Fabra i Coats Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona 2016
Living in-between is proposed as a plan designed to activate the Fabra i Coats Contemporary Art Centre as a creator and catalyst for interaction between artistic practices and social spaces. It aims to offer the means to collate and respond to emerging new approaches to how cultural institutions should be reconceived and reinvented, viewing artistic practices and collective processes as essential tools to activate strategies of change that influence both the cultural ecosystem and the social context. This proposal is based on collectively occupying a space while reflecting the shift from its past as a factory to its current role as an art centre that is also on the way to becoming a cultural institution with a more complex or systemic structure. The programme is aimed at critical questioning using approaches that combine investigation with production, archiving, mediation, participation and debate, as well as expanding on this by activating networks and socialising contents and experiences.
It also aims to try out different ways of occupying cultural facilities with structures that are more highly committed to the culture-society relationship, consequently experimenting and openly debating the structure of current models for art centres and the cultural policies that provide their framework.
The rolling out of the programme proposed explores a concept of Fabra i Coats Contemporary Art Centre which is directed towards collectively prototyping a work model that redefines the parameters determining the concept of public service in relation to an art centre.
The notion of mediation
The Living in-between project sees mediation as a critical, transformative process for cultural institutions, relations and ecosystems. In this respect, the proposal aims to set up different types of production, circulation and representation that combine artistic practice, mediation and education as an active part of the social system but with its own mode of cultural production and of collective research that generates knowledge. Diversity in mediation practices should be understood as the different ways in which citizens can become involved in and experience culture, as well as from a critical perspective that highlights the problems but at the same time explores the boundaries and potential.
Community management as a form of mediation
The Living in-between project is managed jointly by a working group made up of four collectives: Idensitat, LaFundició, Sinapsis and Transductores whose activities are organised via a single programming board. The role of the board is to manage and create content and take decisions. It is flexible and can adapt according to the needs of the processes and projects in question and also includes people, groups and organisations involved in these processes. The programme’s management is the responsibility of a technical coordination team linked to LaFundició and Idensitat.
A project that interconnects contexts
This proposal aims to set in motion alternative forms of co-production connected on different contextual scales: territorial (tracing neighbourhood and local links with international), relational (involving different spheres of the social fabric), temporal (incorporating elements of memory to activate these in the present and project them towards the future) and spatial (investigating in depth the very concept and place of a creation factory).
Ways of working that become goals - Strengthening networking and a collaborative framework based on shared governance, favouring dialogue taking as its starting point the processes and contexts of the new institutionality, local and international alike, that might trigger questions for debate and build up a new model.
- Generating elements for connection and mediation in different realms of social space and cultural ecosystems. Processes are proposed that combine artistic practice with citizen involvement and collaborative strategies as elements for constant mediation between territories, artistic practices and certain diversified sections of the social fabric.
- Experimenting with art’s capacity to construct its own elements of exploration on a conceptual and formal level, while also combining these with its potential to cross between disciplines and enable hybridisation.
- Investigating and testing exhibition and socialisation formats in order to roll out and expand the potential of their component elements. Design, formalisation and space management are distributed thematically while also presenting the complexity of artistic practice and ways of using and occupying the centre. The strategies proposed for the space are also a means of citizen mediation and education for the city.
- Recording, filing, ordering and communicating procedures and practices, potentially using such material as the basis for prototyping centre models and improving the transparency and visibility of the work process, making it possible to replicate models.
During its first phase, Living in-between is based on four different programmes or areas that are articulated and interconnected with each other to highlight the combination of artistic practices, mediation processes and citizen involvement. Interweaving, Transcendent Culture, In Transition and Antenna are the four programme areas developed over the art centre’s three floors. Here exhibition devices exist side by side with work activities and processes, with the aim of combining and mixing disciplines and promoting cross-pollination.
The programmes propose a set of actions on three levels:
- Exhibition of local and international case studies, organised according to their location and type.
- Activation and socialisation of the content exhibited through talks, workshops, seminars and other formats.
- Promotion and production of creative processes and projects materialised through hybrid and collective processes. These three levels relate to each other, generating a set of interconnections and mutual input between spaces, programmes and actions.
Summary and access to the programmes:
The programme promotes long-term processes, deployed in the territory closest to Fabra i Coats and based on the co-management of the space and collective creation among the artists, cultural producers and networks active within the social fabric of the Sant Andreu district. As a result, connections are established with initiatives and processes that are rolled out across the city itself and beyond.
