Fórum by Andreia Garcia – the chance of a market returning to its place

The chance of a market returning to its place is materialised at FÓRUM, in the square of Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães (CIAJG), Guimarães. This is an ephemeral pavilion, hosting the programme entitled SEM ESPINHAS. This double project was conceived by the architect and curator Andreia Garcia, winner of the two Public Art and Curatorial competitions, promoted by the Municipality of Guimarães, the CIAJG and the School of Architecture, Art and Design of the University of Minho (EEAD).

Her last intervention in Guimarães happened in 2012, on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture. Now, ten years later, she intervenes in her city of origin, coinciding with the celebrations of a decade post-European Capital of Culture. A moment of reunion provided by this FÓRUM in the CIAJG square.

The memory of the place, where a market once existed, and Andreia Garcia’s relationship with this spot, where, since she was very young, she would accompany her mother or grandmother to the market, were the starting points to answer both challenges.

“I remember putting my hands on everything, the food, the flowers. I remember a sensory experience associated with that place. A very close experience with food and harvest, the hand associated with the food taken home to then be prepared and eaten.”

This sensorial experience made her create a pavilion and a programme with transdisciplinary perspectives and collaborative practices in the fields of food and ecology. A critical gesture about the place where everything happens. Besides recovering the memory of this location, she sculpts it according to the present, developing this territory.

We remember the Roman forum, a public square in ancient Rome, where public debates took place, and was the meeting place of great importance in the city, FÓRUM re-establishes the meeting place in Guimarães, metaphorically returning the old market to the CIAJG square.

Positioned longitudinally over the square, it is made up of a structure in wooden beams, interspersed with white textile elements. This recalls the image of the old markets and the textile tradition of Guimarães. This structure allows different routes, crossings or stays through the design of benches or tables with different heights for quick or long meals, or even the sale of products.

Here, new dynamics are promoted through a diversified programme on eating, in a balance between yesterday’s place and tomorrow’s place. The programme SEM ESPINHAS has three moments until December, although the pavilion will remain in Guimarães until March 2023.

The first moment will be a workshop with the collaborative platform A Recoletora, attempting to recover the memory and unpopularity of edible wild plants, or rather “weeds”, making them part of our food again. It will feature photographer and videographer Alexandre Delmar, designer Maria Ruivo, herbalist Fernanda Botelho, nutritionist Inês Ruivo and chefs Maria Tavares and Anja Repsa.

The second moment reminds us of the processes of cultivation and consumption through a market, a showcooking and a conversation at the table. It is developed with Cor de Tangerina restaurant, Guimarães. It is much more than a restaurant, as it has a deep respect for nature and people, relating cultivation methods and natural food, seeing food as a process of research and transformation.

Finally, the third moment consists of a conversation about an idea of bio-vision, covering topics such as economic, ecological and food crisis, creating a lexicon on food culture. Joana Krämer Horta, founder of Ponto d’Orvalho, a transdisciplinary festival open to environmental discussion and action through artistic, social and ecological interventions; and also, Mariana Sanchez Salvador, whose research focuses on how the spaces we inhabit, including home, city and territory, are transformed by our food, the culture around it and associated activities. It’s like a spatial design tool, two names part of this conversation.

These are events that embody and enrich the experience of crossing or staying at this FÓRUM. A perfect symbiosis between structure and programme, capturing the memory of the CIAJG square in Guimarães, through a critical look at the landscape discourses, giving back to this place its meaning under the light of contemporaneity.

Joana Duarte (Lisbon, 1988), architect and curator, lives and works in Lisbon. She concluded her master in architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura of Universidade de Lisboa in 2011, she attended the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and did her professional internship in Shanghai, China. She collaborated with several national and international architects and artists developing a practice between architecture and art. In 2018 she founds her own studio, concludes the postgraduate degree in curatorial studies at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and starts collaborating with Umbigo magazine.

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