Issue 13: The Split Wall

Fernando Portal

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Creation of Alternative and Provisional Architecture and Design Archives in Chile

Fernando Portal recapitulates two of his research centered in the reconstruction of a documentary body, since the seventies, of material culture and exhibition practices of architecture in Chile.

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  1. This intersection of cultural transformation, design, and public policies was implemented by a group of professionals whose collaborative work proposed the union of diverse modern trajectories. On one hand, the group was made up of former members of Hfg Ulm, the German design school founded in 1950, which acted as an international point of reference for the integration of design into processes of industrial development and whose “critical theory” implied questioning the professional role of design in the process of commodification and its instrumentalization as a hegemonic agent of control aimed at driving consumption. The other half of the group was a group of young students and graduates from the first generations of industrial and graphic designers in Chile, who had been agents and witnesses of the adjustment of the discipline’s curriculum in the context of university reforms. The group was composed of: Gui Bonsiepe, Guillermo Capdevila, Pedro Domancic, Alfonso Gómez, Fernando Shultz, Rodrigo Walker, Werner Zemp, Michael Weiss, Gustavo Cintolesi, Sergio Ahumada, Evelyn Weisner, Mario Carvajal; and graphic designers, Eddy Carmona, Jessie Cintolesi, Pepa Foncea, and Lucía Wormald.

  2. An image complex can be understood as “the whole network of financial, institutional, discursive, and technological infrastructures and practices involved in the production, circulation, and reception of the visual-cultural materials.” Meg McLagan and Yates McKee eds., Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism (New York, NY: Zone Books, 2012).

  3. Through this action, the project could effectively give substance to what William Gibson calls semiotic phantoms: “bits of deep cultural imagery that have split off and taken on a life of their own.” William Gibson, “The Gernsback Continuum” in Burning Chrome (Westminster, MD: Arbor House, 1986).

  4. “Neoliberalism refers to the interaction of processes of neoliberalisation and urbanisation and how such ideology are shaping and producing the form, the image and the life in the cities… Neoliberal urbanism is then a descriptive category that is able to depict the spatiotemporal material and discursive practice and its operative analytical capacity of producing urban space. A material condition that designates governmental technologies, discursive and spatial dispositifs that fueled a political imagination locally and globally that ‘‘penetrates the bodies of subjects, and governs their forms of life’ (Agamben 2009:14).”
    Camillo Boano, “Foucault and Agamben in Santiago: Governmentality, Dispositive and Space,” in Neoliberalism and Urban Development in Latin America: The Case of Santiago, eds. Camillo Boano and Francisco Vergara-Perucich (London: Routledge, 2018).

  5. Bienes Públicos had the support of José Hernández as a co-researcher, while Archivo Provisional has been developed in collaboration with Pedro Correa, Fernando Carvajal, and Rayna Razmilic. Both archives have been shown in various contexts in Santiago de Chile: Bienes Públicos: (1) “Homenaje a INTEC”, 11ª Bienal de Artes Mediales, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2013; (2) “Las necesidades del consumo popular”, 13th Bienal de Artes Mediales, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2017; (3) Galería NAC, Santiago. Archivo Provisional: (1) XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017; (2) “Estudio Común,” Gallery in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture, 2017; (3) Galería NAC, Santiago, 2017; (4) Campus Providencia, Universidad de las Américas, 2018; and (5) Impresionante, Feria de Arte Impreso, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, 2018.


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