Theme 2022 BEAUTY
“When we project, we think about the question we are asked, but if the answer is not beautiful, we know we must keep searching.” RCR
The profound experience of beauty entails the strangeness provoked by a particular sensation of revelation, disturbance, and discovery in the face of that which fascinates and moves us. Beauty as an enigma and longing is present in RCR’s phrase, which presents every project as a search for beauty beyond formal and functional solutions, to endow them with soul and appeal to the sensual dimension of the body and the emotional dimension of the intellect, to be a place where the five senses vibrate and where body and soul are a single, undifferentiated one.
Plato considers beauty as an ideal that only takes place in the soul. The only way to access it is through philosophy. For Kant, beauty is not a property of a work of art or a natural phenomenon but the awareness of pleasure that accompanies the ‘free play of imagination and understanding. Although it seems they are using reason to decide what is beautiful, the judgement is not a cognitive judgement; consequently, it is not logical but aesthetic.
Not far from this line of thought is neuroaesthetics, which states that beauty is a prodigy of the brain since beauty does not exist in the world we see, hear or touch, nor does it reside in anything around us, but only in the minds of human beings. At the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and the study of human evolution, it seeks the neurobiological foundations and evolutionary history of the cognitive and affective processes involved in aesthetic experiences and artistic and creative activities. This approach has revealed that aesthetic stimuli are processed in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, where various brain processes related to perception, memory, comprehension, attention, emotion, and pleasure are involved. One of the most exciting conclusions reached from this perspective is that the more specific the cognitive process, the more beautiful and pleasurable an object is.
Beauty is a subjective experience that can vary from one individual to another and between cultures and epochs. In Western art and architecture, it is attributed to qualities such as harmony, proportion, symmetry, and its ability to captivate the spirit and have their maximum expression in the golden ratio, which can be found in geometric figures, compositions, and nature. The golden ratio is the ratio of two-line segments to each other and is related to the Fibonacci series, which appears continuously in the structure of living things. Almost all natural spirals in nature are natural spiral ratios, as their number is usually a term of the Fibonacci sequence.
In Western culture, beauty is linked to the notion of the perfect, a term from the Latin ‘perfectus’, i.e., complete. Imperfection in architecture is closely related to time. Juhani Pallasmaa points out that ” we live in space and place, but we also inhabit time. Architecture is not only about taming space but also a profound defence against the terror of time. The language of beauty is essentially the language of timeless reality. Our longing and pursuit of beauty is an unconscious attempt to temporarily eliminate the reality of erosion, entropy, and death”.
In Taoism, perfection is considered equivalent to death, as it is a state where no further growth or development can occur. The acceptance of fleeting and imperfect beauty is condensed in the concept of Wabi-Sabi, which accepts transience, nature, and melancholy, making room for the poor and the incomplete. “Wabi” refers to “the elegant beauty of humble simplicity” and is combined with “Sabi”, meaning “the passage of time and subsequent deterioration”. An imperfect piece leaves something incomplete for the imagination to play with.
Appreciating something considered Wabi-Sabi achieves awareness of the natural forces involved in the creation of the work, acceptance of the power of nature and abandonment of dualism: the belief that we are separate from our environment.
Beauty is related to our development as a species and is essential for those who wish our society to be just, equal and concerned with truth. Truth, beauty, and goodness are a triad of concepts that make up the three essential human virtues and run through the entire history of human thought. Thus, beauty is good and faithful, just as good is true and beautiful, and the truth is good and beautiful. By interrelating the three concepts intimately, we find that they are inseparable entities, so an object will not be one without the other. Hence Plato defines beauty as the splendour of truth.
When Jean-Jacques Rousseau states that “I have always believed that good is only beauty put into action“, we are in tune with a creative and interdisciplinary initiative between art, culture, social inclusion, science, and technology, such as the New European Bauhaus when it convenes a meeting space to design more beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive ways of living together. Beautiful for our minds and our souls.
