Year – 2009
Research Line - Literature
Associated Project - Escritaria 2009
Partners - Albuquerque Goinhas, Augusto Marcelino, Cristina de Mendonça, Luis Baptista, Nuno Griff, Pedro Patrício, Sofia Antunes
Photography - EMBAIXADA (installations)
Illuminating the "Masters" to honour the "Apprentice".
Of how the character was a master, and the author his apprentice.
Young architects of the 1970s generation had the good fortune that our initiation and acquisition of the world coincided with a time of great production and affirmation of the literary work of José Saramago. A beneficial journey. It was thus with great joy and no less surprise that, in 2009, we received the invitation from Escritaria, one of the most important literary events in Portugal, to help publicly celebrate Saramago and take his work to the streets of the city of Penafiel.
On beginning the research for this project, we immediately remembered Saramago’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech and how he spoke about the characters to which he was giving a voice as Masters he fondly remembers. These masters were also ours, and so, by unequivocal logic, we directed the focus of the work to the study of these same characters.
How would Saramago's characters behave if they were set free in the public spaces of Penafiel? What dynamics and interactions would arise? What spaces could we design to welcome them?
A selected set of the most representative characters from the literary work of José Saramago was scattered through the streets of Penafiel. To receive them, spatial installations were created, abstract spaces of transition and welcome. We can never see the characters directly, but we can walk through their spaces and recreate their actions, interacting with the voids proposed by the forms, mimicking their behaviour, making a different presence felt in each place. "Ghost-like" presences that inhabit public space and interpellate us.
The transposition of characters from the immaterial universe of Literature to a discipline focused materially on three-dimensional space required some prudence. In order to inform a materialisation from the analysis of the characters, more than finding direct formal references, we sought their psychological meaning. More than confronting the public with a piece, the aim was to involve the observer with the exhibition space and its immediate urban context.
Each of the spaces created was evocative and inhabited by one of the characters, indicating movements to the visitor, and with the focus placed on sensory experience and enjoyment in free exploration. Contained within each of the selected characters are universal principles, which were our fundamental working material.