Open Cinema was a collaboration between an artist and an architect. It was originally designed by architect Colin Fournier  as a temporary structure for the town of Guimarães, the European Cultural Capital 2012. The project was an homage to the politically radical cinema culture championed by the local CineClube as well as to the town’s manufacturing past. It was free to the public, encouraging social participation, generosity and openness. Its new edition specially adapted as an Associated Project of the Close Closer 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale has been located in the Praça Europa, Cais do Sodré, a new public square on the bank of the river Tejo.

The 18 minute long film programme for Lisbon emerges out of my research responding to the main themes of the Triennale as well as the history and architectural heritage of the city. It draws upon archive material dating back to the early 1900s, sourced from the public domain films of the Cinemateca Portugesa. Concentrating on the role of a public square as a site of celebration, conviviality and dissent, the narrative of this newly edited footage is organised in 4 distinct sections punctuated by images of a beating drum. As we travel through the city of Lisbon we encounter the ghost figures participating in the civic events taking place between 1900 and 1931. They return our gaze, demonstrating a clear awarness of the camera apparatus. Lines of connection and dialogue are being established through the act of looking in which we as spectators are implicated both imaginatively and actually. A specially commissioned soundtrack by Open Music Archive provides a richly textured musical score based on out-of-copyright material originating from the same era. Read review HERE


Open Cinema offers a new approach to film viewing engaging its audience in a playful experience and reflection made possible by a radical design proposed by the architecture. Learn more about research and design here.

The existence of the Cineclub established in 1958 in Guimaraes, Portugal created a unique opportunity to explore relationships between cinema, politics and social space. The club’s activities originate from the pre-internet era when film held a different meaning. Frequent screenings provided its members with a space of longing as well as discussion. Creation of the club as a place for both dissemination of global cinema and open participation, made the screenings into a social event driven as much by the love of film, as by resistance to the political regime. The record of those engagements can be traced through the choice of films, which passed through the club’s 54-year history.

The Open Cinema project re-animates that history by creating a temporary cinema building erected in a public square of Largo Condessa do Juncal. The cinema promotes openness and generosity emphasising free access for all of the citizens and visitors. A one-hour programme consisting of 23 film trailers shown daily is a result of a collaboration with the workers of the local textile and shoe (Lamerinho and Camport) factories. They have made the selection of their favorite titles by watching the film trailers during lunch breaks. They are the co-authors of what for two months will become a celebration of enthusiasm for film and a need to share that enthusiasm with others.

Exploring the new forms of engagement with the public, the Open Cinema project is testing the boundaries of the global and the local, material and immaterial. The cinematic experience and the cinema building reflect upon those existing and imagined economies of desire.