Ciudad Abierta

Welcome ceremony at Ciudad Abierta for first-year students of architecture and design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, April 7, 2003, courtesy Archivo Histórico José Vial Armstrong, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Ciudad Abierta, Amereida Phalène Latin South América, 2017, archival and documentary materials, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), Athens, documenta 14, Foto: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Ciudad Abierta, Amereida Phalène Latin South América, 2017, pavilion, Karlsaue Park, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Part commune, part pedagogical experiment, and part hands-on architectural laboratory, Ciudad Abierta (Open city) was founded by a roving troupe of artists and poets—tellingly enough, hardly any “professional” architects, at first—on a desolate, windswept stretch of grass and sand along the Pacific Ocean some thirty kilometers north of the Chilean port city of Valparaíso.

Two dates, two events stand out in the story of Ciudad Abierta’s genesis. Firstly, a journey, or travesía, across the South American landmass by a group of students and teachers under the leadership of Argentine poet Godofredo Iommi in 1965—the inverted map of the Southern Cone used to guide them along, echoing the famous drawing América invertida by Uruguayan avant-garde painter Joaquín Torres García from 1943—symbolized a broader call resonating across the Southern Hemisphere for a dramatic rethinking of established geopolitical orientations. Secondly, the publication, in 1967, of the collective’s founding poem Amereida, a neologism derived from combining the title of Virgil’s Aeneid with the “America.” This meridional Odyssey ends on the following elliptical, enigmatic note: “the path is not the path”—a premonition of the centrality accorded, in later years, to improvisation as the founding principle of living and building alike.

Indeed, present-day visitors to Ciudad Abierta will be struck by the provisional, ephemeral nature of much of the construction taking place there, or by the fleeting impression left by Ciudad Abierta’s passage for that matter; clearly any type of building activity on the South Pacific coast must submit itself to the force of the elements, but inevitably one is reminded of the long history of migration and nomadic living that has shaped this particular part of the world, so far away from the established power centers of cultural mainstreaming.

In recent years, rising interest in Ciudad Abierta’s modest, pastoral utopianism has tended primarily toward the collective’s historical achievement—the Ciudad Abierta legacy. The twofold nature of documenta 14 allows for a more even-handed treatment: the group’s exemplary history is told primarily in Athens using a wealth of archival material, presented in an exhibition design of their own making; the collective as a living organism, and as a platform for experimentation for future generations of architects, poets, and urbanists, is on full view in Kassel, powerfully demonstrating the recurring relevance of their improvisational, environmentally sound brand of building.

—Dieter Roelstraete

Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook
Related

Iconoclasta Apócrifo

We elevate messages and ideas above ourselves only to tear them down in favor of new ones: What is new is old and what is old is new again. In the absence of a clear message, confusion becomes the only…

 More
Calendar

Maria Montejo guest by the Open City (Pavilion of Hospitality)

The mexican cellist Maria Montejo invited by the Open City (Pavilion of Hospitality) interprets the second Suite from Bach for Cello. An introduction into the ancient music tradition with examples to hear…

 More
Calendar

OKISIR

The Open City (Pavilion of Hospitality) and 10 Performers from Kassel as guests of Parthenon of Books

10 Dancers from Kassel improvise according to a score they get three days before the performance. There…

 More
Calendar

LaSmala Banda as guests of Ciudad Abierta (Pavilion of Hospitality)

A LaSmala Banda concert is one thing above all: a huge fiesta where you’ll dance until you can’t any more. Ska, rumba, salsa, cumbia, reggae, hip-hop as well as the faraway sounds of tango and nostalgic…

 More
Calendar

Torneo Triball

by Ciudad Abierta

Among the core activities of the experimental school run by Chilean artist & architect collective Ciudad Abierta (“Open City”), the impromptu organization of genre-defying “games” takes pride…

 More
Calendar

Pavilion of Hospitality

by Ciudad Abierta

Inauguration of the Pavilion of Hospitality built by Chilean artist & architect collective Ciudad Abierta (“Open City”) in the Auepark. The opening of Ciudad Abierta’s summertime outpost in Kassel…

 More
Calendar
OK

Es handelt sich um eine historische Website. Hier erhalten Sie jeweils Details zum Impressum, Datenschutz und weitere Informationen.