The Interweaving programme is presented on the ground floor. This space houses the entrance to the centre and also acts as a link with the public space. The idea is for it to function as the anteroom to the remaining spaces but also as a threshold connecting with outside elements in the city, based on a combination of aspects typical of public squares with the welcoming warmth of a shared place. It is organised as a laboratory generating mechanisms for intermediation between the inside and outside. It aims to be an open, welcoming area for interaction, generating workshops, activities and different ways of occupying the space and informally using the centre.
Artist Lola Lasurt and the Lemur architecture collective form part of this programme, aiming to become involved in collective creation processes with local people and groups. The work will be carried out at the art centre itself and also in other settings dotted around the vicinity. The exhibition space has been designed as a mutable place with the aim of socialising and increasing the visibility of the different work processes, open to any groups interested in it. These processes will also be documented in collaboration with the people involved in the projects.
Artist Lola Lasurt will set in motion a process of contact with and building knowledge of the territory closest to the Fabra i Coats art centre. As part of this process she will try to seek synergies and interests shared with local collectives based on the concept of transition , with the aim of setting up a joint research and creation project that will be presented over the course of the year via Space 0 where the Interweaving programme is on show.
As a starting point and reference for highlighting the problems of certain aspects of collaborative work, the project Gegant Menhir is being presented. This was produced in 2011 by the Aparador at the Museu Abelló as part of the series De com convertir un museu en arena (On How to Convert a Museum into an Arena) curated by Oriol Fontdevila.
Lemur and the Escola Can Fabra — a school on the same site as Fabra i Coats — work from an architectural, symbolic and affective viewpoint on this educational community’s move from its current temporary facility to its new building, which will be under construction until the 2016/2017 academic year.
On the exhibition:
Exhibition of Audiovisual Productions of Sant Andreu. 2006-2016.
The Transcendent culture programme is based on the belief that a set of cultural initiatives and practices exist that have transcended the classic frameworks for the production and reception of culture by proposing institutional practices developed through cooperation, networking and hybridisation. These practices have been designed to include critical mediation, with such mediation being seen as a form of investigating, exploring and generating knowledge, culture and citizenship experimentally. These are citizen-based practices inherited from the popular and libertarian athenaeums, from popular education and neighbourhood movements, as well as cooperative approaches which transcend the culture paradigm and the figure of a single creator, forming hybrids between other fields and sectors of knowledge.
Institutions that transcend culture have explored other ways to manage culture where work is carried out in collaboration with active communities based on involvement and joint design with the territories. These new culture institutions thus become places for citizen innovation, generating settings for learning and relations between groups of creators, activists, schools, architects, citizen movements and social entities. But also where fields of knowledge crossover between popular culture, intercultural issues, social innovation, community development, sustainable urban development and artistic practices. These practices show how culture sets itself up and reinvents itself as a right and also as a place allowing different types of collective relations and policies to be imagined and tried out in the long term. In short, they show us other ways not only of using but above all of occupying institutions, of constructing them through inclusive and plural spaces that use culture to emphasise the possibilities of being together and as a collective.
The Transcendent Culture programme is structured around three socialising and mediation tools:
1. An exhibition, which explores the four particular cases of institutions carrying out projects with citizen involvement in territories over the long term. In these cases mediation is carried out via institutional policy, through interdisciplinary teams and direct participation designed in collaboration with the territories, based on their knowledge, their own pace and their synergies.
2. An interdisciplinary research group that will hold workshops, meetings and sessions to establish a possible genealogy of cultural transcendence based on three interrelated layers or narratives: cooperative work, popular education and community arts and also the practices of independent and context-based art.
3. A series of actions to promote activation and interrelations with the exhibition space and other practices shown at the art centre related to the processes situated within their contexts.
The troubled and contradictory nature of public space demands that many interested parties are involved in its reformulation, re-appropriation, reconstruction and recreation. Achieving such goals requires personal implication and collective involvement to more or less formally transform the city as a space for what is possible to its full potential.
Converging in the (public) space in transition are conflicts and power relations, social imbalances and contradictions, an encounter between the other and isolation, leisure and speculation, beauty and desolation, opportunity and crisis. This is the space of difference, of relationships and of emerging developments that makes the city a place in constant flux, a place of creative construction and destruction.
In Transition has been developed as a programme in its first phase, focusing on city space. It therefore includes a series of projects in Barcelona plus a guest foreign project from the city of Tijuana. These projects influence the power to transform and have repercussions on the production of the city’s space, relations and imaginaries. The programme socialises and activates in two ways: as an exhibition of projects and as a connector with the city’s spaces by disseminating activities and actions.
