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Creación de archivos alternativos y provisionales para el diseño y la arquitectura en Chile



Design, understood as that action that brings into play the knowledge and practices of a series of disciplines and trades, has a profound influence on the definition of our physical and social environment. From language to avenues, everything that is “designed” —either by architects, artists, designers, artisans or engineers — is the subject of a definition that, even when it is declared “autonomous”, accounts for cultural processes, situated in a specific political, economic and social context. In this way, both objects and spaces are the result of specific cultural processes. Processes that in turn are transformed by the use of these objects and by the occupation of these spaces. Investigating this dialogue between process and cultural transformation, through objects and spaces, has been the focus that has guided the development of two investigations focused respectively on the material culture proposed by the socialist government of Salvador Allende, and on the expository practices of the architecture, during the first years of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. Both investigations deal with cases strongly determined by the cultural transformations developed in Chile since the 1970s. Whether due to the conjunction between modernity, developmentalism, counterculture and Marxism typical of the Chilean road to socialism, during the first three years of the 1970s; as by the subsequent interruption of democracy, and the installation by force, of a series of measures that, politically, economically and subjectively, have shaped what we now know globally as neoliberalism. For this, both projects have used the concept of the archive —and its exhibition— as a vehicle for the construction of a new documentary body. The diffusion of these bodies, made up of objects and prints, has allowed the recognition and interrogation of a series of episodes and relationships that - perhaps due to the very absence of this documentary body - had remained relatively invisible to history, theory and the media Communication.
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Contemporary Art in the Americas EN ES
November 26, 2018 — Issue 13: La pared dividida
Creación de archivos alternativos y
provisionales para el diseño y la
arquitectura en Chile
Fernando Portal
Fernando Portal recapitulates two of his research centered in the
reconstruction of a documentary body, since the seventies, of
material culture and exhibition practices of architecture in Chile.
Archivo proisional, view of exposition. XX Biennial of Arquitecture and Urbanism, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017. Marble, neon,
fotocopies and screen printing. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
Creation of Alternative and Provisional Architecture and Design Archives in Chile
Design, understood as an act that brings together the knowledge and practicesof various
disciplines, meddles deeply in the production of our physical and socialenvironment. From
language to avenues, everything that is “designed”—regardlessof whether it is the work of
architects, artists, designers, artisans, or engineers—issubject to a denition that, even when it
declares itself as “autonomous,” is marked bycultural processes and situated in a specic political,
economic, and social context.
In this way, both objects and spaces are the result of specic cultural processes—processes that are
in turn transformed by the use of these objects and theoccupation of these spaces.
Researching the exchange between process and cultural transformationthrough objects and
h b h f i h d l f di d i l h
spaces has been the focus in the development of two studiescentered, respectively, on the
material cultures proposed by the socialist governmentof Salvador Allende and the exploitative
architectural practices during therst years of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.
Both studies deal with cases that were strongly marked by the cultural transformationsin Chile
since the 1970s: the rst explores the concurrence of modernity,developmentism,
counterculture, and Marxism unique to the Chilean path tosocialism during the rst three years
of the 1970s; and the second, the subsequentinterruption of democracy with the imposition of a
series of political, economic, andsubjective measures through military force that gave form to
what we today recognizeglobally as neoliberalism.
To this end, both projects have mobilized the concept of the archive (and itsexhibition) as a
vehicle to construct a new documentary body. e disseminationof these archives, comprised of
objects and texts, has allowed us to recognize andinterrogate a series of episodes and relations
that due perhaps to the very absenceof such archives have remained invisible to history, theory,
and media.
