For the past six years, a remarkable growth in Porto tourism has been changing the city face, in particular the historical centre classified as world heritage site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations). The Porto airport upgrade allowed for an unprecedented dynamic in the region opening the door to European tourists via low-cost routes. Airbnb and Booking electronic booking platforms combined with massive proliferation of hotels, and international tourism awards, have created a new kind of pressure into a precarious balance, where the original classification risks to transform a city in a scenario.
One of the most obvious signs of change, the closing of local shops and its replacement by a beautification and marketing of space. The insufficiency of local policies targeting traditional and historical trade goes side by side with its loss of local trade competitiveness urban context and the expulsion of local residents, its natural consumers. Emblematic streets, such as Rua das Flores, are being transformed into a commercial open-air shopping’s in the city centre. Following Lisbon initiative Lojas com História, Porto’s city Council created a program Porto de Tradição, a list of thirty four shops recognizing the role of ancestral stores for the city collective memory, not only for its patrimony legacy, but also historical and cultural features. With the significant changes – social exclusion, migrations of populations, dilapidation of local distinctiveness – news means of informing and reading the territory need to be proposed aiming to create and mobilize civil society. Also mechanisms of intervention and appropriation as a collective construction and know-how transfer actions.
Print has a long history as a public art, infiltrating the public arena and playing a part in the information exchange of the street. This project will be carried out regarding the issue of local community involvement with practical research into the artistic, historical and industrial significance of creative print practices, processes and technologies within the city.
Each workshop sets a collaboration with a variety of practitioners, institutions and local business partners. The aim, to develop new forms of relational improvements between local community, technical labour, its urban planning, and social development.
Hence the project will present contemporary works where craft and print coexist and resist. Print ability to circulate independently and insinuate in new circumstances makes part of this project aiming. Old fashioned distinctions between artisanship and art will be questioned with provocative works intended to reassess spaces use and initiate a graphic exchange between print and drawing and the street. Participants will earn experience of making, retain a sense of materiality placeness and engage with the ability of art to provide insights into knowledge as aesthetic production and political experience.
Heroica, is the name of a small book binding company that closed down. It’s a fallen heroine that produced the accountancy books used in local business using letter press printers. It’s located in Rua de Belomonte, in between discrete a shop selling pigments at bulk, Francisco Costa & irmão, Escovaria de Belomonte, a family run company founded in 1927 specialized in the making of customized hand-made brushes.
In these two surviving shops Escovaria de Belomonte, and Francisco Costa & irmão, participants will earn the capacity to create tools and art materials. Moving in the street, in the brush store, participants will make customized handmade brushes for large format printing process. Continuing into the whole sale shop, some pigments at bulk will be selected to produce intaglio oil based colors. Later, in the printmaking studio, such tools will be used to print by hand, large format posters. There will also be onsite printing incorporating the customized tools.
Working from pre-set street Rua do Belmonte and their local business- Francisco Costa & irmão, Escovaria de Belomonte, participants within groups, will develop printed material, moving in the street, working from selected spots located both inside buildings and shops, overlooking the street. One full day intensive drawing on coper plate or linoleum, created in situ, will study the relationship to the everyday world of objects and places, which in turn represent emotions and connections to the cityscape. Their content will be developed within a workshop structure where materials and local craft will be used to make tools and the printed images. Traditional mediums such as linocut, stencil, copper intaglio will be reclaimed and used as content through technique. Multiplied in numbers as to survive the city, printed materials will contribute to preserve what is not visible: the capacity to produce locally, to tackle down a local trade and industry’s risk of stagnation and eviction, to identify a material weighed down in tradition, to go beyond traditional offered practices and explore techniques and materials still found in local downtown and around the city. Along the week, moving between the street and printmaking workshop located at Faculty of Fine art University of Porto, will end into a final exhibition presented in Rua do Belomonte.
The project re-contextualizes local trade shops, focusing on their functional capacity as much as part of Porto’s collective memory and history. Participants will respond to Porto city trade’s legacy and research in four selected local business to create print materials relevant within a contemporary creative practice. Business spaces will be used /activated while simultaneously serving as sites from which participants engage with materials, history, methods of manufacture. Most important of all, investigating into the nature of print, its potential as a medium for a creative practice, reappraising its potential to collect, review techniques and working methods, produce new tools, develop process- oriented works, and interpret the city. By setting up studio space in site locations and within the university, different backgrounds participants will benefit from the expertise in printmaking and crafts, develop through experimentation and mobilize around a common goal: to create a sense of community through collaboration.
MOVING STREET: URBAN NARRATIVES: FICTION, REALITY, PRINTMAKING with Anna Janusz-Strzyż (PL)+Graciela Machado (PT) & Noémia Herdade Gomes (PT)
MOVING STREET TRANSITIONAL URBAN MATRIX with Sybilla Skałuba and Izabela Łęska & Rui Neto(PT) & Carlos Machado e Moura (PT)
MOVING STREET PRINTMAKING TACTICS: OLD AND NEW PHOTOMECHANICAL PRINTING TECHNIQUES with Guntars Sietiņš e Janis Murovkis +Graciela Machado(PT)
PURE PRINT, research project conducted in the Research Unit, Design and Artistic Studies (i2ADS) in Fine Arts Faculty in University of Porto (FBAUP) working in collaboration with THE DRAWING COLLECTION research project conducted in the group ‘Architecture: Theory, Project and History’ (ATPH) of the Architectural Research Center (CEAU), in Faculty of Architecture in University of Porto (FAUP) .