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Theoretical Papers

Vol. 6 No. 1 (2021): Visual Spaces of Change: photographic documentation of environmental transformations

Experimental persistence of change: collages of the palimpsestic temporalities of Freixo's Thermoelectric Power Station (Campanhã, Porto)




This paper presents an artistic work developed as part of the curatorial research Persistent Materialities, that experimented with different modes of documentation and mediation of loss of the post-industrial ruins of Freixo’s Thermoelectric Power Station (Campanhã, Porto). Whereas this building becomes less legible as an official object of industrial heritage and yield into continuous ruination and post-human condition, the collaged photographs presented here constructs a narration and interpretation of a retrospective history. The visual representations usually surrounding the imaginary of this landscape highlight two fixed modes of its existence: historical photographs are instrumentalized in a conservative discourse of preservation while architectural collages and technical drawings project a possible future where the building is no more. Distancing from these visual representations that conceive the landscape apart from its contingent and material reality, the retrospective collages stage the complexity of layers that assemble and reassemble this palimpsestic landscape. The recollection of segments, traces and fragments of a dynamic and mutable history quest for the endurance of the transformed and transforming aspect of this heterotopic space rather than the landscape itself.


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