Modes of (Co)Existence, Confined Space, Global Condition, Resistance

The publication intends to advance Bruno Latour’s notion of “modes of existence” to reflect on possible ‘modes of (co)existence’ in light of the awareness that, in the recent living conditions, the notion of resistance has intensified.

Modos de (Co)Existência (PT) Modes of (Co)Existence (EN)


The publication intends to advance Bruno Latour’s notion of “modes of existence” to reflect on possible ‘modes of (co)existence’ in light of the awareness that, in the recent living conditions, the notion of resistance has intensified. This set of texts and visual essays thus emerges as a way of bringing together different positions and ways of addressing the idea of resistance through notions of co-creation, spatial reconfiguration, poetics of everyday life or the fragility of a multiple ecological condition. In a year in which the public space as we knew it changed, on all fronts, from the psychogeography of our daily lives to the ways of working, the notion of a global condition versus an awareness of the immediate context changed radically. At the same time, the work carried out by students of the Masters in Art and Design for the Public Space at the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto (Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Porto) in that period, was profoundly affected by the confinements and the changes in access to people, institutions and places, essential for carrying out the ongoing projects. Since there was no exhibition of finalists for the group of students who were then finishing the Cycle of Studies, and since it seemed necessary to reflect on the modes and experi- ences, within thought and artistic practices, from the perspective of being affected by those social conditions, the need to overcome them, the idea to produce a book emerged as a way to materialize both fronts.

With contributions from researchers both integrated and collaborators of i2ADS — Research Institute in Art, Design and Society, as well as other international institutions, the publication integrates views of different nature, updating the reflection towards an ontology of the post-pandemic experience and its modes of resistance. The edition also features contributions from PhD students as well as former Master’s students, articulating research between different levels of postgraduate study and generating opportunities for further research and knowledge production for students at those levels. Given the diversity of voices, the Portuguese language appears in some of its different forms — according to the Ortographic Agreement of 1990, and prior to that agreement in the Editorial and in my text “Waking up on the other side: from the experience of suspension to the reconfiguration of everyday choreographies”, as well as in Miguel Costa’s texts “Among weeds: observations and experiments on a lesser urban landscape condition” and by Miguel Leal “Bird’s-eye, the silence of the birds”. The text by Aurora dos Campos “Everyday life / Daily life” and the project description by Talitha Gomes Filipe “Between Body and City: incomplete architecture and multisensory experience” appear in Brazilian Portuguese, with the Spanish language being maintained in the way it appears in the respective original texts by Federico L. Silvestre “Error and coexistence: notes for a theory of co-creation” and Holga Méndez Fernández’s “Essay for an ecology of poetic resistance”. All texts were also translated into English.

The publication intends to promote a reflection that matters to other areas of society beyond academia where it was generated, debating the mutual influences between social situations, artistic practice and critical thinking.

The intimate descriptions of Aurora dos Campos transport us to the sensations and environment experienced in confinement. Her position between — between languages as expressed in her title: “Everyday life / Daily life — Quotidiano / Cotidiano”, between walls, between countries and continents — crosses personal memories and domestic family situations and puts us before our own experiential awareness in a reconstruction that needs to be critically relocated as the moments experienced in the pandemic fade away. Jorge Marques in “(Re)building attention: the world like an architectural photograph”, suggestively reconstructs the images of places that suddenly we were only able to see through the mediation of screens, looking at them with a kind of fearful fascination. For the students, the work of spatial analysis, which Jorge Marques usually develops with them, takes on a projective dimension instead of an immersive one. We wonder what this passage does to our notion of belonging to the spaces we inhabit together. Which notion of the collective unfolds from an experience fractioned by mediation devices? What to do with the frightening poetics of a space emptied of body choreographies? How to deal with the separation between the observation and the experience of places?

Federico L. Silvestre in “Error and coexistence: notes for a theory of co-creation” proposes a reflection between the speculative-philosophical and the wandering-poetic that leads us to think about the idea of co-creation (concreación), proposing the need to go beyond a notion of “inoperative community” or “disjunctive multiplicities” to arrive at another philosophy of creation. In the text “Spatial practices as experimental preservation: between the invisible and the ecological”, Beatriz Duarte and Inês Moreira present an approach to material culture from the point of view of understanding the very idea of heritage in its critical conflict with the idea of preservation as it is operated traditionally, proposing ways of re-evaluating and re-signifying the residue and consequently the past that is inscribed in it, visibly or invisibly. In “Post-Digital Dispersal”, Clarisse Coelho Pinto seeks to characterize what she calls an indifference to the temporality of the way through which we access content and integrate our context into the current communication experience. Clarisse Coelho Pinto places ontological dispersion as an inevitability of the corporeal condition that divides us and, above all, always returns us to the point where we started to access communication, as an inescapable reverberation. My own text “Waking up on the other side: from the experience of suspension to the reconfiguration of everyday choreographies” intends to speculate on an approximation to the idea of reconfiguration of the aesthetic experience in the light of changes in the spatiality of everyday conditions and their impact in the modes of production of artistic practice. Miguel Leal in “Bird’s-eye, the silence of the birds” proposes a reflection, suggestively supported by aerial images, on how the pandemic condition, through the reverse of mobility of its primordial devices — planes or freighters — revealed the pitfalls of the verticality of the globalizing gaze. The text “Essay for an ecology of poetic resistance” by Holga Méndez Fernández offers a kind of breath through the search to define the word resistance. Caught between two languages — Portuguese and Spanish — the narrative operates in a loose poetic structure, punctuated by philosophical references and political awareness. “Among weeds: observations and experiments on a lesser urban landscape condition” is the title of the text by Miguel Costa for whom the resilience of spontaneous plants reveals, in the pandemic period, a kind of liberation from human domination that an urbanity of control exerts over the plant world outside landscape planning. His text proposes a history of these plants between being hated or desired, and moved around the planet over time.

The publication presents a research project “Between Body and City: incomplete architecture and multisensory experience” carried out by Talitha Gomes Filipe within the scope of the Master in Art and Design for Public Space. It is an attempt to analyze the public space through its invisibilities in an experimental methodological transposition of typical procedures of the biological sciences to spatial visualizations, commenting at the same time on the structuring hierarchy of imposing urban policies.

The visual essays present conceptual approaches to the issues central to the editorial proposal, namely: our condition as subjects of surveillance expressed by the very concept of the panopticon in the collective visual essay “Mapping Invisibility: the possibility of seeing, in the impossibility of being”; the connection between the geographical/political and the personal operated by the relocation between continents — Europe/America in Carolina Drahomiro’s visual essay “América”; through a visualization of the world under a health crisis, Rodrigo Paglieri’s “Suspended Territory” seeks to move from the possibility of the encounter to an idea of a contemporary critical landscape. In the selection of student projects it was intended to bring to publication works that, while not representative of what was produced in that academic year, signal a conscious research of a position in the world — and a world suddenly weakened by an initially unknown threat — translated by several artistic means and experimental procedures.

This publication appears in a sequence of implicit adjustments to the conditions in which the public space came to be lived during and after the periods of confinement, adjustments that justify the reflections that the very production of a book instigated.

After those adjustments that implied a transition to telepresence, this book intends to rescue the physicality of the printed page. Its physical dissemination will, perhaps, be part of the rescue of touch, of presence, of the experience of breathing together, which our post-pandemic consciousness will have to restore over time.