Escora

Title: Escora
Location: Torres Vedras, Portugal
Studio: Marta Pereira, Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
Author: Marta Pereira, Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
Category:  Collective Places
Video: Marta Pereira, Orlando Gilberto-Castro, Tiago Ascensão
Photos: Marta Pereira, Orlando Gilberto-Castro, Tiago Ascensão

An everyday gesture – the crossing of a street – re-enabling vision.
Repeated, daily actions become neutral. We look without actually seeing, we pass by without noticing. The specific conscience of the spaces is lost and, with it, the perceptive and sensorial richness of the contact with the world.
Introducing an odd element, even without changing the space itself, a reactivation of perception is proposed, giving experience its value back.
Through this active way of looking, people – as individuals and as a whole – become an actual part of space, its presence become consequent.
Taking the metal prop from its utilitarian features to an artistic-architectonic – interventive – approach, and keeping its firmness and strength nature, this installation takes shape in the covering of a street – the metal prop gives up its unitary values and works as a continuous structure.
In doing so, it offers visibility to places with no impact in Torres Vedras’ historical center and includes them in the inhabitants circuits, giving them a differentiated experience. On the other hand, the presence of unoccupied buildings and poorly conserved facades shows the chosen elements accuracy, bringing up this forgotten reality.
From the scale transition – by decreasing the height along the street, with increasing density – the installation brings more tension and compression to the space, and its shadow – that doubles its rhythm – creates a different relationship with the ground. This way, new experiences are provided to the passersby, encouraging them to rethink the relationship with their everyday spaces.


Escora [metal prop] was selected to be part of the International Festival on Public Space Art CICLO 2014, that took place on Torres Vedras' historical centre, occupying the street named Trás do Açougue. This is a very narrow housing street, barely occupied, with most buildings in very poor conservation conditions. Not many people use it: with only a few inhabitants, even as a connection it is not a favourite. With this intervention, an attraction was created, giving the street back its place in the city. It was an opportunity not only to rediscover places that did not appear to have anything interesting to give, but also to claim citizen and political attention to the current state of this street in the very heart of this historical center.
The ones who actually live there were at first very cautious and suspicious about this strange presence that suggested the total collapsing of their houses. Nevertheless, they ended up helping put up the metal props and discussing about the need to do some constructive work on the street: the lack of municipal response to that issue is a real concern to them and all attention channelled to that is, of course, welcome.
What started as a more artistic approach soon grew to promote this public debate, as well as to raise awareness for the social responsibility – and social power – of Art.