Our project was created as a part of the workshop titled REACTION (MEDS 2013) that was consisted of a series of small urban interventions (ACTIONS) on chosen locations around the Graça neighbourhood in Lisbon. The main idea behind the workshop was to provoke participation by the residents of Graça through proposals for alternative uses of public spaces. At the same time the proposals contested the gentrification process that is rapidly changing the area. During the workshop, fifteen groups of students developed urban furniture, children’s playgrounds, meeting points, temporary art installations and organised events with the residents.
About REACTION 15.2:
REACTION 15.2 developed small art interventions that were installed at eleven locations around the neighbourhood. The various installations are centred around the idea of exchanging memories between the users and the site on one hand and imprinting information in urban space on the other. By pointing at some hidden characteristics of the sites, our interventions expand the ways of reading and using public spaces in Graça. The interventions are highly visible and interactive but small in size, provoking close contact and participation. Since all other actions of the workshop took very different form and appearance, part of our idea was to develop a branding strategy by imprinting information about REACTION in unified manner at all locations. The installations are almost always in the same colour and are intended to remain at the locations after the other temporary installations are removed.
About the INTERVENTIONS:
We designed seven different interventions, some more permanent while others taking the form of an event. Most of them were produced using the technology at the Fab Lab in Lisbon, while others were composed of found objects. We altered and manipulated the found objects in order to hide their original identity/memory and reveal a new one. Our group benefited greatly from the use of the Fab Lab in Lisbon and the expertise of its members.
1. MISSING THINGS
We located elements that characterize a certain location (a tree, a fountain, a decaying wall) and placed installations that point at their “missing” or “hidden” qualities. By pointing at what is missing we show metaphorically that there is always a possibility for alternative use and reading of the urban space. The tree on the plateau at the first location is an element that is of great importance for the site. A new canopy was placed that is hiding the original shadow of the tree. Our installation is a record, or a physical preservation, of the shadow of this tree cut from acrylic plate. At two other locations we saw fountains that were not in use. Immediately the idea of pointing at the missing water was developed. The third installation took a decaying wall where we experimented with filling the holes on the wall with modular units. We used a box as a starting module that we then multiplied, as an improvisation performance, throughout the surface of the wall.
Strongly influenced by the tile-facades in Lisbon and their decaying state, we located places where the tiles are missing to place our installations. We installed newly fabricated tiles with laser-engraved information that relate to the REACTION workshop on one hand and the pattern of the neighbouring tiles on the other. The tiles are always placed in a sequence that begins with engraved pattern followed by a map of the locations of REACTION, a declaration for urban rights and a QR code that contains the website of the workshop. We used acrylic, wooden and ceramic tiles for this installation.
The declaration of urban rights was written after a series of discussions were held between the members of the workshop and the residents. We wanted to give physical record of this text in the urban space.
Using one of the Miradouros (viewing platforms) in Graça as a site for REACTION, we placed an acrylic plate with engraved skyline, declaration of urban rights, and a QR code. The skyline of Lisbon is drawn as a line based on personal interpretations of the cityscape. This plate points at the specific qualities of the site, as a viewing place, and promotes the users’ awareness about the city as a subject of perception and interpretation.
4. PUZZLE GAME
The aim of this interactive installation is to provoke longer presence of the users at the sites and provide information. At each site of the workshop, we placed a puzzle, fabricated at the Fab-Lab, and once completed it provides information about the workshop and contains engraved motifs from various characteristics of the locations. It is aimed at increasing the users’ awareness about being present and interact with these sites.
5. EVENT – PAPER PLANES – DECLARATION OF URBAN RIGHTS
This event was conceived as a symbolic act of sending the declaration of urban rights to the community. We created stamps, laser engraved in rubber, and pre-cut blank pages that form the airplane to stamp the information on. The stamping is a metaphor of sealing the declaration of urban rights on a blank sheet of paper. Once stamped, the paper planes were folded and flown by the participants of the workshop.
6. LOST AND FOUND – PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
At one of the locations we placed an exhibition consisted of found photographs from one of the abandoned buildings in the neighborhood. We altered the photographs, using various techniques, concealing their original identity that enable a new story to be told.
7. EVENT – EXCHANGE OF FOUND OBJECTS
We changed the appearance and imprinted the logo of the REACTION workshop on objects that we found and offered them to the participants of the workshop. The aim was for each participant to bring home one object as a remainder of the workshop and at the same time use the found objects that would otherwise become waste.
MAP OF THE INSTALLATIONS:
Manuel M. De Las Heras
Lukasz Jan Orlowski
Alberto Valiente Gonzalez
Alberto Galindo Perez