Trauma in a Real Estate Office: An Archival Performance on Taller de Arquitectura’s City in Space Project (1968-69)

2017

Commissioned by Charles Aubin and Carlos Mínguez Carrasco for Performa 17: Making Room for Action

Collaborators: Paula Vilaplana, Marta Ariza, Marta Cruañas, Javier Lara

Performa 17: Making Room for Action

In 1969, when working in La Ciudad en el Espacio (City in Space) project, the Barcelona office Taller de Arquitectura sought ways to renew social housing and modern planning under the Franco regime. Looking for a flexible housing infrastructure that would accommodate different modes of living and communities, the Taller turned to the experimental methods of the American performance group The Living Theater. Three times a day and for a whole year, immersive live performances of mixed-media (drawings, image projections, mimes, poems, electronic music) were scheduled to take place at the housing project’s real estate office. The members of the Taller de Arquitectura welcomed spectators-cum-prospective residents turned participants and actors. Eventually canceled by the dictatorship, the performances provided the basis of Ricardo Bofill’s second feature-length movie Esquizo (Schizo) released in 1970. Through a lecture-performance, Trauma in a Real Estate Office combines footage from the subsequent film with archival documentation to retrace the genealogy and mythology of this experiment, and to investigate the use of alternative formats to construct new methodologies in architecture.

Eventually canceled by the dictatorship, the performances provided the basis of Ricardo Bofill’s second feature-length movie Esquizo (Schizo) released in 1970. Through a lecture-performance, A Trauma in a Real Estate Office combines footage from the subsequent film with archival documentation to retrace the genealogy and mythology of this experiment, and to investigate the use of alternative formats to construct new methodologies in architecture.