Exhibition \ HÁBITAT


Curated by Yainet Rodríguez

Fucina des Artistas Gallery, Havana, Cuba [2016]

For centuries cities have been associated with civilizations and have been at the heart of great economic, political, social, and artistic events. The process of industrialization and physical growth of urban areas in the global era has slowly shifted the perception of the city as an agora, that is, a place of gathering, coexistence, thinking, and decision-making, to the city as a holistic, social, and productive cultural fact.

Today, the bulk of the world’s population resides in urban areas, which means that human life is conditioned by governance and management models associated with services, the raising of capital, and culture. In Cuba, for example, this figure rises to 77%. Thus, it is possible to conceive of cities as a product of the intervention of their social actors in material and political processes. The variability of ways in which the relationship of these actors with space and time emerges reveals the particular urban dynamics of each context.

The city, which today is the very expression of our societies, is the focus of this exhibition. Unlike other curatorial projects that have focused on the city, Habitat’s core focus is not the lack of real estate, the deterioration of infrastructure, public space, and the built environment, among other issues. Its purpose is to reflect on the association between the spatial and the social, starting from the impact of non-state forms of production and the legal regulations and social practices that reformulate the use of urban space.

Habitat takes the pulse of phenomena that have gained momentum with the legalization of home buying and selling operations (2011) and self-employment (2013), whose strategic guidelines respond to a slow process of updating gathered in the Guidelines of the economic and social policy of the Party and the Revolution (2011). At the same time, it focuses on daily practices tinged by a spiritual, affective, and experiential component that takes place inside our homes. It is worth highlighting, in this sense, the social construction of the domestic space and the growing expansion of customs that evidence the ruralization of the city.

It is articulated around two fundamental concepts: habitat, which gives it its title, and urban sociology. The first is used in urban planning to address the relationship between people and the physical and social macro-environment in which they are inserted and develop their activities. Derived from the ecological notion of habitat, the term is also used to refer to the characteristics of the environment and conditioning of the interior space of a residential or work building.

Urban sociology, which cuts across other fields of sociology (family, work, education, etc.), focuses on the social processes inscribed in a given space. It aims to study the elements that specifically structure the relationships between actors, institutions, and social groups that constitute the city as an environment. It focuses on the processes that make the interweaving of the social with the spatial condition and axis of its analysis.

The built city and its social fabric constitute today one of the focuses of attention for those artists whose work leans towards the relational and sociological. Likewise, urban planners, architects, and all kinds of professional

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