Conditions of Farness

These are remote works which the circumstance of being knowingly far-off, beyond distance, has turned into primary architectures. These are structures that seem to stand in precarious balance, set in place momentarily to inaugurate a timid, illusory ephemeral conquest. This process of learning on the periphery of things suggests mechanisms, apparently elementary contrivances, devised to operate cleanly and freely. We know that no two places are faraway as much for the real distance separating them, as for the circumstances (geographical, climatic, cultural, social, etc.) that distinguish them. Now we have discovered another farness: the measure of man in nature.

Every place is far from every other place in Chile and very far from the rest of the places in the world. In this land's length and the limits of its territory (the Andes, the ocean, the deserts of sand and of ice), one observes that this distance entails implicitly other distances - those that arise on a map of contrasting thermal, geographic and social gradients, one that is eminently rural and poor, and often of difficult accessibility and of disperse technological knowledge. Within this context, we find works that are generated from the circumstances that surround them and from the observation of nearby events, works that are especially eloquent in the vastness of the Chilean territory immersed in local accidents and myths which are present in memory to one degree or another. The knowledge of what is available - materials, technologies and other incidental factors - is the fruit of meticulous observation, forming the starting point of many of these works. In some cases we may speak of an "inventory architecture" or an "ironmongery architecture" that is modulable according to the available materials, that avoids waste and that presents simple construction solutions, often conceived by the builders themselves, in which the use of materials answers any questions as to their suitability and application. The result is architectures of great freedom of design and a rich poetic content.

In this corner of the Earth, the immense agitated nature places man in a state of constant precariousness. To build on Chilean territory is to build, at times, for the first time ever. In contrast to the neatly sliced and parcelled world with which we are familiar, where the tracks of history lie one upon another and where designing with nature often seems to be reduced to a matter of exterior design, there the vast uninhabited extensions remind us that to install oneself means, firstly, to found, and only afterwards to build and to persist in existing.
Faced with this boundless living geography, the inhabitant seeks a shelter according to his measure, a place from which he may continue to observe the freely unfolding course of things. Faced with the absurdity of dominating or domesticating this geography, an initial, ephemeral precarious covenant arises, in which nature takes on new meanings and the inhabitant establishes his presence, beginning a remote primary experience. This condition of farness is the impulse of an architecture that seeks intimacy and nearness.

The conditions of farness form the remote part of these works.

PILAR CALDERON I MARC FOLCH are architects and curators. "Espai Contemporani a Xile",