Architectures of Image, Images of Architecture
26.03 – 09.04.202
Curator: Frederico Vicente
The relationship between architecture and photography is not recent. We can even speak of both disciplines as complementary parts of a narrative, or a written guide for cinema. Cinema is an image in movement, a photograph with characters playing a role, representing life in a scenographic space, and isn't this also architecture?
We can look at photography equally as the easy souvenir, the frozen memento and moment, the memory - the family album. But we are interested in talking about reference and it was Aby Warburg (1866–1929) the architect who designed a referential system.
Atlas Mnemosyne, the historian's greatest work, proposed an anachronistic vision of the history of civilizations. A connected and grouped iconography on large black panels. Visual knowledge or knowledge through images and the successive correlations between illustrations, engravings, photographs... Images that are artistic manifestations in the world, whose architecture is one of the most represented models and is, in itself, one of the vehicles of material representation that communicates an era, a society or a culture. Forms that repeat themselves over time, that adapt, transform and replicate - creating the collective memory.
Instagram (founded in 2010) as a social network, brings together two algorithms: thinking about the image and the iconographic archive (digital collective memory).
Instagram's phenomenon brought the democratization of communication about/in architecture. Thirteen years since the appearance of the platform, it has turned out to be less of a social network with filters and nostalgic memories, to have inevitably become an archive of contemporary culture. How does Atlas Mnemosyne relate to Instagram? Perhaps they share the same system of references that make up the Google Lens tool or Pinterest's own search base.
But what feeds Instagram, at least as far as architecture is concerned, is another source. Unlike the work of a photographer, who visits a building from a documentary perspective and results as part of commission work , photography enthusiasts create hashtags, looking for the best point of view: the aesthetic similarities, scale, color or clarity of the ornament. The field common to the practices is the production of a framework. An appealing image for the building's communication, capable of creating engagement to be seen, clicked on, liked and shared. Recognition is measured by a set of dispersed factors, which by a scroll of thumbs are lost in a flash.
This new interaction between photography and architecture raises new questions. How do we communicate architecture in a 1:1 or 4:5 format? The illusions of imagined, manipulated, created architectures? What buildings are these, in these digital utopias? Is there an "instagrammable" architecture? Instagram is responsible for an experience of two-dimensional space? What dimension does the architecture have in these fictional scenarios? Do we recognize ourselves in these places? The architect is mediator in this conversation between space and image (or do you allow yourself to be involved by the artifice of disclosure)? Also, the discussion of architecture as an icon is brought to the wall of images, as a highlight.
Arquitecturas de imagem/ Imagens de Arquitectura is a physical photo feed that invokes the social network and triggers all these concerns. The background is a project exercise (a common strategy or practice adopted by architecture ateliers in communicating the project to clients, and in the organization of ideas, perhaps inherited from Aby Warburg) a moodboard of gaps and intervals in a grid subject to merely subjective criteria . The result is an archive under construction, incomplete, organizing photographs illustrating the national production of Portuguese contemporary architecture (or in national territory).
Text and Curatorship: Frederico Vicente
Support: DG Artes/Ministry of Culture and Criatório, Ágora – Cultura e Desporto, E.M.