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4 September 2014

"The concept of 'public space' is an instrument of power which distracts us from what the real city is"

Interview with Juan José Lahuerta

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Shared Spaces interviews Juan José Lahuerta, architect, head of collections at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) and holder of the King Juan Carlos I Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at New York University (NYU).


[Spanish > English | Duration: 00:04:46]

Juan José Lahuerta was interviewed by Shared Spaces in January 2013, when he came to the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) to take part in the debate “El Paral·lel: A Cultural Portrait”, which was programmed as part of the series titled “The Future of Paral·lel”. In the interview, Lahuerta discusses the term “public space”. He sees this as consisting of “two abstractions” which, used in the domain of architecture, “don’t mean anything that’s related with real life”. In his view, the words “street” or “outside” are much more relevant. Indeed, he thinks that "the concept of 'public space' is an instrument of power which distracts us from what the real city is", namely "a place with room for everything or, in other words, outside, street, square, sewers, or whatever”. He then turns to the Italian Renaissance painters, whose works are notable for their perspective and absence of human figures. These he defines as being the first images of “public space” in the modern sense. Finally, Lahuerta speaks of plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, which has hosted lately such different uses as the massive protests held by the Indignados Movement or the installation of a payment covered ice rink. According to him, both examples are in such opposite ends as the words "street" and "public space" are.

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