Beautiful means inclusive and accessible spaces where dialogue between diverse cultures, disciplines, genders, and ages becomes an opportunity to imagine a better place for all. It also means a more inclusive economy, with distributed wealth and affordable spaces.
Beautiful means sustainable solutions that create a dialogue between our built environment and the planet’s ecosystems. It means realising regenerative approaches inspired by natural cycles that replenish resources and protect biodiversity.
Beautiful means enriching experiences that respond to needs beyond our material dimension, inspired by creativity, art, and culture. It means appreciating diversity as an opportunity to learn from others.
They are definitions of beauty that proclaim its transformative value, which is in tune with the quest manifested in RCR’s phrase: if the answer is not beautiful, we know we have to keep searching.
Lecture Series RCR TALKS
The series of 9 lectures, all preceded by video art creations from the Forest Matter IV series, is structured in three thematic blocks:
- Architecture Mondays as a meeting to reflect on space and place at all scales, with the participation of architects Benedetta Tagliabue, Pau Sarquella and Carmen Torres, and Palinda Kannangara.
- RCR La Vila Tuesdays, with a pilot experience for the presentation of the fourth edition of the Open Program by Eduardo Bonito and Isabel Ferreira with an audience limited to RCR La Vila in the Vall de Bianya; followed by two Chamber Sessions in a documentary format, by Laura Martínez de Guereñu and Marina Garcés, in which we moved to the living room of the farmhouse at RCR La Vila, and
- Art Wednesdays, to explore the beauty of spaces in art, film and virtual reality with Fernando Moral, Jordi Balló and Lucia Tahan.
FOREST MATTER IV
Forest Matter is a selection of videocreations that celebrate the poetic power of trees and open the conferences that make up the Open Program.
It is a project by LABEA – Laboratorio de Artes Vivas y Ecología in collaboration with RCR BUNKA Fundación and curated by Isabel Ferreira and Eduardo Bonito.
Videocreations Series FOREST MATTER IV
Exhibition HISAO SUZUKI FUND
HISAO SUZUKI FUND · Shadows and Light · Hisao Suzuki
A collection of international architectural photographs representative of Hisao Suzuki’s work since the 1980s.
This exhibition presents Hisao Suzuki’s donation of his entire collection to the RCR Bunka Fundació. The collection contains 46,000 photographs of contemporary architecture worldwide and portraits of architects and musical composers. The group also includes photographic films and the original digital archives of the images. It is considered the most important photographic archive of contemporary architecture from the last 30 years.
Suzuki’s link with Catalonia began in 1978 after seeing an exhibition of photographs of Antoni Gaudí in Yokohama, Japan, which captivated him. Four years later, he arrived for the first time in Barcelona, where he stayed to live. In this pre-Olympic Barcelona, Hisao Suzuki began his career as an architectural photographer. He is the author of the documentation of the construction process of the Palau Sant Jordi, as well as many works on Catalan modernism, among others. His career has recently earned him the Creu de Sant Jordi 2022 (Saint George’s Cross) award from the Generalitat de Catalunya.
From June 3 to August 15, 2022
Museu de la Garrotxa. Sala Oberta 2. Carrer de l’Hospici, 8. 17800 Olot (Girona)
Opening hours. Weekdays from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays and holidays from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm. Mondays closed. Free admission
Monday, 4 July 2022 · Forest Matter IV · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
FOREST MATTER IV · Conversations with a tree (2019) · Company Rouge Elea, Spain-France · 02:30 min
“Conversations with a tree” puts images and poetry to the eponymous work created by the Basque-French company in 2019.
“Everyone is likely thrown under the tree at the end of this journey while asking themselves, ‘Am I a nature? Is there a deer sleeping inside me? It’s funny … I almost feel like I’m growing up.’ tree?”
