In 1968 the North American artist John Baldessari was establishing his terms more used to define creative works in the art, forming on a linen those who, according to it, were the words capable of explaining this practice in the 20th century (it searched in books of art which were the most repeated actions and it them was dictated to a poster-artist who fixed in the fabric those verbs). The architecture might be synthesized in a similar way, across the actions that it summons, beyond intentions or rhetorics. A project of architecture can be enunciated as a catalogue of verbs, succession of actions established in a concrete place that unleashes another series of acts on the part of the inhabitants; a luck of Newton’s law updated by that the actions opened by the architecture carry civil reactions.
Almost simultaneously that Baldessari was bringing together his collection of terms, Richard Serra was publishing a list of infinitives that specified the relation of actions that can be applied to the matter, a manual for a sculptor, or any creator, of that one that it can manage to do; in his hundred of actions there becomes condensed the sculptural practice of the humanity, which was and also the one that could manage to be. The beginning of a project of architecture in the city also might synthesize in the seed of a glossary of expressions that were indicating diverse manners of proceeding, piling up, removing, folding up …, that they will take root or branch out then in our streets; any project is a metamorphosis of the matter.
In the same date that Baldessari, another contemporary artist, Carl André, realized a similar exercise, a substantive succession that was explaining his work: a subjective customization and a complementary enrichment of the intellectual coldness that might be imputed to the conceptual power of Baldessari’s collection. Between these lists move we all, artists, architects, and definitively, inhabitants of the city, palpitating scene that we transform with our looks, thoughts, and common actions.
To project the architecture of the city, sum of multiple actions, it needs of an operative taxonomía of functions: some of them might refer to the reacciones that the architecture generates on having entered in touch with the way, since in Baldessari’s inventory, others to the transformation that it causes in the matter, reciprocity of our ideas, as in Serra’s catalogue, and others, since in the list of André, to our existential and awkward implication, every artist wants to be always to both sides of a non-existent line, creating and at the same time, living. And this way we go on from the thought to the action. From the look to our common space, we wanted to proclaim the fruitful convergence of the artistic and architectural practice, and to define both in continuity as an accumulation of collective actions in a place. Artists, architects, citizens, we are interested in the understanding of the city as an accumulation of facts and experiences, Common Actions that give sense to the public space and of which all the interested parties we can learn strategies of reflection and action to transform it and improve it.
The present publication Menéndez Pelayo gathers the interventions and meetings of the course celebrated in the International University in autumn of 2013, with the participation of authors, architects, artists, writers, of contemporary and urban sensibility, and of great relevancy in the academic, creative and intellectual areas, brings over of the relations between art and architecture.