Porto is an ever-inspiring and creative city. But Campanhã area is certainly not the first that comes to a cultural wanderer’s mind. Yet, there is a gem there that I only recently discovered.
A short film festival was my pretext to finally visit Espaço Mira and Mira Forum, two adjacent former warehouses that now work as artistic spaces. One is primarily an art gallery, the other is multi-functional and has a commercial component (offers a possibility to rent the space for book presentations or exhibitions – we all have bills to pay, after all).
I arrived a bit ahead of projection time, knowing that Mira pursues more than one initiative at a time and curious to peek into the exhibition spaces. What a warm welcome we had by Manuela Monteiro, who lead the visitors throughout the ongoing exhibitions! Together with João Lafuente, she created Mira three years ago, in October 2013. They uncovered the potential of the row of abandoned warehouses in Rua de Miraflor, that even played a part in their families history. Former storage spaces for coal and wine were converted into spaces of culture with a lot of respect and sensibility.
One of the current exhibitions in Mira lead me to learn important facts about the cultural landscape of Algarve and the threat of complete eradication it has been exposed to because of the aggressive oil extraction initiatives. The initiatives have been stopped for now, but drawing attention to the problem is of huge importance. With its engagement, Mira gives hope that art may be able to save the world!
Last but not the least, the Mira experience inspired me to share a (holiday) thought: all we need is less.
This map of Porto is one of a hundred city maps created by Eric Fischer, an American software developer and data artist. I have found it in his 2010 Flickr collection named “The Geotaggers’ World Atlas”. In that project, he used geographical metadata associated to the photos. The data from Flickr and Picasa helped him reveal the locations where people most frequently took photos in various cities around the world.
So, this is tourism in Porto visualized! Besides the historical center inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, tourists flow most intensely along both shores of Douro and the Atlantic coast within the city limits, all the way to Matosinhos. The remaining three bright nodes outside the historical city center are the Crystal Palace gardens, Casa da Música and the Serralves museum. Everything we already knew, now confirmed and represented in this elegant plot!
I enclose a map of another Portuguese city – Lisbon, of course, but the interpretation will be postponed until my next visit to the country’s capital.
I found some other Fischer’s projects and hobbies also interesting to look at (“See something or say something”, “Locals and tourists”, his old map collection on Flickr…). And I wouldn’t know about him without the Álvaro Domingues’ lecture on the city and its icons I attended in Porto on December 18th, 2014.
“O Porto é. Oporto is.” is a beautiful and ever growing collection of poetic visual moments from the city of Porto, created by a photographer named Conceição Ferreira. She shares everyday life flashes from her city, mostly organized through thematic collages – sets of nine images.
The motifs are something we all pass by, but only some stop to enjoy and register. There are hundreds of collages on her blog and the Facebook page. There, an impressive list of awards that Conceição Ferreira won can be found, too.
I find this collection magical and diverse, just like this city itself is!
Photo credits and more info: http://cldesignarquitectura.blogspot.pt/