Des de fa 15 anys, Corine Cella es penja dels arbres per ballar. Ander Fernández fa 15 anys que rasca la fusta de la seva guitarra i el paper de la seva ploma. Junts, entaulen una conversa poètica amb els arbres.
For 15 years, Corine Cella has been hanging from the trees to dance. Ander Fernández has been scratching the wood of his guitar and pen paper for 15 years. Together, they strike up a poetic conversation with the trees.
Creation: Rouge Elea, Corine Cella and Ander Fernández. Video: Zazpi t’erdi.
Monday, 4 July 2022 · Lecture · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Tuesday, 5 July 2022 · Forest Matter IV · Online premiere · 19h
Tuesday, 5 July 2022 · Lecture · RCR La Vila · 21h
RCR LA VILA TUESDAYS · Forest Matter IV · Eduardo Bonito & Isabel Ferreira
Contemporary forest culture in contemporary art and performing arts projects.
Isabel Ferreira (Pamplona, Spain, 1970) is a curator and cultural manager with a degree in Art History, a Master’s in Visual Culture and a University Specialist in Culture and Territory. She was, among others, director of the DNA festivals of the Government of Navarre and ComPosiciones Políticas de Rio de Janeiro.
Eduardo Bonito (São Paulo, Brazil, 1969) coordinates the European project BPDA which brings together 12 festivals from 12 countries, and has been, among others, director of Panorama, one of the most relevant festivals in the Americas, director of Dança em Foco and BAC – Bienal de las Artes del Cuerpo, Imagen y Movimiento de Madrid. He participates in the governance group of the European project RESHAPE.
Wednesday, 6 July 2022 · Forest Matter IV · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
FOREST MATTER IV · Subcortical (2022) · Martín Etxauri, Spain · 02:30
Subcortical refers to the botanical term that looks under the bark of trees, but also the doctor who looks under the bark of the brain, this structure where emotions, instincts or dreams are regulated. The film takes us to a place beneath the surface, on a journey that reveals the fractality of plant life.
Martin Etxauri Sainz de Murieta, alias Txo!?, is an artist and researcher in new media. He holds a degree in Fine Arts and a PhD in Contemporary Art from the EHU and is in continuous self-taught training. It tries to think of the technological with a critical and oblique gaze and investigates the relationship between the digital and the physical, through processes of digitization and transformation of nature.
Image and sound: Martin Etxauri Sainz de Murieta, Txo!?. LiDAR scanning: Unai Requejo & Martin Etxauri. LiDAR scanner courtesy of the Faculty of Fine Arts, UPV / EH. Photogrammetry: Martin Etxauri. Format: FullHD 1080p, 16: 9, Color, Stereo. Technique: CGI, LiDAR, Photogrammetry.
Wednesday, 6 July 2022 · Lecture · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Thursday, 7 July 2022 · Lecture · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Monday, 11 July 2022 · Forest Matter · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Monday, 11 July 2022 · Lecture · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 · Forest Matter · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 · Documentary Premiere · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
Wednesday, 13 July 2022 · Forest Matter · Pati de l'Hospici · Olot · 19h
FOREST MATTER IV · The Tree of Life (2021) · Simón Hernández Estrada, Colombia · 10:35 min
Tribute to the painter Abel Rodríguez (nonuya name: Mogatge Guihu), an elder of the nonuya, an indigenous community in the middle of the Cahuinarí River in Colombia. Through drawings and narratives, Abel transmits to future generations the knowledge of his ancestors about the plants of the Amazon basin, their coexistence with animals and their mythological meanings.
Simón Hernández Estrada is a director, producer and editor with a long career in the field of documentary having worked for media such as the BBC, ART, CNN, TVE, TVC, Red Bull Media House, Caracol TV and Señal Colombia.
Director: Simón Hernández Estrada. Production: Instituto de Visión / la Popular. Producers: Maria Paula Bastidas and Beatriz López. Music: Simón Mejía.