Let’s face, literally, the term Human Nature. It will be Hannah Arendt who best helps us to understand it. For the author, the essence of Man resides in the transforming action that he perpetutes on the world. Human labor produces an artificial world, transformed both materially and spatially, according to the conveniences of its existence. The essence of the human being does not lie therefore in some metaphysical explanation, but in its capacity to artificialize the natural world according to its necessities of life. The quality of homo faber manufacturer in the world ensures the survival of the species, but also surpasses it in the benefit of abundance, says Arendt. The author uses the term “metabolism from Man to Nature” to refer to the relation of consumption of humanity to the environment; while Karl Marx asserted, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, that human productivity necessarily implies the destruction of nature.
For the alarming unfoldings of human nature upon the world give urgency to the subject. The deforested area of the Amazon Forest for livestock and road construction in the first decade of this century was six times larger than Portugal. The unsustainable consumption of cities today is responsible for the launch of real “plastic seas” in the world’s oceans. The effects of the seasonal imbalance caused by carbon dioxide from automobiles and the intense global air traffic are experienced in our practice today. In addition, the decline in biodiversity reaches records with the disappearance of a never before recorded number of animal species.Changes in climate, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation are three different sides of the same process of anthropogenic action on nature. Such changes, however, are no longer restricted only to the environmental and biological spheres. Science today speaks of “irreversible geological changes” due to the activities of oil exploration and ore extraction from deep layers of the earth. Deforestation and inadequate land occupation in agriculture are responsible for the desertification of extensive territories in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa. The ironic paradox that surrounds human nature is that, at the same time that man makes objects, he invents new materials and he transforms the environment and modifies landscapes to change the conditions imposed by the natural space, this artificiality also becomes a threat.Architecture, alongside industry and engineering, are decisive agents of transformation of natural matter into volumes and buildings, habitable objects, artificial spaces created by man. The development of a wide and urgent ecological sensitivity now passes through the perception of the space of the planet as a geological complex of interdependence between the natural materials and the subjects created by the human being – the cities, in particular, the most remarkable geological artifact of humanity. Human Nature, subject of Arquiteturas’19, aims to discuss an eco-relational sense that extends the understanding of architecture as mere human labor creating shelter space to reconfigure it as an agent protagonist in the environmental and geological change of the planet.Within this context, architecture cinema, whose essence lies precisely in the apprehension, representation and problematization of space, becomes a privileged instrument to give visibility to the increasingly conflicting relationship between Man and nature. In the programming of Arquiteturas this year, it is proposed to investigate and discuss the various transformations that have been triggered by human nature.The North-American Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, one of the films that best translate Human Nature, probe the imminence of the end of the earth’s geological age under the domination of humans. At the same time, Scenes From Dry City and Thank you for the rain show the depletion of water resources in South Africa and Kenya. Life in “extreme cities”, marked by the heavy industry of the mines is the subject of the documentaries Melting Souls and Centrallurgy. The resistance of traditional building techniques is addressed in the Nepalese Smoke through a Spider, while the socially involved architecture is discussed in Learning by doing and Enchanted Crimée.Portugal will be represented by Russa, by João Salaviza and Ricardo Alves Jr., about the collective memory and the recent transformations of the city of Porto; Civitas, by André Sarmento and Alis Ubbo, by Paulo Abreu, both about the process of “touristification” in Lisbon. The fiction Lá vem o dia, by Merces Tomaz Gomes, deals with the relationship between contemporary living and affective relationships. This edition also features the premeire of the Portuguese animation short O atelier do meu avô, by architect Tiago Galo, which will be screened at the festival’s workshop for children.Personalities in focus in this year’s films are filmmaker Andrzej Wajda and his passion for architecture; Bauhaus completing 100 years of existence in 2019; and the Italian movements of radical design and architecture of the 60s and 70s such as UFO, Archizoom and Superstudio. The archive of the great Mexican master Luis Barragán is the subject of the film The Proposal. The famous social housing project in Milan, Aldo Rossi’s Gallaratese, is the subject of the film Monte Amiata, and the symbolic work of modernism in England by iconic architects Alison and Peter Smithson is portrayed in The Disappearance of Robin Hood.The Netherlands will be honored in the 2019 edition, including a program sponsored by the Dutch Embassy in Lisbon: a workshop of the Dutch collective Failed Architecture, known for its case studies on the failure of modernism and the urban growth of cities, together with filmmaker Petra Noordkamp, who won twice for Best Film in Arquiteturas. The workshop consists of an investigation and audiovisual collection on the current situation of Martim Moniz square in Lisbon, culminating in the cinematographic works of the participants. Dutch programming also has a master class on archival films with Melanie van der Hoorn, author of the book Spots in Shots: Narrating the built environment in short films, João Rosmaninho and Tiago Batista; and with the presence of two architecture ateliers awarded several times for their sustainable features, Bureau Sla and Space&Matter.