Reconstruction of portable record player designed by the Industrial Design Group of the Technological Research Committee of
Chile, 1971/2017. Fibreglass, latex, adhesive vinyl, original parts of record player IRT model Capissimo from 1971. Photo by and
courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
e First Archive: Design and Politics. e Case of Chile’sTechnological Research
Commission, 1970–1973
In Pursuit of Elusive Objects
Between January 1971 and September 1973, a group of Chilean and German designers
[1]working for the Chilean state developed a series of design projects foragricultural machinery,
domestic objects, and equipment for public servants aspart of a modernization process aimed at
technological emancipation, in line withthe provisioning of basic goods and services for the
“production of cheap, high-qualitypopular consumer goods” in order to “resolve immediate
problems for thevast majority.”
ese projects were part of a program of industrial nationalization,which reached a scale never
before seen under Allende’s government.While the Chilean state had historically facilitated the
creation of diversecompanies since the founding of the Production DevelopmentCorporation in
1939 (CORFO in Spanish), during the nearly three yearsof Allende’s government, the number
of companies whose ownershipthe state participated in rose from sixty to 507.
e Design Group, housed in the CORFO’s Chilean TechnologicalResearch Commission
(INTEC in Spanish), worked at the intersectionof modernization, culture, and design,
developing objects that wouldgive a purpose to this productive platform, as well as offering a
seriesof tools that would allow for the gradual transformation of society andits power relations
through material culture. is process involved productionbut was particularly focused on the
use of design objects indomestic and public service spheres.
Reconstruction of office for electronic desk calculator, designed by the Industrial Design Group of the Technological Research
Committee of Chile, 1971/2017. Steel. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
e objects to be produced by the national industry would bedistributed through the market as
well as distinct state programs. Inthis context, design can be seen as a force capable of putting
publicand private modes of production into motion in the formation of a
However, the majority of the more than one hundredobjects designed by the group were never
produced. efew that were—tableware and measuring spoons for powderedmilk—were part of
a government milk distributionplan, while the rest of the production was violently
interruptedby the September 1973 military coup, an interruptionthat led to the destruction and
loss of the project’sdocuments and prototypes.
Because of this, the Design Group’s work has been relegatedto a limited number of drawings and
photographs,mainly circulated through a specialized bibliography. Whatremains are images
from personal archives that portraythe destroyed and lost prototypes of a countercultureproject
initiated in the context of the development of a democraticsocialist government.
Reconstruction of measuring spoon of powdered milk (5 gr), designed by the Industrial Design Group of the Technological
Research Committee of Chile, 1971/2017. Plastic. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
«Public Goods»
How can we add the knowledge contained in these objects to our collective consciousnessin this
moment of Latin American modernity? How can we expand thescope of this experience within
an image complex? [2] And from there, how do we goback and learn what these design-based
public policies had to teach?
To answer these questions, the project Bienes Públicos [Public Goods] hassought to reconstruct
these objects as a means of restoring the set of ideas, trajectories,and displacements that were
developed in Chile to provoke an originalreection on the relationship between
industrialization, everyday life, technology,design, and public policies. In practice, this attempt
was developed through differentactors and institutions that successfully interwove their own
conceptual approximationsof postwar European modernity into the unique political projects
ofLatin America in the context of the Cold War.
When possible, producing a new body of work to accompany these historieshas implied
following the instructions set out aer the discovery of the originaldocumentation, developing a
series of objects, furniture, and functional electronicprototypes.
Functional reconstruction of electronic desk calculator, designed by the Industrial Design Group of the Technological Research
Committee of Chile, 1971/2017. Steel, synthetic enamel, mechanical buttons, nixie tubes, acrylic, electronic components, Rasperry
Pi, Phyton. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
Recreating these designs has required the creation of an alternative archive inwhich the holes in
this (still unnished) story can be lled based on a series of worksthat can be studied, not just on
aesthetic terms but also through process-oriented,artistic, and forensic lenses. is story allows us
to link fragmented stories concerningthe mutual inuence of central and peripheral countries in
the context ofmodernity, and the development of alternative political systems in the context
ofthe Cold War.
eir new presence also permits the development of lines of questioning thatprospectively
advance the formation of a new material culture—a material culturethat involves redesigning not
only the relationships between people in terms offunction, property, debt, and capital, but also
our relationships with things and thenatures that inform them.
