Metamorphosis – an exhibition about the potentials and possibilities of cork

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Browsing through the web site of IGESPAR, I have just found the ongoing Bienal EXD13, taking place in Lisbon (Jeronimos Monastery), between November 8th and December 1st, 2013. Among other events, an exhibition named “Metamorphosis” is a part of the Biennial. The exhibition is dedicated to exploration of limits and potential of cork in the realms of architecture and design. Interesting!

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Also, the names of participants assure this is something to look at.

Btw, the whole thing is organized by Experimentadesign, a team doing inspiring research within the areas of culture, design and the creative industries.

More info here: http://experimentadesign.pt/2013/en/01-01-04.html and http://experimentadesign.pt/

DISH

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DISH is an acronym for Digital Strategies in Heritage, a biennial conference taking place just about now in Netherlands (2-3. December 2013 in Rotterdam). Something to follow in the future, and this year’s speakers list is a true source of inspiration!

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Link: http://dish2013.nl/

The REHAB 2014 conference

Three days in March (19th to 21st) are reserved for the International Conference on Preservation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historical Buildings and Structures (REHAB 2014), taking place in Tomar, Portugal. It is organized by the Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development. It sounds so interesting for all the heritage people with its nine main topics, ranging from theoretical considerations  to matters of inclusivity or new materials applied in rehabilitation.

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Two more good things about the conference: the deadline for abstract submission is extended until December 31st, 2013, and the dear lady and a great expert Görun Arun I know from Mostar TA-MIR seminars will be in their Scientific Committee. BUT the registration fee is über-pricey – 400 € regardless of being a presenter or attendant. Well, something to keep in mind and decide about when the time comes.

The link to the conference: http://rehab2014.greenlines-institute.org/rehab2014website/

Hmmm, what do I know about Tomar? Just one fact so far, it has a world heritage site, the Christ’s Convent. I adore this drawing from the travel sketchbook of a Parisian blogger/artist nicknamed Flinflin:

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Porcelain print.

For some reason, the beloved azulejos have overwhelmed the fashion designers these days. And it’s obviously not limited to Portuguese fashion:

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The trend is called “porcelain print”, and well, the ladies look just as if they stepped out of some traditional building façade in Portugal (or popped out of one of those tall Chinese vases, or Netherland’s blue-white tiled panels maybe). Let’s see how much people really care about this next summer in the Portuguese streets and squares!

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Another twin story.

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Oh yes, it seems Lisbon has a twin across the Atlantic ocean (and land) – it’s San Francisco. I haven’t been to North America yet, but according to photos I could find there is a little bit of deja vu feeling regarding the two places!

The similarities of those suspended bridges, iconic for both cities, comes from the fact that the very same company has built them, and, well, didn’t bother to “invent warm water” (as they say in my homeland) when it came to the bridge design (on the photo, Lisbon’s 25 Abril bridge is top left and bottom right, while the other two pictures are of the SF’s Golden Gate). The hilly streets are also characteristic for both, and there are exactly seven huge hills in each of the cities. There is a history of earthquakes in both, the similar mild climate, they are both situated between the bay and the ocean. Parallels go up to wine culture and street art!

All this is nicely explained and supported by comparative photos at: http://globetrottergirls.com/2011/09/san-francisco-lisbon-twin-cities/. I thank the Globetrotter girls for the photo I borrowed, and to M. for discovering this story to me!

P.S. Maybe this is all because California was discovered by a Portuguese, João Rodrigues Cabrilho  (however, he was working for Spain).

The intangible Portugal.

Heritage is not only about the material structures, of course. There is a whole range of oral traditions, performing arts, rituals, festive events, practices and skills to be thought of in that sense. People still have a basic need of physical and mental belonging to a particular context and those intangibles are still living and so much needed in the present times.

However, until recently, the traditions, practices and skills have been treated separately, country by country. Namely, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is quite a 21st century thing and it has been just 10 years since its adoption now.

There’s a world intangible heritage list, with one entry from Portugal so far – the Fado, which was inscribed in 2011. It’s defined as the popular urban song of Portugal, emerged at the beginning of 19th century and associated primarily with Lisbon and maybe Coimbra. The keyword to fado is saudade (the untranslatable word for longing and melancholy and feeling of loss).

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Another intangible asset of Portugal, shared with several other countries and planned to be inscribed in the world heritage list is the Mediterranean diet. There have been some problems in the course of inscription, as far as I know, but having been to Portugal I can say there’s no better example of a living tradition! Something to be investigated and lived in-depth, so I hope, as there are senses and heritage and present time in the mix!

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There’s a museum dedicated to fado in Lisbon, they mapped a few fado-related things, which can be seen here: http://roteiro.museudofado.pt/

There will be an exhibition in Tavira (Algarve) dedicated to the Dieta Mediterrânica – Património Cultural Milenar, linked to its inscription, something to keep in mind for next February/March. Link: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg=00482&activityID=00094

Cork.

Cork production is über-important for Portuguese economy. And Portuguese share is 50% of total annual world production, or 61.3%, according to slightly confusing references from Wikipedia. Even though most of the harvested cork goes into wine bottle stoppers, many other products can come out of it, and that’s what this post is about.

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Just throwing everything randomly in the mix, from a postal stamp to designer furniture … and the Portuguese pavilion at the Shanghai EXPO 2010!

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Azulejarias and calcadas of Eduardo Nery

It seems that Lisbon metro is much more than just an infrastructure that gets you efficiently from A to B. Among a number of artists who were commissioned to give their touch to the metro stations there ever since 1950s, the biggest scope of work  belongs to the lady named Maria Keil. Her work was particularly important for reintroduction of interest in azulejo in the contemporary context, since it was not so much used in the 19th and first decades of 20th century.

Another artist who also had commissions from the Lisbon metro company turns out to be particularly interesting for me: Eduardo Nery (1938-2013). Nery was working with decomposition of historical azulejos and these panels can be seen at the Campo Grande metro station. Those works are from the 1990s.

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The same line of thought was developed at his panel for the EPAL building in Lisbon, from the same period.

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Here I also enclose a photo of Praça da Município in Lisbon (he was very active with his interventions in public spaces). In this work from 1997-1998 period, he merged his Op-Art background and the possibilities of traditional calçada portuguesa (the cobblestone paving).

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Something to be researched in detail in the future, I think.

Another pair of twins.

Another pair of twins I know of: the Brazilian and the Portuguese Cristo Redentor.

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The Brazilian Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro was built between 1922 and 1931. The idea, however, goes back to mid-19th century. The Christ’s statue is 30 meters tall, and standing on an 8 meter tall pedestal. His open arms symbolize peace. The statue is a work of Heitor da Silva Costa (Brazilian engineer responsible for the design) and the sculptor Paul Landowski.The location is breathtaking – at the top of 700 m tall Corcovado mountain, overlooking entire Rio.

I was lucky to visit it personally twice, in 2001 and this summer of 2013!

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The Lisbon statue was built upon an idea of the Cardinal of Lisbon, after his visit to Rio de Janeiro in 1934. The construction was approved in 1940, and it has to do with Portuguese gratitude for being spared of the devastating effects of WWII. However, the construction lasted between 1949 and 1959, when the statue was inaugurated. The chapel, which is also a part of the monument, was only inaugurated 25 years later, in 1984.

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The monument is situated in the municipality of Almada, at an elevated position at the left bank of Tagus. The 82 meters tall pedestal was designed by architect António Lino, while the 28 meter high statue made of concrete was the work of the sculptor named Francisco Franco de Sousa.