Outline for new cultures: city projects in debate is the first activity of the editorial project by Urbânia 4 magazine. Many cities grow and are transformed without a second thought for a project. However, many were the opportunities in which individuals and collectives have studied the possibility of projecting new cities, models for urban space committed to social and cultural models. As Urbânia 4 magazine gathers (and confronts) such projects, it seeks to investigate where utopias are located today, so as to stimulate the collective building of other imaginaries. One aims to animate a reflection about what the cities in which we live could have been and, fundamentally, on what they could become.
Each issue of Urbânia magazine features a different format. In this fourth issue, it takes the form of a website, inaugurating a more collaborative publication process, strengthening a project logic, just like the cities studied – open to constant reformulation. The urbania4.org website’s database is organized in three sections, borrowing from the structure of Constant Nieuwenhuijs’ manuscript, New Babylon – Outline for a culture 1963-65, where the author presented the project for the city of New Babylon in three ways: “model of society and city” (texts), “atlas” (images – models, drawings) and “radical cultural critique” (the culture imagined by Constant as a counterpoint to the existing models for culture).
The cities of Brasilia, Havana, São Paulo, Luanda, New Babylon and the Ireno Alves dos Santos/Vila Barrageira Settlement were selected as subjects for the presencial debates. For each of these discussions, Urbânia 4 magazine’s editors – Graziela Kunsch and Paulo Miyada, also curators of this project – chose one or more debaters, plus one editorial theme led by editors/collectives from an independent art and architecture magazine. This editorial editor/collective will act as mediators and, in some cases, will propose a new debate for a given situation, resorting to a repertoire of collaborators of the magazine itself and/or creating a critical confrontation. This dynamics aims to decentralise and democratise the process for choosing the discussions’ participants, rendering possible to the debates to take unexpected/unimagined turns, valuing the role played by independent magazines in the formation of a radical cultural critique. In order to lend density to the presencial debates and workshops, a series of special activities are scheduled.
This project won the public selection of presencial debates of the Ministry of Culture’s Cultura e Pensamento Programme 2009/2010. The research for Urbânia 4 was developed with a grant from the 47th Salão de Artes Plásticas de Pernambuco (Fundarpe).
21rst of October, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Introduction to the set of debates and to Urbânia 4 magazine’s collaborative editorial project. With Graziela Kunsch and Paulo Miyada.
21rst of October, Thursday, 7.30 p.m.
Reflection about the Brazilian modern project, 50 years after the construction of Brasilia, and the attempt to update Mario Pedrosa’s bid – can we still think about Brasilia or the act of planning as a “aspiration of the synthesis of the arts” today?
debaters Milton Braga, Martino Tattara and Rubens Mano
mediator Paulo Miyada, from Urbânia 4
22nd of October, sexta, 7.30 p.m.
Raising issues about the Cuban socialist project and taking notes for another socialist project, that would nevertheless incorporate Havana’s good experiences.
debater Henry Eric Hernandez
mediator Beatriz Tone, from magazine Contraespaço/Usina
23rd of October, Saturday, 11 a.m.
SÃO PAULO – part 1
In the face of a city of massive proportions, the design of networks and systems is a possible strategy for the reinvention of the city as a unit. Could urban equipment be organised as such one system? Could schools and public spaces be the units generating a new São Paulo? The idea behind this discussion is to retake the original CEU project – originally “Urban Equipment Centres”, later reduced to “Unified Educational Centres”. The whole formulation of this project presuposed an urban system logic, a network that would bring together distinct contexts and that would directly deal with the regions of precarious urbanization, where the lack of public equipment is only one among many social issues.
debater Alexandre Delijaicov
mediator Adriano Carneiro de Mendonça, from magazine Noz
23rd of October, Saturday, 1.40 p.m.
COLLECTIVE LUNCH at Centro Cultural São Paulo’s garden
23rd of October, Saturday, 3 p.m.
SÃO PAULO – part 2
At the moment when the expansion of São Paulo’s metro – chiefly restricted to middle-class neighbourhoods – and the Rodoanel road project are mobilized as the State government’s main political flagships, the recuperation of the public transport Zero Fare project and the proliferation of bicycles and cycling lanes drawn on the streets by the bikers themselves point out at more radical and revolutionary ways for the overcoming of the “automobile society”.
debaters Lucio Gregori and Thiago Benicchio
mediator Renata Marquez, from PISEAGRAMA magazine
23rd of October, Saturday, 5.40 p.m.
COLLECTIVE COFFEE under the marquee between the Rua Vergueiro pavement and the Debates Room
23rd of October, Saturday, 6 p.m.
A reconstruction project and the accelerated growth of a city recovering after 27 years of civil war. As Angola consolidates its role as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the capital’s cityscape is transformed with vast interventions encompasing social housing, cultural centres, infrastructure works and airports.
debaters Nilton Vargas and Leila Leite Hernandez
mediator Pedro Gadanho, editor of the book series Beyond
30th of October, Saturday, 3 p.m.
More than a project for a city, New Babylon is the project of a new Man, which would “transform and recreate the natural environment according to his/her own new needs. Instead of remaining passive in the face of a world that doesn’t satisfy him/her, a new one is created, where one can be free. In order to be able to create his/her life, he/she needs to create this world. And this creation, just like the other, are part of an uninterrupted succession of creations. New Babylon can only be the work of their inhabitants, only product of its culture. To us, it is just a model for reflection and play.” (Constant)
debaters Martin van Schaik and Tom McDonough
mediator Graziela Kunsch, from Urbânia 4
The debate will be preceded by the projection of the film New Babylon de Constant, by Victor Nieuwenhuijs and Maartje Seyferth
30th of October, Saturday, 5.40 p.m.
