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The project

Visual Spaces of Change is an interdisciplinary research project combining contemporary photography and visual documentation with georeferencing and new technologies  This project investigates the creation of a network of public and collective spaces capable of catalysing emerging dynamics of urban change in the Porto Metropolitan Region (AMP). 

The territory is simultaneously used as a laboratory for empirical experimentation and stage for visual representation of, and for, its agents and urban change processes. The project aims to alter public perceptions about the transformation of public space and collectively transforming imaginings of the city by articulating material and immaterial resources, which provide more visibility to existing urban change dynamics. The strategy for promoting this articulation includes the development of online facilities for virtual interactions at multiple scales, including a digital platform with georeferenced visual data in temporal layers allowing for the accessibility, diffusion, monitoring, and sharing of visual information. This platform promotes an active dialogue between researchers, local institutions and general public, while contributing to the identification of opportunities for cooperation between citizens, institutions, and the urban environment.

The project draws on broad conceptions of creativity and innovation as driving forces for social and institutional cooperation processes, exploring the potential of photography to question imaginatively and address issues that are transversal to the interdisciplinary debate on architecture, art, city and territory. The project intends to develop tools for a greater integration between emerging sociocultural dynamics in alternative spaces of public participation, institutionalized artistic spaces and the cultural, architectural and environmental heritage in Porto Metropolitan Region (AMP).

Visual Spaces of Change proposes a visual communication strategy based on the development of contemporary photography projects that reflect upon different dynamics of urban change to open new horizons of public intervention in the public space. These projects are conceived as “visual narratives” of these dynamics, intentionally interfering with the metropolitan territory in a self-reflexive representation of its own process of change, reducing the distance between the objects of investigation (landscapes, places, public and collective spaces) and their representations. At the same time, the creative content resulting from this research process is integrated into a visual data online platform, which allows for different levels of interaction between these contents and the general public. Departing from the identification of new dynamics of social change related to marginal productions in the field of art and culture, the project seeks to favour the integration of new cultural identities, incorporating emerging artistic expressions in relation to the public and collective spaces where these dynamics take place, stimulating their interaction at different scales. 

The project proposes the potential of architecture, art, city and territory to give visibility to new spaces of public and collective interest. The project’s online platform reinforces this potential, providing a digital support for greater interaction among its audience, constituting a horizontal network of communication between artistic institutions and the public in general. All this provides a basis for visual information that is meant to be expanded beyond the scope of this project, and whose contents can serve to discover new routes and visions of the city, offering different levels of cultural information about public space and territory.

Visual Spaces of Change ( POCI-01-0145-FEDER-030605  – PTDC/ART-OUT/30605/2017 ) is supported by Competitiveness and Internationalisation Operational Programme (POCI), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and through national funds by the FCT –  Fundação para a Ciência  e a Tecnologia.