31 Oct 2017
Art and the City
Cases from Brazil and West-Africa

Speakers : Paola Berenstein Jacques and Baerbel Mueller
Moderator : Ann Cassiman
Location : Auditorium STUK, Naamsestraat 96, Leuven


Paola Berenstein Jacques - Architect and Urbanist, professor at UFBA
Purity is a myth

From punctual work examples of artists and architects - Hélio Oiticica, Marcel Gautherot, Lúcio Costa e Lina Bo Bardi - Paola Berenstein Jacques seeks to understand the popular cultural appropriation as a critical counterpoint to the modern movement in architecture and urbanism in Brazil and, particularly, to what would be one of its main accomplishments: the project and materialization of the modern capital in the central plain - Brasilia.


Baerbel Mueller (Architect,  Senior lecturer at university of applied arts vienna)
Art acupuncturing accra

The evolution of art spaces and cultural initiatives on the African continent, in relation to their effects on the (urban) context they are located in, is most thrilling. New forms of connecting art and society, and of engaging audiences, emerge. (Small-scale) cultural hubs and urban attractors are created through artistic (spatial) practices. Artists, activists, and cultural producers leave behind institutional frameworks and create platforms themselves according to their own needs and visions. By means of spatial, temporal, and programmatic interventions, urban space is activated and transformed, and urban actors – artists, audiences, and residents – are stimulated and empowered to experience and reflect on their city differently.
Focusing on the city of Accra and its regional network, my lecture explores such projects and their applied spatial practices. Their economic fragility and contextual integrity are illuminated in order to identify the limits, potential, and sustainability of these kinds of projects. What do these projects need to look like in order to blur the boundaries between the spatial frame, art, and the everyday?


Paola Berenstein Jacques works as a professor at the Architecture and Urbanism as well as the Visual Arts graduate programs at the Federal University of Bahia and as a CNPq (National Council of Scientific and Technological Development) researcher, coordinating the Laboratório Urbano (Urban Laboratory) research group. She is the author of Les favelas de Rio (Slums in Rio), Paris, l’Harmattan, 2001; Estética da Ginga (The Aesthetics of Sway), Rio de Janeiro, Casa da Palavra, 2001; Esthétique des favelas (The Aesthetics of the Slums), Paris, l’Harmattan, 2003;  Elogio aos errantes (Compliments to wanderers), Salvador, Edufba, 2012; co-author of Maré, vida na favela (Maré, Life in the Slums), Rio de Janeiro, Casa da Palavra, 2002, and the organizer of Apologia da Deriva (An Apologetics of Drifting), Rio de Janeiro, Casa da Palavra, 2003, Corps et Décors Urbains (Urban Bodies and Sceneries), Paris, l’Harmattan, 2006, Corpos e cenários urbanos (Urban Bodies and Sceneries),Salvador, Edufba, 2006; Corpocidade: debates, ações e articulações (Bodycity: debates, actions, and articulations), Salvador, Edufba, 2010; Experiências metodológicas para compreensão da complexidade da cidade contemporânea (coleção em 4 tomos - tomo 1: Experiência, Apreensão, Urbanismo; tomo 2: Subjetividade, Corpo, Arte; tomo 3: Alteridade, Imagem, Etnografia; tomo 4: Memória, Narração, História), Salvador, Edufba, 2015 and Corpocidade: gestos urbanos (Bodycity: urban gestures), Salvador, Edufba, 2017. 


Baerbel Mueller is an architect, researcher, and head of the [applied] Foreign Affairs lab at the Institute of Architecture, at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. From 2002 to 2011, she taught at the studio of Wolf D. Prix, directing student realization projects transdisciplinary courses. In 2011, she established [applied]Foreign Affairs, which investigates spatial, environmental, cultural phenomena in rural and urban Sub-Saharan Africa (and the Middle East) through research-base workshops and field trips. [a]FA projects have received international prizes such as the National Energy Globe Award Ghana 2015, the Helmut Richter Award, the Neptun Water Prize 2015(with Braveaurora), and the National Energy Globe Award: Ghana 2014. In 2015, Baerbel Mueller received the Ars Docendi State Award for excellence in teaching.Recently, she published the book [APPLIED]FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Investigating spatial phenomena in rural and urbanSub-Saharan Africa. From 2004 to 2008, she collaborated as in the project nav_s andrea boerner baerbel mueller, focusing on urban research projects located in the Western and non-Western world. In 2008, she founded nav_s baerbelmueller [navigations in the field of architecture and urban research within diverse cultural contexts], focusing on projects located on the African continent.



Mueller, Baerbel (2017) [APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Investigating spatial phenomena in rural and urban Sub-Saharan Africa. Edition Angewandte;  ISBN 978-3-0356-0878-6; BIRKHÄUSER, available at

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein (2011) Urban Improvisations: The Profanatory Tactics of Spectacularized Spaces. Critical Studies in Improvisation. Vol.7, N. 01.

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. Notas sobre espaço público e imagens da cidade. Arquitextos, São Paulo, ano 10, n. 110.02, Vitruvius, jul. 2009

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. Corpografias urbanas. Arquitextos, São Paulo, ano 08, n. 093.07, Vitruvius, fev. 2008.

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. Elogio aos errantes. Breve histórico das errâncias urbanas. Arquitextos, São Paulo, ano 05, n. 053.04, Vitruvius, out. 2004.

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. (2012).Experiência errática. UFBA: Redobra.N. 9. V.3: 192-204. ISSN 2238-3794

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein(2010)Learning from favelas (in) BRASIL, Daniela/ DIETL, Theresa/ GRAU, Catherine/ KÖNIG, Bernhard (eds.) (2010) KoCA Inn: an urban experiment at the Kiosk of Contemporary Art in Weimar. Weimar: Revolver Publishing

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein.Elogio aos errantes. Salvador: UFBA, 2012.

JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. Memória, narração, história (in) Jacques, P.J.; Britto, F. D.; Drummond, W. (ed). Experiências metodloógicas para compreensão da complexidade da cidade contemporânea. Salvador: UFBA, 2015.

Britto, Fabiana; JACQUES, Paola Berenstein. Corpocidade: Debates, Ações e Articulações. Salvador: UFBA, 2010.


DEBATES 2017/2018
17 Oct 2017
Cases from India and Ethiopia
31 Oct 2017
Cases from Brazil and West-Africa
14 Nov 2017
Cases from India and Senegal
28 Nov 2017
Cases from Berlin and Johannesburg
12 Dec 2017
Cases from Liberia and South-Africa