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Joana Rafael (b.1979) is an architect, researcher and lecturer currently based in Porto, Portugal, working between architecture, (issues of) ecology and visual culture. She holds a PhD (2017) in Visual Cultures and an MRes (2009) in Research Architecture from Goldsmiths, University of London, an MA (2008) from the Metropolis Graduate Programme in Architecture and Urban Culture, run by the Centre for Contemporary Culture, Barcelona and a degree (2002) in Architecture from the University of Minho, Guimarães. Joana is a member of ID+ (Research Institute for Design, Media and Culture), NIAM (Nucleus of Research in Arts and Multimedia) and CEGOT (Center for Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning). Joana also possesses a Certificate of Sustainable Agriculture and Biological Farming Practice, from Espaço Virtual, Porto, Portugal.

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Domestic Dusts

Commissioned for Valise en Carton, a project by Parábola Critica, Associação Cultural


Household dust contains the archeological remains and trace materials of our bodily existence and of the city we live in. The clothes we wear, what we eat, of our pets and plants, remnants of the present and of the past, of lovers, the houses we inhabit as well as the erosion of our communities' mass-produced and mass-consumed material realities and the environments that hosts our houses. It hangs in the air, migrates in shape-shifting (aggregative and disintegrating) forms, gravitates towards and settles on (bordering) surfaces, amalgamates with moisture to become dirt. 
In its eternal return, dust chronicles our individual activities and collective lives, turning surfaces into domestic battlefields, screens for inscription and projection of fantasies. Channeling Pollock, Dreaming of shrimp and Cherry blossoms to document and play with these interpretations – disclosing dust as a kind of phenomenal community, a place where parts of all us, living beings and inanimate entities incessantly gather. They compose Domestic Dusts to explore multi-dimensional alien realm in which we can find dreamlike formations through an animistic lens, as well as the realism of our fears in astonishing detail - related to the remains, fragments and particles – the ensemble of tiny units.


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