Puro – On the Edge of Future (Symposium)
UTSA architecture group, panelists, explore the meaning of Puro in symposium at Brick in Blue Star on Feb. 21
WHAT: Dr. Antonio Petrov, assistant professor in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, invites San Antonio to engage in dialogue to gather a broad understanding of Puro. We hope to shed some light onto its meaning and how it materializes through the lenses of art, music, graffiti, performance, food, religion, cultural history, film, social media, TV, marketing, philosophy, and literature. The symposium, which includes UTSA students, will be led by community members who embody the term.
The statement San Antonio is “Puro” is possibly a provocation. A city the size of San Antonio with all its cultural layers is so much more than one term could describe, but yet, Puro exemplifies something that belongs to all of us; an expression; attitude; a cultural sensibility; betterment; collective accomplishments; something precious the city is dearly holding on to. For some, it is reflected in rituals, art, tastes, values, aesthetics, and a certain sense of authenticity. For others, it is an underlying vibe or lifestyle that exemplifies the social fabric of San Antonio. Of all things, however, it is an active expression of a city that filters through all parts of public life. Architecture, as such, and the way its physical manifestations are contributing to how people use, create, and live in space, one could argue, has not embraced what characterizes Puro. The aesthetics of Puro are mentioned in relation to artistic movements such as expressionism, minimalism, and surrealism. In architectural discourses, however, Puro’s underlying aesthetic could be seen as kitsch, hypernormal, or ordinary; architects fear to design something that could be considered ordinary, kitsch, or not special. Though Puro defies categorization and is ubiquitous to San Antonio, this one-day symposium aims to recover what makes and shapes it and how this might translate into architecture. Through the lens of art, music, graffiti, performance, religion, cultural history, film, social media, TV, philosophy, and literature we hope to explore values, attitudes, and cultural sensibilities and how they inform the relationship between the social and the physical shaping of our city.
As San Antonio is “on the edge of future” and contemporary urban design is not only a matter of iconic architecture and ambitious masterplans, we argue, Puro is about social and cultural sustainability through which formal and informal practices not only shape the environment but also address urban problems and inequalities. Perhaps Puro is the recognition of a “new urban frame of mind” our city needs moving forward with designers that embody emancipatory processes of how we think together, experiment, collaborate, and cooperate in open and active processes of shaping and defining urban space as we are straddling the edge of future. We hope to initiate dialogue and discuss possible ways to integrate the social and cultural fabric into new ways to co-design, co-produce, co-own, and co-manage the spaces we live in. This, of course, raises the question of the role of the architect and planner in the process of developing these alternative models of urban habitation. As a result we hope this symposium can identify alternative models, ideas, and actionable objectives that build on local know-how, craftsmanship, cultural sensibilities, attitudes, and interests and thus have more direct relationships and a more Puro way of critically mediating between ethical positions and aesthetic formulations.
— Dr. Antonio Petrov