Perhaps, however, the potential of these objects doesn’t come from the specichistories they
contain, but rather from the effects and conicts situated beyondthem, through which they
come into being as manifestations as they pass from animmaterial to a material condition. In the
end, as objects designed to dene the materialculture of a new social project, they have wandered
as ghosts with no physicalconstitution.
To remedy this absence, Bienes Públicos has concentrated on giving the objectsa material presence
through a form of patrimonial spiritualism: an action inwhich human and nonhuman agents (in
this case, artisans and designers, as well asmaterials, parts, and tools) have acted as mediums so
that the spirit (in this case, anidea) can manifest, taking control of another body. [3]
Reconstruction of game pieces of low-cost dishes, designed by the Industrial Design Group of the Technological Research
Committee of Chile, 1971/2017. Ceramic. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
Second Archive: Expositive Practices in Architecture. e Caseof Architecture Biennials,
Neoliberalism, Urbanism, and Exhibitionism
Aer the 1973 coup d’état, the rst years of the dictatorship set the stage for theimplementation
of a neoliberal economic model, beginning with the development ofa series of policies aimed at
market deregulation, the reduction of the state, and theweakening of civil organizations.
ese three vectors of neoliberalism discovered urban space to be a key resource.e
commercialization of urban space, and the consequent emergence of“neoliberal urbanism,” [4]
involved an encounter between these policies and modes ofcity planning that modernity and its
conicts had succeeded in installing throughoutthe state and Chile at large.
In this political and economic context, just four years aer the coup, theArchitecture and
Urbanism Biennial in Chile called for the disciplines to meet in the“neutral” zone of a cultural
space to discuss, as publicly as possible, the ethical, cultural,political, institutional, and economic
transformations involved in the transitionto neoliberalism.
During the years of the dictatorship, the biennial, a space intended for architecturalexhibitions
and debate, became a space to denounce the limits the new governmentpolicies had imposed on
the discipline (and for some architects, a spaceto announce their departure from the discipline).
While the rst stage of the biennialunder the dictatorship laid the foundation for its structure
d bl f d h f l h b l ll d h h
and public functiontoday, more than forty years later, the biennial still does not have an archive
thatallows scholars to conduct historical research that could help us interweave
Chile’sarchitectural and social histories. is would allow us to search through public
discussionson the built environment for tools that would allow us to trace the originsof the
contradictions between architectural practice and capitalist markets thathave dened the built
environment for the last four decades.
Archivo proisional, view of exposition, XX Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017. Marble and neon.
Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
«A Provisional Archive»
With this vision in mind, over the last four years, an expansive team of students andarchitects
has collaborated to develop a series of research and exhibition projectsthat have allowed us to
recognize, construct, and disseminate the biennial’s documentaryhistory.
While each edition of the biennial has been proudly documented, from its productionto its
catalogues and specialized publications, these works correspond almostentirely to editorial
projects developed prior to the event which fail to addresstheir subsequent implementation, or
the reactions provoked by the execution ofeach biennial’s specic projects. In order to
supplement this vision, it has been necessaryto refer to various press sources, the biennial’s
production archives, as wellas numerous institutional and personal archives.
e construction of this provisional archive has had a two-fold objective: rst, itseeks to produce
a physical record of information generated by and for the biennial;and second, it a ims to develop
an understanding of the biennial as more than aeeting event, framing it as an institution that is
still being shaped and is capable ofserving as the foundation for new readings of recent
architectural developments inChile and their relation to the public sphere.
Archivo proisional, view of exposition. XX Biennial of Arquitecture and Urbanism, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017. Marble, neon,
fotocopies and screen printing. Photo by and courtesy of Andrés Cortínez
e intervention this research produced was displayed in the exhibition ArchivoProisional
[Proisional Archive], which, in a single volume of nearly twenty-thousandpages, includes all the
documents produced by different actors involved inthe biennial since it began in 1977. is
exhibition, presented in conjunction with thetwentieth edition of the biennial in May 2017, was
intended to promote collectiveresearch by various communities, including the audiences brought
together by thearchitecture biennial—in which architects, historians, students, and artists were
invitedto develop a new layer of information based on their reading of the compileddocuments
—or more specic communities of scholars, union actors, or artists.
