SRE / Open Data / SP

José Carlos Martinat overlaps, to the building, an infrastructure that is almost imperceptible to the pedestrians. It consists of a software that extracts, from the official website of the Portal da Transparência Estadual (State Transparency Portal) [1], statistical information on the costs and revenues of the state of São Paulo. The information is printed as tax receipts, and the coupons are released to the outside of the building.

[1] Described as the “gateway of the citizen to the main data of the Paulista Government” in

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SRE / Open Data / SP

Much of spatial reasoning that historically attributed to architecture and urbanism responsibility for the construction and planning of space, is being taken away from them and increasingly becoming a product of decisions that lie outside their fields of action. The physical form of the urban space is the last instance of a succession of immaterial processes that not only depend on the establishment of conceptual design guidelines and on a response to the abundant regulatory system (zoning laws, building codes, etc), but also involve decisions, agreements and negotiations that take place behind the abstraction of capital and through the breaches of the administrative and legislative sphere.

The increasing intangibility of the urban development is consistent with the purpose for which it is mostly used; as a tool for the construction of a spatial structure of power, which is essential to the logic of reproduction of capital. This mechanism regards cities as companies that compete in the global market for the attraction of investments from large corporations and from the financial sector, in a continuous quest for profit.

Within this numerical landscape, the most representative capital is information. The ability to handle the discrepancy between narrative and reality is an indispensable skill to implement policies that allow the construction of a city that meets the aforementioned expectations. The balance between what is disclosed and omitted, as well as the interplay between the concreteness of reality and its representation, enables undeclared forms of government that are legitimized through the abstraction of graphs, tables and measurable results of profits and expenses. The access to information and the call for public involvement in the process of building an urban policy, described as democratic and decentralized, integrated and efficient,” [2] is concomitant with the hermeticism of the information that is made available. Which is increasingly the result of a hegemonic ideological representation of the city, dissociated from the concrete reality.

This way of understanding the “urban” and producing “urbanity” is the simulacrum for a pseudo-community where what truly happens is the submission of the social body to the logics of economy. Promoting the supremacy of abstract space in opposition to social space. And instituting reified social relations that lead to an increasing socio-spatial segregation.

Throughout this process, the actual city is but a distant and abstract reference.

Space cannot be taken only as a support, receptacle or passive reflection of the social conditions. The form of the built environment is a productive force that subliminally affects us. It is also a raw material that can be shaped in order to provide modes of resistance that can fly under the radar of the existing authorities.

Space as a clandestine conductor of information. A type of information that is not meant to clarify or solve problems, but rather to interfere, resist and break the codes of representation that are imposed on us from the centres of power. By engaging us physically and intellectually, it urges processes that challenge the boundaries between the private and the “common”, gradually eroding the virtual city, built by urban marketing and global interests, and undoing the objectivity of the social relations established by it.

Bruno de Almeida | 13.07.2015

[2] Terms used in the page of the Ministry of Cities in PERGUNTAS FREQUENTES > LEI DE ACESSO À INFORMAÇÃO > GERÊNCIA DE CAPACITAÇÃO.


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