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"The Earth is round. The Sun, a disk. Where is the Dialectic? On the Sea. Mother Atlantic. How did they dare to depart from here to an unknown world? I then cried out of  love for the sailors, my parents. I cried for having hated them. I cried for still feeling hurt by this history. But ultimately I cried at the poetry of the Tejo meeting the Atlantic, the poetry of the departure towards Conquest. They made it out of fear, too, and perhaps they also cried facing all the beauties beyond the sea, Atlantic. Oh infinite peace to be able to make connecting links out of a fragmented history. Africa and America, and Europe and Africa again. Angolas, Jagas and the people from Benin, where my mother came from. I am Atlantic.”

Beatriz Nascimento, 1989.

“World”, “International”, “Global” and “Transnational” are some terms that describe spaces of experience and horizons of expectation of human interaction. If the “Ocean sea” from the early sailors became the “Atlantic” at the turn of the seventeenth-century, it was only at the late eighteenth-century that the circulation, connections and the makings of a thin political identity compromised with liberal revolutions were intensified, bringing the term “transatlantic” to the forefront. A neologism that seems to emphasize the geographical and metaphoric space of the Atlantic, as a territory marked by diaspora, transitions and transactions: its veins, its routes. A trait still stressed in the twentieth-century, during the interwar years: the increasing impact of technological transformations and the changing geopolitics broadened the scale and the intensity of contacts, estrangement, and the need to negotiate. It is precisely the intention to think about routes, drifts, impasses and mediations within the transatlantic space – concerning the making of a history of architectural criticism – the motto of the II Colloquium criticism . media . memory: architectural transatlantic dialogues, to be held in October 2024 at Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo of the Escola Superior Artística do Porto (Porto, Portugal).


The present meeting seeks to deepen a number of debates from the first edition of the Colloquium held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in October 2022, particularly the subject of the panel “Transatlantic Dialogues” that explored the “[…] nebulae interwoven by figures of architectural criticism through their social, geographical and intellectual constellations” (FIGUEIREDO, upcoming). A discussion in which the “diversified means of mediation employed in the field of architecture (translations, periodicals, publications and international meetings) were no longer considered as mere devices to circulate information, models or images, to be observed as […] spaces of production, negotiation and multidirectional knowledge, apt to make tangible the exercise of criticism [...], here understood as a transnational practice […] [and] the product of complex 'transcultural' processes” (FIGUEIREDO, upcoming).


During the editing process of the annals of the Colloquium, the inclusion of an interview with Margareth da Silva Pereira (upcoming) strengthened the importance of expanding this debate. Pereira's strategy to map narratives in the form of nebulae engages us to think that “criticism operations lie in a lacunar moment, they happen in moments of uncertainty. That is, it is always an interrogation, a doubt. What stood before is no longer enough and what will happen next is out of control”. She approaches criticism as an invitation to “work by essay, […] a possible, probable configuration… […] to act in the abyss, this abyssal moment, lacunar moment that is reflection in action. I mean reflexivity, a practice expected from the historian facing his/her object of study – a practice scrutinized by many authors since the 1960’s. To sum up, to stay in a permanent state of questioning”.  


In March 2023, the workshop “Connecting two hemispheres: the means of critical mediation in the Atlantic culture” was conceived as a preparatory activity for the II Colloquium criticism . media . memory: architectural transatlantic dialogues. Participants were particularly engaged in examining how criticism was “a decisive device, structuring a network of relationships, contacts and exchanges between Iberian and South-American intellectuals that surpassed physical and imaginary frontiers formerly built and fixated by different geopolitical tensions'' (FIGUEIREDO; PEIXOTO, 2023). On that occasion, Priscilla Peixoto was assertive to quote Beatriz Nascimento’s statement taken from the movie Ôrí (GERBER, 1989) – the very same text from the epigraphy. While considering a narrative that brings to the fore an experience of uncertainty and embodiment, Nascimento unveils a more complex scenario and set of relations. According to Peixoto, Nascimento’s words are a call to look at the relationships of encounters and exchanges in the routes of a transatlantic criticism. Moreover, the ideas presented by Nascimento serve as a reminder that transatlantic criticism goes beyond the idea of practicing a global history, or even that of a common history. Instead, it engages diverging histories with their multiple subjectivities and competing visions, as well as shared worldviews. In other words, it is an approach that embraces fragmented elements, unstable configurations and kaleidoscopic stories. Another way of putting it would be to suggest the foggy clouds Margareth da Silva Pereira evoked while mapping the skies of History in the project “Clouds of Urbanistic Thinking”.   


The II Colloquium criticism . media . memory: architectural transatlantic dialogues has as a point of departure the reflections by Beatriz Nascimento and Margareth da Silva Pereira. Since “to talk about Atlantic cultures is often to talk about expatriated, exiled bodies who found in transculturation a way – sometimes the only way – to exist (resisting)” (PEIXOTO, 2023), this call explores the Atlantic as a critical territory and as an unsettled territory. It embraces diversity and multiple ways to perform historiographical moves through these moving territories of Modernity: it is a longing for criticism as a form of knowledge built as a practice of identity, tension and mediation of diverse architectural cultures, which are in constant process of change and renewal.

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