New readings made possible by the circulation of our archives [5] have allowed usto activate the
memory of these episodes and events in public, offering, in the caseof INTEC, a repertory of
objects and images that have been disseminated widelyand quickly via mass media, thereby
contaminating and socializing the history ofthese objects. is project thus generates long-term
memory for a periodic temporaryevent that, in the absence of an archive, has taken place every
two years butbeen erased from collective memory by amnesia and fragmented recollection.
Archivo proisional, view of exposition. XX Biennial of Arquitecture and Urbanism, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017. Marble, neon,
fotocopies and screen printing. Photo by and courtesy of the author
New archives
rough this patrimonial spiritualism, these new archival collections open thepossibility of
engaging in totally new dialogues with the ideas contained therein.By exploring their content,
we will be able to produce a historical overview whoseinterest will be proportional to the
distance we maintain from the shores of nostalgia.By questioning their scope—on the atemporal
borders of their existence/non-existence—we will be able to speculate freely and dene the eld
we wish toexplore based on empirical conditions.
October 22, 2019
El vicio del peso
Impresiones de
transfrontera /
comunicantes: 25
años de El Nopal
May 8, 2019
I’m Not Drunk
November 4, 2016
For Your Eyes Only
© 2020 Terremoto. All Rights Reserved.
Archivo proisional, view of exposition. XX Biennial of Arquitecture and Urbanism, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017. Marble, neon,
fotocopies and screen printing. Photo by and courtesy of the author
Fernando Portal is an Architect, Master of Architecture (PUC, 2004),and M.S in Critical,
Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture(Columbia GSAPP, 2012). He currently
works as part of the artisticcollective Mil Metros Cuadrados, and as Coordinator of the
Languageand Creation Nucleus of the University of the Americas.
[1]is intersection of cultural transformation,design, and public policies wasimplemented by a
group of professionalswhose collaborative work proposed theunion of diverse modern
trajectories.On one hand, the group was made up offormer members of Hfg Ulm, the
Germandesign school founded in 1950, whichacted as an international point of referencefor
the integration of design intoprocesses of industrial development andwhose “critical theory”
implied questioningthe professional role of design in theprocess of commodication and
itsinstrumentalization as a hegemonic agentof control aimed at driving consumption.e other
half of the group was a groupof young students and graduates from therst generations of
industrial and graphicdesigners in Chile, who had been agentsand witnesses of the adjustment of
thediscipline’s curriculum in the contextof university reforms. e group wascomposed of: Gui
Bonsiepe, GuillermoCapdevila, Pedro Domancic, AlfonsoGómez, Fernando Shultz, Rodrigo
Walker,Werner Zemp, Michael Weiss, GustavoCintolesi, Sergio Ahumada, EvelynWeisner,
Mario Carvajal; and graphicdesigners, Eddy Carmona, JessieCintolesi, Pepa Foncea, and
[2]An image complex can be understood as“the whole network of nancial,
institutional,discursive, and technologicalinfrastructures and practices involved inthe
production, circulation, and receptionof the visual-cultural materials.” MegMcLagan and Yates
McKee eds., SensiblePolitics: e Visual Culture ofNongoernmental Activism (New York,
NY:Zone Books, 2012).
[3]rough this action, the project couldeffectively give substance to whatWilliam Gibson calls
semiotic phantoms:“bits of deep cultural imagery that havesplit off and taken on a life of their
own.”William Gibson, “e GernsbackContinuum” in Burning Chrome(Westminster, MD:
Arbor House, 1986).
[4]“Neoliberalism refers to the interactionof processes of neoliberalisation andurbanisation and
how such ideology areshaping and producing the form, theimage and the life in the
cities…Neoliberal urbanism is then a descriptivecategory that is able to depict the
spatiotemporalmaterial and discursive practiceand its operative analytical capacityof producing
urban space. A materialcondition that designates governmentaltechnologies, discursive and
spatialdispositifs that fueled a political imaginationlocally and globally that ‘‘penetratesthe
bodies of subjects, and governs theirforms of life’ (Agamben 2009:14).”