The first form, namely the exhibition, presents a number of current cases which use a range of strategies and methodologies, sometimes in contraposition and sometimes complementary to each other. Espai Germanetes, El Solar de La Puri and Desdelamina offer three models or areas of work that share the common aim of generating social space, incorporating or activating creative strategies in their processes. The collective Supterranis, with the Festival Plaga, Espai Colona and Fireplace, are all cases where art and culture work on the margins of institutional centrality in order to seek modi operandi that link cultural production and its connection with the city context. Curro Claret, with the Fundació Arrels, and Torolab, with the Granja Transfronteriza, complement this idea of two projects merging the social and creative aims of culture and art with a social and socialising space.
The second form, namely the programme as a common connector between these projects, helps to activate specific actions related to the processes they themselves are deploying in different areas of the city. Like the majority of the programmes that form part of Living in-between, In Transition selects and displays specific cases and works with them, promoting actions, presentations, workshops and processes that are carried out at the contemporary art centre or at some other venue in the city where the projects have a greater presence and continuity.
In Transition aims to strike up a dialogue between these scenarios that contribute to the city’s transformation from diverse viewpoints and positions. In some cases they meet and collaborate while in others they contradict and reject each other; in any event, they are examples of the contemporary transition taking place in modes of production and active participation of citizens in the configuration of public space and the contemporary construction of the city.
The series of actions and tools for mediation provided are designed to generate zones of contact and channels for building relations with user groups that can interrelate with Living in-between through different ways of using, occupying and experiencing the centre. This diversity becomes, in turn, the starting point to construct and raise awareness of different viewpoints regarding the art centre and helps to accommodate various narratives and voices in the collective development of the Living in-between project.
This programme is present throughout all the spaces, interrelating with the surrounding context and with other settings in the city, acting like an antenna that receives and emits signals. It picks up on and activates involvement and participation in the Living in-between project.
The Antenna space includes four layers of work:
- Items with information on the centre’s activities, its structure and working and management model. The materials generated by the centre’s operations will feed a live, procedural archive of practices, initiatives, materials and documents, creating an organic and active example of the art centre model being set up.
- A workshop area that will offer tools for designing and constructing. The workshop will be accessible for the groups using/occupying the factory (audiences, specific communities, groups in residence, etc.).
- An audiovisual lab led by Neokinok: Entre TV . The documentation lab aims to democratise the art centre’s audiovisual recordings, promoting the collective construction of narratives and representations.
- A series of activities and actions designed to help the public at large interact with the Living in-between project and to enhance the art centre’s experiences and narratives.
Floor 3. Guest Room
27.05-22.06.2016 Miquel Casablancas Prize Contemporary Sant Andreu
This is a proposal to allocate space on Floor 3 to connect the Living in-between project with other art and culture projects. Granting space to guest projects provides an opportunity to work together and hold joint dialogue to create networks and other forms of occupying the centre within diverse contexts, based on their temporary residence on this floor.
Participants: Alán Carrasco, Ely Daou, Enric Farrés Duran, Ariadna Guiteras, Laura Llaneli, Amaia Molinet, Daniel Moreno Roldán, Francesc Ruiz Abad, Mario Santamaría, Ian Waelder, Pablo Esbert + Federico Vladimir Strate, Fluorescer, María García, Avalancha, Avecilla, Raúl Hidalgo, 131.gd (Esteve Padilla + Pau Llop), Estel Boada and Octubre (Jordi Oms + Montse Lapuyade).
Exhibition of the finalists for the Miquel Casablancas Prize in its 2016 edition and the awarding of prizes to the winning projects and proposals in each modality.
The collectives behind Living in-between:
Idensitat is an art project that experiments with ways of influencing the territory in its spatial, temporal and social dimensions. It has been set up as a system that incorporates other projects, actions and interventions developed in different spaces and contexts. Since 1999 it has promoted activities that combine investigation, production, education and curatorship.
LaFundició is a cooperative that, since 2006, has been developing work processes involving the interweaving of social practice, culture and the collective construction of knowledge.
Sinapsis is a collective for research and production based on collaborative and contextual artistic and cultural practices that, since 2007, has emphasised networking via cultural mediation/negotiation and critical pedagogy.
Transductores is a platform for mediation, investigation and curatorship set up in 2009. It has designed curatorship and mediation processes at a country-wide and international level.