Archival city at Simón Bolívar Andean University (UASB)

Monday, March 2, 2020

From 9:30 am, first day of work at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB), Edificio Olmedo, Aula 42.

Morning, first session (9:30-11:35) :

Almost all the Ecuadorian researchers associated with Archival City were present. The University Cooperation Attaché of the French Embassy in Ecuador, Mrs. Marjorie Grosclaude, honoured us with her presence.

After the words of welcome by Guillermo Bustos, director of the University’s doctorate in Andean history, Georges Lomné thanked the participants on behalf of the French team and opened the Quitenian fieldwork for which he is in charge within the Core Team. Julio Echeverría, a teacher at the Central University of Ecuador and local coordinator of the project, then spoke about the « shared and open narrative » to be written for Quito thanks to Archival City. He insisted on the three successive models that have shaped the capital: concentric (colonial period), longitudinal (1830 – 1987) then dispersed (1987 – to the present day) and on the need for a reflection on the Metropolization in progress that could reconcile the current urban planning plans with the city’s rich and multidimensional heritage. Vincent Lemire, general coordinator of the project, then put into perspective the six fieldworks of Archival City. He recalled the specificity of each one and the importance in the case of Quito of the issue of « resilient archives ».

Presentation by Julio Echeverría
Presentation by Vincent Lemire

The different researchers of the team formed at the Andean University then presented their investigations gathered into 5 working subgroups:

Group 1: « Memories at Risk ». Santiago Cabrera Hanna (UASB), current director of the history review Procesos, defended the need to save the archives of the Catholic Worker Centre: it will be necessary to describe this collection, to digitalize part of it and to think of putting some elements in a museum. The art historian, Trinidad Pérez (UASB), then spoke about the visual materials of the collection. The director of the Master’s Degree in Archiving at the University, Matteo Manfredi (UASB), spoke about the importance of the audio-visual archives of Quito (Photographic library of Quito; National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC) archives, radio archives) and how they will allow us to measure the successive urban transformations. Rosemarie Terán Najas (UASB) then explained the need for another emergency rescue: that of the archives of the various international restoration missions sent by UNESCO to Quito following the great earthquake of 1987. These include the archives of the ECUABEL mission, which are in a state of virtual abandonment at the National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC).

Matteo Manfredi

Group 2: « The City and the Mountain ».  Patricio Aguirre (doctoral student at the UASB) wishes to bring to the project the archival dimension of volcanism and seismicity. Jeroen Derkinderen Lombeyda (doctoral student at the UASB) is pondering the relationship between the city and the Pichincha volcano between 1940 and 1980. These two doctoral students will contribute to archiving urban resilience. They will also unveil the past of the city’s most sensitive area: the long abandoned flank of the volcano that dominates it, and which is now the subject of renewed interest as part of the « Urban Corridor » which is to double the future metro line.

Patricio Aguirre and the group of doctoral students.
(From left to right: Santiago Cabrera Hanna; Trinidad Pérez; Rosemarie Terán Najas; Sof1ia Checa Ron; Patrico Aguirre; Jeroen Derkinderen Lombeyda; Gabriela Argüello; Pablo Campaña.)

Group 3: « The changing urbanity ». Rosemarie Terán Najas (UASB) wishes to describe and save the archive collection of the School of Arts and Crafts (Escuela de Artes y Oficios), which was used to train artisans within the sphere of influence of the liberal party movement. The aim is to rescue from oblivion a model of urbanity, secular and republican, which played a considerable role at the end of the 19th century. Sophia Checa Ron (doctoral student at the UASB) wants to highlight the almost forgotten health archives and map prostitution in Quito between 1920 and 2010. Pablo Campaña (doctoral student at the UASB) wishes to provide us an idea on the impact of the oil boom on Quito’s urban modeling, from 1972. This analysis will be based on the municipal archives and the archives of the College of Architects of Pichincha.

Rosemarie Terán Najas
(from left to right: Erika Bedón; Santiago Cabrera Hanna; Trinidad Pérez; Rosemarie Terán Najas)

Group 4: « Peripheral territories ». Gabriela Argüello (doctoral student at the UASB) wants to index the archives of five municipalities in the north of the city (parish territory of Calderón). This, in order to shed new light on the urbanisation of the extreme margins of the city from the beginning of the 20th century. Victor Jácome (doctoral student at the UASB) is interested in the written and oral archives of the communal system of the Indigenous people, using the example of Santa Clara de San Millán (1960-1990). How was it possible for this system to remain intact within the contemporary urban fabric?

Group 5: « The heritage invention of the Historic Centre of Quito ». Guillermo Bustos (UASB) intends to understand the semantic and spatial mutation of the centre: how did it become a monumental ensemble qualified as colonial? How did the city itself become an « archival city »?

Guillermo Bustos

Morning, second session (11.55 a.m. – 1 p.m.) :

Eduardo Kingman (FLACSO) speaks of the need to ask an old question: « Is Quito an Andean city »? Wouldn’t it be useful to draw inspiration from the analyses of José María Arguedas who had highlighted the perpetuation of agrarian communities in the urban fabric of Cuzco, Peru? In the same way, it would be necessary to reconsider the “long term” and to take into consideration the notion of « Urban Indigenous ». We should also establish how the « distribution of the sensible » (Cf. Jacques Rancière’s conceptualization) is established from one street to another, in the very centre of Quito.

Eduardo Kingman (right: María FernandaTroya)
Eduardo Kingman (from left to right: Julio Echeverría; Georges Lomné; Vincent Lemire; Yann Potin; Anne-Rose de Fontainieu; Matteo Manfredi; Eduardo Kingman)

Erika Bedón (FLACSO doctoral student) then evokes this competition of imaginations and urban cultures based on research on the popular markets of Quito. New archives are to be constituted (oral and photographic) to show how the conflict between the decreed order and the popular appropriation of urban space is played out.

Erika Bedón
Erika Bedón (left to right: Guillermo Bustos; Julio Echeverría; Georges Lomné; Vincent Lemire)

María Fernanda Troya (FLACSO) then presented the aim of a working group already set up under the leadership of Eduardo Kingman: « City, Memory and Daily Life ». The object is to archive the city in a different way. Anthropological analysis of the pictures tends to show that the Indian has long been made invisible in them. It is therefore a question of finding new visual archives but also of making an inventory of the sound archives of the Historical Centre. In the same vein, Mireya Salgado (FLACSO) explains her desire to « deconstruct » the Quitenian Heritage. In particular, the idea is to broaden the notion of archive to include sounds and noises in order to give back its visibility to the indigenous merchants of the Historical Centre.

María FernandaTroya y Mireya Salgado (from left to right, then: Erika Bedón and Lucía Moscoso Cordero)

Lucía Moscoso Cordero (Director of the Heritage Inventory at the Municipality of Quito) underlines the importance of the archive collections in Quito: 543 in total, 106 of which are located in the Historical Centre. A lively discussion followed between all the participants, highlighting the importance of the memory of the popular markets and how it should be archived. The contrast is thus sharp between a Hispanic city of stone, with a paper archive, and an indigenous city with an “intangible cultural heritage”. This interweaving of memories is inseparable from Quito, as is the city’s openness to the surrounding rural world.

Lucía Moscoso Cordero
(from left to right: Eduardo Kingman; María Fernanda Troya; Mireya Salgado; Lucía Moscoso Cordero; Carmen Fernández; Carlos Espinosa)

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