2019 Special Focus—Traces “in-Motion”: How People and Matter Transform Place

Although contemporaneity allows us to witness the exponential impact of global motion in specific sites, these transformations are the embodiment of acts that have occurred across time. Since ancient times, the construction of artefacts, buildings, and public spaces have always been influenced by this complex process of exchange between places and people, crossing several geographic and spatial scales.

In the constructed environment, the relationship between the subtracted matter from one place, that becomes added to another, is one example of this paradigm. For instance, in the specific site of the 2019 conference, the granite stone to build the Guimarães historical center was extracted in situ or from local quarries; the textile industry of Vale do Ave, where Guimarães plays an important role, connects this landscape to places of production across the globe; the wood that constructed the Medici’s’ architectonic masterpieces in Florence travelled from the Monte Falterona for nine days on the river Arno. The marble extracted from Estremoz, Portugal constructed parts of Versailles’ palace in France. Furthermore, massive tourists to city centres create forms of real estate speculation, increasing housing rents, and generating displacement of inhabitants who can no longer afford to live in the place of their ancestors.

Evidence of this “in-Motion” process is endless. It crosses time, space, social, economic, and cultural issues. It holds historical evidence and is contemporarily crucial. How does the ever-increasing in-Motion process transform contemporary places? How do the movements of people and matter impact the affected sites? How do we make visible changes in distant geographical places and their architectural, social, political, and economical interconnections? How is tourism shifting territories? How is the acknowledgment of current human flows, particularly the displacement of migrants and refugees, influencing the notions of borders and questioning the processes of inclusive city planning? How does the arrival of different cultures and crops alter the landscape? How can we generate a more comprehensive and inclusive way of understanding this planet as a common place?

To address these important issues, cross-disciplinary proposals, both theoretical and practical, are welcomed, as well as work from research-based contexts to concrete engaged transformation projects.

The theme is designed to be interpreted broadly or as individuals understand it within the scope of their work. Several topics, themes, and terms are offered below as suggestions rather than limitations on the scope of the “in-Motion” subject.

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