main urban landmark of the city in the 20th century.
That is how El Prado is planned with a continuous urban layout and built in each of its properties, houses, and buildings of architectural styles like those built in the north American and British cities. Among these buildings, which are now patrimonial, stands out: the construction of fifty-four isolated houses for the Barranquilla elite, the El Prado Hotel and the opening of the Country Club.
The passing of time has generated functional transformations in the El Prado neighborhood that have modified its symbols and imaginaries. However, the declaration as an Asset of National Cultural Interest, through Resolution 0087 on February 2, 2005, has prevented the structural modification of its architectural heritage pieces, front gardens, courtyards, and most of the plant species, as well as the urban layout.
Nowadays there are a confluence of integrated and complementary manifestations that can be lived in the neighborhood and are conjugated with cultural activities developed in the urban space, activities that are linked with cultural and artistic scenarios which by the passing of the time have been set up in the neighborhood. This confluence has generated a synergy between the Garden City model, the typical daily residential life of the Caribbean that inhabits part of the architectural heritage, the culture hosted in heritage buildings and the wide open public spaces, reaffirming the living as a condition to be considered from the heritage understanding as a matter of future. An understanding that, also puts in value the human manifestations that are less recognized, since with it, the territory acquires other potentials. This is how the initiative of the Museo Vivo El Prado promotes this value as a process of urban regeneration.
The potential value of the living, structured under the concept of Museum, through the process of urban regeneration, includes the El Prado neighborhood as a territory of key opportunities in cultural management and innovation, through the startup of other economic models that exclude the possibility of gentrification. That is how this research is immersed to an in-depth study of urban regeneration, the understanding of the image of the city as a piece of art and the research on the significance of museums in different instances. Concretizing this way, the conception of the Living Museum as the meaning of urban space that firstly, does not take its collection out of context, but in opposition, is generated around itself, taking advantage of the dynamic, symbiotic, socially balanced spatial and cultural systems in which democratic and spontaneous dynamics that develop, grounds and support an economic, natural and cultural equilibrated system. It is not a matter of creating an untouchable inert environment, but to allowing actions and relationships between visitors and inhabitants that enhance those dynamics.
This is how The Museo Vivo El Prado, proposed as a cultural and creative innovation district, will not only generate impact and economic retribution, but it will also make possible the transformation of collective imaginaries, founding their identities and consolidating their image. That will be favored by its initial urban planning energized by the ways of living that happens in this heritage environment, letting it being recognized as its “own brand”, from the territorial marketing, in terms of recognition and promotion within the city, by the incentive of the ‘Orange economy’ that is one of the Colombian National Government goals
In this way, the Museo Vivo El Prado is projected from the understanding of the heritage as a matter of future, standing apart from the traditional concept of a museum, this is, as a static, inert and inanimate concept that takes out the collection of its context and uses the buildings as a supports for other artwork. In Opposition the Museo vivo El Prado places the concept of the museum in the dimension of urban management and regeneration combined with creative economy processes, to be handed over to a democratic, public, open-air space. That is how the urban space is the museum itself, its limits are the territory on which the heritage is administratively placed and the sky as its upper border.
This article aims to study the public art of the El Prado neighbourhood in Barranquilla. For this, the general urban context of the city is analysed, including samples of public art from other urban areas of this city.
The article is structured as an “exercise in style” that puts into dialogue “feeling” and “knowing”. A feeling derived from the experience on the territory obtained in three trips to this city, which is complemented by the analytical knowledge derived from the study of the different issues raised. That is why, from the point of view of reading, a differentiation has been made in typography and its colour. The Calibri light font in black describes the sensations of a gadabout, a Spanish term close to the Baudelairdian flâneur but without its elite charge, immersed in territory. The Courier typography in garnet, contrasts the information obtained sensory with the used analysis documentation.
The COVID19 pandemic has left thousands dead, hundreds of thousands of infected people, a health system on the brink of collapse; the discovery that an important part of the fundamental services are those that have little social consideration and less salary and have had Spaniards confined for 10 weeks – just now the confinement measures begin to flex.
While a supportive citizenship applauds essential services every night at 8 p.m., and organizes solidarity networks to alleviate the “hunger queues” and the devastating effects the pandemic has and will have on popular classes, fleeing the war language used by the political class that has not yet understood that YES the virus understands borders, those of social class. Citizens have clearly understood that this is not a war, that this is not about heroes.
In this context two monuments have just been unveiled in Madrid. One responsibility of the Madrid City Council devoted to those who died during the pandemic – as if the pandemic had ended. The other monument is the sculpture “Heroes of COVID19”.
