Mastery as a fundamental and physical problem of boundary and border phenomena | Luis Gil

Ball Players by Georg Gerster, Santa Barbara, 1974
Ball Players by Georg Gerster, Santa Barbara, 1974

The movement and walking is innate to the activity of man, for various reasons, from the great migrations and movements in the search for Paleolithic hunting to the present day. A movement that was originally forced by the need to survive against the adverse nature, much earlier than the subsequent sedentary and articulation of man with the territory through the control and use of land through agricultural activity. Agriculture fixed the continuous movement of man and made him sedentary on a greater or lesser scale until he reached the last degree of elaboration in the static that was the city, as a cultural condenser and economic articulator of other inertia and behaviors in living.

You cannot talk about the territorial question of the beginning of the domain without the best literary reference of the nomadic inhabitant in front of the sedentary one. Not to mention Abel in front of Cain … This double way of inhabiting the territory, in movement or statism, is the vital dilemma of his being. While Cain, in the division of labor, embodies the man fixed to the land that survives through agriculture, Abel is a moving man, the shepherd and nomad who follows his flocks (Abel is somehow a first Homo- Ludens has free time for other activities). This different way of acting on territorial support establishes a duality in human habitation that has persisted on different scales until the arrival or occurrence of the recent phenomena that have happened in the second half of the s. XX and that we relate in the first section.

The question of dominance has to do directly with nomadic inhabiting and when sedentary life occurs. The location, the settlement, gives character to the space, as it must be marked and controlled. Standing means controlling the space on which it is, contrary to the impossibility of taming it when it is in motion.

Engandin marathon, Georg Gerster (1972)
Engandin marathon, Georg Gerster (1972)

Bruce C. Chatwin explained to us how the human conflict between this double way of living appears because the static man, who ultimately makes a settlement and city, appropriates the territory, occupies it continuously, closes it and tries to control it and fencing, defending its plot from other nearby domains (phenomenon that is repeated at all scales, until reaching the territorial), while the nomad can only control what he uses at any time, producing an appropriation that is minimal or temporary, without the ambition to territorialize a space as its own but to exchange moments.

Since then and for most of the most recent history of man (the last 3,000 years), walking and walking have only been justified, since the first subsistence obligation, and later of trade that indirectly has been one of the most frequent impulses to get out of the static, of that own space in stillness.

In this way, the expenditure of energy, social and cultural, necessary to abandon the known and undertake the trip, be it walked or approached with other means of transport, is justified only by the objective of achieving a superior way of life, whether in economic, be it cultural-political.

It will be only from s. XIX, when the trip, as well as the walk, which crosses different worlds, will begin to be understood in a playful way mainly driven by a new way of seeing that is born with romanticism and is later driven by the emergence of a new social class, The bourgeoisie.

Playground Zaanhof, 1950, Aldo van Eyck
Playground Zaanhof, 1950, Aldo van Eyck

Luis Gil Pita, architect
Santiago de Compostela, November 2019

Article chapter Allegory of the border and the limit, originally published in the Obradoiro magazine nº34, winter 2009.

Luis Gil Pita

Arquitecto por la ETSA de A Coruña en 1997, desde ese año colabora en el estudio de Manuel Gallego Jorreto hasta 1999. Becado de investigación en Holanda en 2000-1, con un estudio sobre lo fronterizo y liminar en arquitectura, por la Diputación de A Coruña, fue posteriormente Profesor invitado en el área de proyectos de la Facultad de Arquitectura de Guimaráes, Universidade do Minho, del 2001 hasta el 2007. Desde el inicio de su carrera ha publicado asíduamente artículos y ha participado como editor en diferentes publicaciones alrededor de la arquitectura.

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