Cartha Magazine

CARTHA exhibition, Mãe d’Água, Lisbon, November 2016, Lisbon Triennale ‘The Form of Form’ 2016, photographer: Francisco Nogueira

CARTHA is a curated platform that focuses on sharing different forms of critical thinking regarding architecture and society. It was initiated in December 2014 as a non-profit, periodic, online magazine with a yearly focus on a selected topic. However, the editorial project also encompasses a series of events, printed posters and annual books. An international group of young professionals in the fields of architecture and design make up its masthead, and a constellation of contributors grows with each issue. Representing CARTHA’s editorial board at present is Elena Chiavi, Pablo Garrido i Arnaiz, Francisco Moura Veiga, Francisco Ramos Ordóñez, and Rubén Valdez.
In mapping out the architectural landscape of today and contributing to a collective and accessible dialogue, the platform has worked towards bridging the gap between academia and professional practice. In its own words, CARTHA is “a geography under construction, shaped by diverse mediums and representations. It is a map where opinions relate, diverge, and collapse, where borders are constantly questioned but never cease to exist.”
From 10 – 28 May CARTHA will participate in the exhibition A Print – an Open Archive of Architecture Publications at Studio Nock in Gothenburg.
On 12 May they will publish a book on last years German Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia “Making Heimat” at the bookstore Never Stop Reading in Zurich. Currently they are also calling for papers for the first issue of the Cartha on The Limits of Fiction in Architecture cycle.

CARTHA exhibition, Mãe d’Água, Lisbon, November 2016, Lisbon Triennale ‘The Form of Form’ 2016, photographer: Francisco Nogueira

In our interview, CARTHA discusses the importance of public access to art, as well as varying forms of support for an artistic platform.

SAA: What fosters art?

CM: Although we don’t think there is a general answer to this question, we believe that curiosity is probably the common starting point of every reflection and research in the field of arts and architecture. Having said that, we strongly believe that curiosity gets potentialised by the establishing of relations between contexts, individuals, concepts and objects.

SAA: Who is supporting you?

CM: We are mostly supported by our contributors: without them, CARTHA magazine could not exist under any form. Within a closer circle, a network of like-minded people from different backgrounds and institutions have offered us conceptual, structural and emotional support in a most altruistic manner. Nevertheless, our context also plays an important role in our support, in the sense that what prompts us to keep producing are the intentions we develop in relation to what and to whom surrounds us. Concepts, events, places or people who make an impression on us push us to look for relations between them, to build up a discourse based on what we take from them.

CARTHA exhibition, Mãe d’Água, Lisbon, November 2016, Lisbon Triennale ‘The Form of Form’ 2016, photographer: Francisco Nogueira

SAA: Does financial support expand creativity?

CM: We would not say that there is a direct relation between financial
support and the expansion of creativity, but in our case it definitely is so. The financial support we source and receive allows us to produce elements that, so far, have always led to situations where we were confronted with the possibility of producing new elements in new contexts. In the sense that this support allows us to follow an unknown path, putting us into contact with new possibilities, which in turn prompt a new creative process, financial support definitely expands creativity. Without financial support, the project as it is would simply crumble.

SAA: Must art be sellable?

CM: We don’t disagree with the selling of art. As any other human activity of production, or profession, it should be remunerated – although the commodification of art definitely affects the approach towards the artistic practice.
In our case, we believe that what we do as CARTHA should be available to everyone without any costs. It is produced by contributors who do it mostly because of the interest in the topics we launch, without any economic compensation. At the same time, we do consider that our project should be economically sustainable, therefore we do sell some of the content we produce in the form of books in order to be able to continue the project.
Should art belong to the private or public?
It might be relevant to make a distinction between ‘belonging’ and ‘accessibility’. We think it is important for art to be accessible to the general public, but we do not necessarily see a need for art to belong to the public, understanding belonging as the legal act of possession. Another point worth raising is the nature of copyrights. In our editorial approach we insist not only on the free access to what we produce, but also on the right of appropriation and manipulation of the generated content. It is here, in the renouncing of these rights over to the public realm, that we identify a great potential for an exponential growth in discussion and production, whilst keeping the intellectual rights of the author intact.