COLLECTIVE COFFEE under the marquee between the Rua Vergueiro pavement and the Debates Room
30th of October, Saturday, 6 p.m.
ASSENTAMENTO IRENO ALVES DOS SANTOS/VILA BARRAGEIRA
Project of a collectively imagined and built city, inside one of the first large-scale MST [Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra/Brazilian Landless movement]’s settlements and the forces against this project. The issue of self-management in the production of the settlement’s houses leading to the self-managed city.
debaters Pedro Fiori Arantes, Elemar Cezimbra/MST and Gabriel Kogan
mediator Ariel Jacubovich, from UR magazine.
Participants chosen by means of public selection
THE CITY AS A PROJECT with Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara
In this workshop the term “city” will not be defined as a mere flux of masses and programmes, but as a political form. If the essence of political action is the attempt to project a way of individuals living together, one can say that the architectural form, inevitably, implies a political vision. Even if there isn’t a “political architecture”, there certainly is a political way of doing and reading architecture.
19/10 to 22/10, 11a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Centro Cultural São Paulo
SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL with Tom McDonough
This workshop’s proposal is to approach the engagement of the Situationist International (IS) with architecture and urbanism, from the analysis of series of contemporary revolts and urban uprisings.
27 and 28/10, 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Centro Cultural São Paulo
OTRA ISLA PARA MIGUEL with Henry Erik Hernandez
In his book La Revancha (2006) and following book, Otra Isla para Miguel (2008), Cuban artist Henry Erik takes a discursive position with regards to the history of his country and the changes in the form and function of its cities and buildings. Unhappy with the single discourse enunciated by official history – be it produced and taught in his country, be the one moulded from without the Cuban system – he conceived interventions and narratives that unveil alternative versions and visions, based on the memory of unknown people and documents of recent history. This modality of artistic action, attached to the grand narratives of history, but linked to the human and local scales, unfolds original and radical critical views over a city project and society which results are still to be evaluated. In this workshop, the use of documents related to personal events and life experiences in the elaboration of a part of micro-history will be investigated.
25th and 26th/10, from 2p.m. to 5:30p.m., at Centro Cultural da Espanha
CIUDAD ROCA NEGRA with Ariel Jacubovich
The Proyecto Roca Negra is a territorial transformation project, a construction of collective spaces and community equipment undertaken by MTD Lanús and the Frente Popular Dario Santillán in the buildings of an old factory, in greater Buenos Aires. This workshop seeks to investigate, by means of this project, the resources of architecture as a tool for the construction of better democratic systems: the project’s assembly, objects of consensus, socio-ethnic groupings.
2nd and 3rd/11, from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Centro Cultural da Espanha
SPECIAL ACTIVITIES AT 29TH BIENAL
Bienal de São Paulo, terreiro Eu sou a rua [Parque do Ibirapuera, gate 3, second floor]
18th of October, Monday, 4 p.m.
The city as a project
Open class with Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara
24th of October, Sunday, 5 p.m.
Public interview with Henry Erik Hernandez
28 th of October, Thursday, 8 p.m.
História do futuro
Lecture by Milton Machado
The Architecture graduate Rio de Janeiro artist presents the work in progress started in 1978 with a series of drawings and a descriptive text. He reveals a hyper-coherent and absolute imaginary system, in which an Imperfect World, a Perfect World and a More-Than-Perfect World are articulated. This civilization is inhabited by conceptual characters, such as the Destruction Module, a definitive machine that does and undoes cities; and the Nomad, a miniscule sphere that fights against the probabilities in order to survive in the More-than-Perfect-Cities. Started as a project between utopia and dystopia, History of the Future took up, in the course of time, aspects of literature, philosophy, geometry and pataphysiscs, the science of the absurd.
29th of October, Friday, 8 p.m.
From space frame to spatial monad and back – Megastructure revisited
Lecture by Markus Richter
The German curator will speak about a crucial change in the projects by the architectural avant-gardes between 1965 and 1967: the abandonment of the structural aspect in mega structures and new focus on the elaboration of smaller, monadic strictures. Under this light, Markus will analyse projects that developed from the transformation referred to, such as Monumento Contínuo (Superstudio) and the No-Stop City (Archizoom). Concluding, he will discuss the recent interest by visual artists in the architectural avant-garde of the 1960’s.
31rst October, Sunday, 5 p.m.
Public interview with Tom McDonough
1rst of November, Monday, 5 p.m.
Public interview with Martin van Schaik
Bienal de São Paulo, terreiro A pele do invisível [Parque do Ibirapuera, gate 3, third floor]
Projection of the films Brasília, contradições de uma cidade nova and New Babylon de Constant, as part of the Programme 1 in the following dates: 11/10 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. + 21/10 9:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. + 10/11 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. + 20/11 1 p.m. + 30/11 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. + 10/12 9:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Brasília, contradições de uma cidade nova
Brasília, contradicitons of a new city
Joaquim Pedro Andrade, 1967, 30min
Images of Brasília in its sixth year and interviews with different categories of the capital’s dwellers. A question structures the documentary: could a completely planned city, created in the name of national development and democratization of society reproduce the inequalities and oppression existing in other regions of the countries?
New Babylon de Constant
Victor Nieuwenhuijs and Maartje Seyferth, 2005, 13 min.
The film features images from the archive of Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuijs (1920-2005), presenting the project of the city New Babylon, where the “homo faber”, who must work to earn a living, is substituted by the “homo ludens”, who spends time creating and in leisure. Sections of the film are articulates with takes from the models built by Constant.