Tessa Koenig Gimeno

The Independent Group

Decolonising the City: Public Space as Cultural Resistance in Santiago de Chile

The project investigates the phenomena of protest through the occupation and de-powering of Plaza Italia to Plaza Dignidad in Santiago 2019. The plaza, expressed as a monumental void resisting the dense urban fabric, is designed as a civic stage for daily rituals and social manifestation. The communication of a common ground extends through the material and construction processes, celebrating the richness and beauty of Chile’s geological diversity and referring to vernacular earthen construction traditions. The re-appropriation of the Mapocho River’s banks recovers the territory’s native conditions for its people and environment. From monuments to ruins, defaced colonial and political statues are collected throughout the country and repurposed, forming a public archive that documents and preserves the statues in their state of ruination. The ‘natural monument’ transcends the entire project in a symbolic gesture that relocates statues underground, at eye-level, subverting and decolonising the monument through empowering place, culture and memory.

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