“Radical imagination: tools of politic transformation through design”


It is a collection of MAPS, architectural and landscape PROJECTS, and WRITINGS going deep in the role of imagination in order to renovate continuously our pre-conceptions and behaviours about society and environment, looking for an evolution in which each of us is able to understand the ecosystem, to respect it and to develop a more tuned society in relation with it. Relationships in between us and our environments and the politics of space involved within, are in continuous (r)evolution in order to be re-invented following the adjustments required by our dynamic reality and people desires… taking into account tactics, processes along time, collective learning and the enlargement of the panorama of what is possible in between others.

We understand imagination here, not as kind of fantasy in order to escape or to create a parallel reality better than this one, but as a cognitive tool and as the more powerful capability in order to think that our world can be different and we can act to achieve it. An environment in which individual capabilities and lines of development can find support in the collective project and vice versa.

The first stage of this research through design, drawing and writing, is to understand better IMAGINATION.

It is for this reason that we develop the following maps about “5 THEORIES OF IMAGINATION”. We select five authors and we follow their inquiries about imagination in chronological order, from the more poetic theories to the more contemporary ones based in neuroscience. The transversal cut of the selected authors (each of them studied through a different map) is the following:

Poetic imagination- Gaston Bachelard (40’s)

Inventive imagination- Gilbert Simondon (60’s)

Imagination and perceptive cycle- Ulrich Neisser (70’s)

Embodied imagination- Mark Johnson (80’s)

Motor imagery, neuroimaging- Shaun Gallagher (2005)

The first stage then is to apprehend some imaginative tools in order to use them through actions, conceptions, projects, relationships…

At the roots of this approach what is present is a deep critic of the pragmatic way of thinking about what is life for, understanding that production and economical growing is the only aspect to be considered above everything else. We claim here for a kind of “imaginary pragmatism” in which this sentence by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (1991) could be real:

“One aim of a radical democracy project should be to preserve one’s own power for “radical imagination”, which means the capability for utopia, for thinking the Other.” 

We follow the ideas of utopia as method developed by Ruth Levitas (2013); the everyday continuous revolutions using imagination as transformative tool (instead of crisis) supported by Roberto Mangabeira Ungers (2009); and the ideas about radical imagination developed by Cornelius Castoriadis (1975).

Within the agenda of this work are included the projects and experiences of the POP-UP SOMATIC ARCHITECTURE, also interconnected with the learning laboratory of Somatics for Architecture and Landscape, that we develop since 2016, and the collection of workshops starting in the summer of 2018… this is only the beginning… we hope you join us!


*Additional note: If you like these approaches maybe you would enjoy also reading the definitions made by worldwide multidisciplinary people about “imaginary pragmatics” here.


Author: Mª Auxiliadora Gálvez

The drawings of bodies have as reference and model the ones presented in "Anatomy of Movement" by Blandine Calais-Germain

Madrid, 2018