Museu da Crise at Architecture Trienal of Lisbon 2013: CLOSE, CLOSER!

Opening of Museu da Crise
Opening of Museu da Crise

Museu da Crise was invited to participate in the Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2013, as part of Associated Projects programme ‘But is it Architecture?’. The triennial examines, encourages and promotes architecture in the broadest sense, both in theory and in practice. ‘Close, Closer’, the third edition of the triennial, portrays architecture as a living, social and artistic force. During the triennial Museu da Crise explored the potential of domestic strategies and parallel economies, which have a strong presence in contemporary society as counter movements, by expanding these strategies from the private, into the community sphere. Museu da Crise does this by implementing them into the existing visible and invisible infrastructures of the city and the urban environment. By doing so, Museu da Crise wants to liberate the basic human needs from the whims of the free market and make them freely accessible to all. Even in times of crisis.

Since the title Museu da Crise had proven to be a strong metaphor to engage people in the project and also to stimulate creativity, it was decided to strengthen and expand this by over a period of six weeks opening the five different departments of the Museu during the triennial. The first department that opened was the Emerging Collection Department. The collection houses all artistic products that emanate from Museu da Crise activities. The Unofficial Education Department was next. Within this department the Museu develops activities to stimulate active citizenship and a series of interactive print and augmented reality interventions in public space and the triennial exhibitions was created and presented.

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Recognising the importance of local roots to make a project as Museu da Crise sustainable and continuous, the Alternative Communication Department was established, mapping and inviting local initiatives to join the project and to spread the word within their respective communities.

Alternative Communication Department poster 100x70
Alternative Communication Department poster 100×70

To mark the opening of the Subversive Research Department, Museu da Crise organised the ‘UnConference’ Shifting Urban Paradigms that delved into topics such as urban resilience, sustainable construction, urban agriculture, ecological literacy, social economies and active citizenship.

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The last department to be opened was the Parallel Action Department. During its presence in Lisbon for the triennial, Museu da Crise executed a series of artistic interventions in public space. The interventions vary from applying graffiti to putting up a clothesline on a busy traffic point. All these interventions were documented. This documentation, together with some of the materials used to represent the different interventions, was presented on the closing event. Based on the documentation a book and film were created that were both presented during the closing week of the triennial. The fiction of the book is set in Lisbon somewhere in an unidentified future. All sorts of scenarios about public uprisings and civil disobedience are played out. The film, a video essay, is the second part of the Museu da Crise film and continues where the first part made in Guimarães ended focussing on the status quo and the actions citizens can take to contribute to the process of the museumification of crisis.

Read more about Museu da Crise.

Paralel Action Department


Series of 50 printed video stills [14 x 7,3 cm], contrasting images of a modern shopping mall with abandoned houses in the centre of Lisbon.

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Street installation consisting of ‘botanic cards’ with information about edible weeds. The card contains a botanic drawing of the plant, its characteristics and nutritional information as well a simple recipe. The cards were put next to the plants in question and were made out of laminated paper and a metal structure with 50 x 25 cm.

The action

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Workshop on how to build low-cost solar powered lamps and installation with solar powered lamps in a social housing project where the public lighting had been out of order for years.

Solar lamp scheme
Solar lamp scheme

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Graffiti on the streets of Lisbon, with messages in Portuguese about the benefits of walking, based on international scientific research. Six stencils of 70 x 50 cm made out of white fibrous paper with white graffiti paint.

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Installation made of a clothesline, white clothes and wooden clothespins next to a bus, train and boat station. Poster explaining that people could exchange clothes or take the items they need. After a couple of hours, almost all white clothes were gone and replaced with new colourful clothes. In collaboration with performers from c.e.m – centro em movimento.

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Installation with stickers at bus stops that facilitate sharing rides and costs, using the existing public transport infrastructures. [10 x 15 cm each sticker]

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The Book

The Film – Museu da Crise II

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