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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.81 Santiago ago. 2012 

ARQ, n. 81 Space for culture, Santiago, agosto 2012, p. 12.



Space for culture


Patricio Mardones Hiche *

* Director Ediciones ARQ, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

To open this edition dedicated to cultural spaces, it would be fitting to mention a man that embodied a radical point of view with respect to such matter. Pontus Hultén, art historian and curator, born in Sweden in 1924, described his exhibit, Utopians and visionaries 1871-1981, taking place in 1971 in the Moderna Museet of Stockholm as such: ".it was the first open air show of its kind. One of the sections was a centennial celebration of the Paris Commune, in which the work was grouped in five categories (work, money, school, press, and community life) reflecting their subjects. There was a printing service in the museum. People were invited to produce their own posters and copies. The photos and pictures were installed in the trees. There was also a music school directed by the great jazz musician, Don Cherry, Neneh Cherry's father. We built one of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes in our studios and had a wonderful time. A telex allowed visitors to ask questions to people from Bombay, Tokyo and New York. Participants had to describe their image of the future, of how the world would be in 1981". Forty years ago, from the core of the institutional realm (as director of the Museum) Hultén mounted a participative and multidisciplinary operation in open air that used constructive and communicational technologies to celebrate the anniversary of a key political episode in western history.

With this and other shows, like Poetry must be made by all!, or the controversial Hon (the enormous structure built 1966 together with Nikki de St. Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt, with the form of a woman lying down within which a Greta Garbo movie was being projected, while in the right chest there was a cafe, to the left a planetarium and in one of the legs a gallery of reproductions of masterworks) Hultén made it clear that a museum was literally "available space" for the marginalized expressions of the theater, opera, the sciences or the arts in general: all that lacked space in the established cultural circuit should have a place in a museum. That attitude announced his future as the founding director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, inaugurated in 1977 with eyes set on the utopias of the late seventies.

This perspective encourages the reflection that ARQ81 aims to stimulate: if culture comprises all ways of life, beliefs, and mannerisms of a group or time, the space for culture must be by necessity a col - lective, participative environment; an instance of exchange, play and encounter, and, above all, an unresolved field where available space still exists. This issue presents the immunity to social and legal norms of the Chilean animitas, the massive Catalan street festivals, rethinking the structure of the public library in Seattle and the art projects in the districts of Quito. All of them speak justly of that blank space that raises barriers and enables the spontaneous, collective construction of new realities.

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