Camillo Boano, “Foucault and Agambenin Santiago: Governmentality, Dispositiveand Space,”
in Neoliberalism and UrbanDevelopment in Latin America: e Case ofSantiago, eds. Camillo
Boano andFrancisco Vergara-Perucich (London:Routledge, 2018).
[5]Bienes Públicos had the support of JoséHernández as a co-researcher, whileArchivo
Proisional has been developed incollaboration with Pedro Correa,Fernando Carvajal, and
Rayna Razmilic.Both archives have been shown in variouscontexts in Santiago de Chile:Bienes
Públicos: (1) “Homenaje a INTEC,11ª Bienal de Artes Mediales, MuseoNacional de Bellas
Artes, 2013; (2) “Lasnecesidades del consumo popular”, 13thBienal de Artes Mediales,
MuseoNacional de Bellas Artes, 2017; (3)Galería NAC, Santiago.Archivo Proisional: (1) XX
Bienal deArquitectura y Urbanismo, Valparaíso,Chile, 2017; (2) “Estudio Común,”Gallery in
the Ponticia UniversidadCatólica de Chile School of Architecture,2017; (3) Galería NAC,
Santiago, 2017; (4)Campus Providencia, Universidad de lasAméricas, 2018; and (5)
Impresionante,Feria de Arte Impreso, Museo de ArteContemporáneo, 2018.
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In the 1970s and following on from the deposition of Salvador Allende, the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet installed a radical political and economic system by force which lent heavy privilege to free market capitalism, reduced the power of the state to its minimum and actively suppressed civil society. Chicago economist Milton Friedman was heavily involved in developing this model, and it would be hard to think of a clearer case where ideology has shaped a country over such a long period. That ideology is still very much with us today and has come to be defined as neoliberalism. This book charts the process as it developed in the Chilean capital Santiago and involves a series of case studies and reflections on the city as a neoliberal construct. The variegated, technocratic and post-authoritarian aspects of the neoliberal turn in Chile serve as a cultural and political milieu. Through the work of urban scholars, architects, activists and artists, a cacophony of voices assemble to illustrate the existing neoliberal urbanism of Santiago and its irreducible tension between polis and civitas in the specific context of omnipresent neoliberalism. Chapters explore multiple aspects of the neoliberal delirium of Santiago: observing the antagonists of this scheme; reviewing the insurgent emergence of alternative and contested practices; and suggesting ways forward in a potential post-neoliberal city. Refusing an essentialist call, Neoliberalism and Urban Development in Latin America offers an alternative understanding of the urban conditions of Santiago. It will be essential reading to students of urban development, neoliberalism and urban theory, and well as architects, urban planners, geographers, anthropologists, economists, philosophers and sociologists. © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Camillo Boano and Francisco Vergara Perucich; individual chapters, the contributors. All rights reserved.
Both archives have been shown in various contexts in Santiago de Chile: Bienes Públicos: (1)
  • Pedro Correa
  • Fernando Carvajal
  • Rayna Razmilic
Bienes Públicos had the support of José Hernández as a co-researcher, while Archivo Pro isional has been developed in collaboration with Pedro Correa, Fernando Carvajal, and Rayna Razmilic. Both archives have been shown in various contexts in Santiago de Chile: Bienes Públicos: (1) "Homenaje a INTEC", 11ª Bienal de Artes Mediales, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2013; (2) "Las necesidades del consumo popular", 13th Bienal de Artes Mediales, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2017; (3) Galería NAC, Santiago. Archivo Pro isional: (1) XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Valparaíso, Chile, 2017; (2) "Estudio Común, " Gallery in the Ponti cia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture, 2017; (3) Galería NAC, Santiago, 2017; (4) Campus Providencia, Universidad de las Américas, 2018; and (5)