The City of Madrid monument is a cauldron designed by architect Carlos Rubio Carbajal, located on an island at the beginning of Calle Alcalá towards Sol square. The cauldron is a circular piece of black steel almost two meters in diameter, like a large plate, placed on a prism also of steel. At the foot of the prism a commemorative plaque. As a scenic background of the monument the Fountain of Cibeles and the Palacio de las Comunicaciones – it was the headquarters of the Spanish post office-, an example of the “Monterrey” style of the beginning of the twentieth century and today the seat of the Region of Madrid.
It is precisely in this palace that the regional president inaugurated on May 20th the unfortunate monument “Heroes of COVID19” by the sculptor Victor Ochoa. Formally the work is a real waste, mixture of bronze and resins. Bronze that looks like a cow manure, translucent resin that being kind we would identify with the cinematic “Casper”, but which is rather a bad Orphic representation of the classical moiras or parcas.
It is precisely in this palace that the regional president unveiled on May 20th the unfortunate monument “Heroes of COVID19” by the sculptor Victor Ochoa. Victor Ochoa acknowledges that this work had been in his studio for several years and, how cheaply demiurge, intends to convince us that this work was a premonition. As social networks point out, foreboding nothing, it’s a “botch-up”, a “shit”, an insult to the consciences of good people.
Commercial opportunism of a sculptor – sculpture is not a commission, it is a donation from the sculptor – which was formed in my Faculty, the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona. What a shame.
Very timely, the networks note that the work seems more “an allegory on management of the crisis by Diaz Ayuso ” the regional president who, with the arrogance that characterizes her, threatens the public by saying that this will not be the only tribute that the victims of the coronavirus will have in the region and announced a contest of ideas in which architects will be able to participate , sculptors and entities from the world of culture and architecture to build a memorial in memory “to the victims and heroes who have fought against Covid-19.
We repeat, it’s not about war, it’s not about heroes. It is logical that the symbolic thought of the reactionary right and the far right cannot comprehend it and use the empty rhetoric of the homeland and heroism and the expression of an outdated figuration.
Supportive citizenship doesn’t deserve this. Supportive citizenship does not deserve pain and suffering to be used at the present dramatic moment as a political tool of the most despicable populism.
For the reader who understands Spanish I would recommend following the video of the aesthetic teacher Félix Duque “Several Apostilles: a monument to the “heroes” of the covid that is scary” in this direction https://youtu.be/VGoRK98gyfA
2019 vol. 61/3
DOCTORAL THESES PROGRAM PUBLIC SPACE AND URBAN REGENERATION. UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Journal of a gadabout 16 by Dr. A. Remesar
Lefebvre (Lefebvre, Henry, 1973) pointed out the contradictions inherent to the monument. He defends it insofar as it “projects on the ground a worldview and a transcendence, a beyond“; but he rejects it because when it “organizes a space, colonizes and oppresses its surroundings”, (… and) “full of symbols it offers them for contemplation (passive) and social conscience when they are out of date and have lost their meaning“. Continue reading What are the monuments for?
This series, titled as the novel by Francesc Candel (1957), desires to help to build up an account of the many experiences of neighbours in order to improve their living conditions, giving visibility to the work on memory retrieval developed in many neighbourhoods and recover the spirit of belonging, solidarity, dignity and struggle.
Thursday, November 29, at 7:00 pm, at the Bon Pastor Library.
Organized by: Bon Pastor Library, Polis Research Center (UB) – Master Urban Design (UB) Continue reading Where the city changes its name. New ideas for the public space in the Bon Pastor neighbourhood
Journal of a Gadabout (14) by Dr. A. Remesar
The public space is structured in four planes: that of the ground, the vertical (not exclusively of facade); the plane of the air and a fourth plane that can be called zenital. The most studied is the horizontal plane, built from infrastructures, elements of urban service (lighting, vegetation, signage, etc.) and interfacing with urban systems (water, electricity, gas, etc.), with the omnipresent elements of paving. (see)
The study of the vertical plane is reduced to the analysis of the facades, although the vertical containment of public space goes beyond the facades. (see)
Journal of a Gadabout (13) by Dr. A. Remesar
In Decembre 2007 it was approved the LAW 52/2007, of December 26, by which rights are recognized and extended and measures are established in favor of those who suffered persecution or violence during the civil war and the dictatorship. This Law is known as Law of Historical Memory. Continue reading Francoist symbols in Barcelona