Critical Spatial Practice

P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Catalina Pollak Williamson / Public Interventions | Santiago, Chile

  • P | A | N P | A | N, 1 P | A | N, 2 P | A | N, 3 P | A | N, 4 P | A | N, 5
  • Proyecto Amasandería Nacional is a mobile bakery that travels the streets of barrio Yungay (Santiago, Chile) inviting the newly arrived communities of immigrants to participate in a collective action: to bake bread in public space. Part urban performance and part ethnographic machine, P | A | N  uses the process of breadmaking – in its universal simplicity and cultural density – as a vehicle for social integration within a neighbourhood challenged by the flows and clashes of new cultures.

    A typical baker’s tricycle modified to transport a traditional clay oven along other documentation devices, travelled a total of 20 kms during the 10-day intervention, baking more than 75 kilos of bread and collecting a total of 287 recipes from participants. The documented recipes give account of the variety of stories, nationalities and cultural diversity that exist today in Yungay.


    Catalina Pollak Williamson is artist, architect and urban activist working and researching cross-disciplinary processes that use participation, play and urban performance as methodologies to drive urban and social change. She is particularly interested in the potential of play as a relational process that can contribute to the development of capabilities and civic agency in the production of more empowered and engaged citizens. This is the subject of her current doctoral research project at the Development Planning Unit in The Bartlett, UCL.

    Since 2012, she has run Public Interventions, a collaborative platform for the production of socially-engaged participatory projects through socio-spatial interventions in contested urban contexts. The work questions new forms of space production and the development of temporary practices of ‘commoning’ to connect and engage communities with their built environment. 

    She currently holds a teaching position at the University of East London.


    My work explores the idea that certain forms of play can also be critical.  Drawing from the concept of critical spatial practice I have coined the term critical play, which I understand as a relational situated process that is both highly engaging while allowing the distance for self-reflexive criticality. I see in the practice of critical play a useful methodology for dealing with contexts of social and urban conflict, or as a tool for enhancing our perception and relation with the built environment. 

    Critical play, Participation, Migration, Social integration, Bread-making, Public space


    PUBLIC WORKS, Mobile Porch (2000), London. On roaming and the temporary occupation of public space. 

    Raumlabor, Generator (several years and cities). On the collective production in public space.

    Future Farmers, Flatbread Society, (2013-ongoing), Oslo. On bread. A very inspirational recent discovery.


    Other projects:
  • The Wandsworth Food Bus, (2020)
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Hungry Mothers, En La Frontera (2019 – present)
  • Exchanging Values at Bank (18 October 2019)
  • Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • An environmental history of La Guajira (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July – 12 August 2018)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space (2018/2019)
  • Bank Job, (2018–2020 and beyond)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017 – June 2018)
  • The House Alice Built (2017/2019)
  • Productive Withdrawals: Art Strikes, Art Worlds, and Art as a Practice of Freedom (December 2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Caring for Communities (2017 – 2019)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016 – 18)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016 – 17)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015 – 19)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Act#5 & Act#6: What does Mai Mai Mean? (March 2014 – December 2016)
  • 03-FLATS (2014)
  • (small memorials), 2013–15
  • Gardening for Untold Ecologies: A Manual for Making an Arid GARDEN Out There, (2013)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February – June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Hustadt project, 2008 – (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010 – 2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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