ART ⇆ TERRITORY
ARTISTIC RESEARCH RESIDENCES / 2020 - 2021
A⇆T is a project establishing a network of residencies for the promotion of artistic research and production in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Occitania, promoted by a collaboration between Idensitat, Casa Planas (Palma), La Escocesa (Barcelona) and Le BBB Centre d’art (Toulouse). It is supported by the Euroregion Pyrénées Méditerranée - AAP Culture / Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion.
A ⇆ T begins with a joint open call for three residential artistic research projects, in three specific contexts that share a common conceptual framework around the concept of 'the transperipheral'.
We find ourselves in a globalised context with a widening trend distinguished by a fear of the other and of the unknown, where the politics of withdrawal, of an appeal to nationalism and a redefinition of borders are becoming fashionable as antidotes, causing isolation, a lack of communication, lockdown, self-imposed or otherwise, or disunity. All reactions and consequences again affect the tension between the centre (as a predictable space of control) and the periphery (as a space of uncertainty and turmoil). The concept "transperipheral", allows us to develop the idea of traversing, testing, deactivating or boosting the concept of centre and periphery, to project it beyond what is to be found inside and outside the fields of control.
The production spaces participating in this project (A ⇆ T network) are aware of their location and at the same time of their peripheral stance, both in relation to the urban context and to the artistic practices which they promote. A temporary residency is a period of relocation in a particular unknown space, but which at the same time offers the opportunity to connect with it, and to communicate with it.
With this joint call, based on three temporary residences, A ⇆ T Network offers the possibility of carrying out artistic projects that tackle the idea of testing boundaries, using the very arts centre which plays host to the residence as a space from which to advance this critical reflection. Ideas are encouraged which re-evaluate and transgress the classic two-dimensionality between centre and periphery, contributing to a conceptual spin, with the involvement of the A ⇆ T network nodes.
With these residencies, the A ⇆ T Network aims to create a framework in which to (re)think temporal and spatial displacement, and at the same time to advance proposals that draw attention to the possibility of transgressing the very space and time which lends meaning to the residencies.
Taking into account that each node in the A ⇆ T network has its own specific character and certain contextual relationships with its own periphery, this call is open to those artists and researchers interested in situating their practice within the framework of the concept of " the transperipheral" which, as has already been mentioned above, becomes a process open to exploring new ways of occupying centres of art production, and of making a connection with some of its contextual elements.
The residences will be in Casa Planas (Palma de Mallorca), La Escocesa (Barcelona) and Le BBB Centre d’Art (Toulouse). Idensitat assumes the overall coordination and monitoring of the project.
The following is a brief overview of each of these institutions.
Casa Planas, in the district of Es Fortí (Palma de Mallorca), promotes culture through a platform of experimentation, research and creativity committed to saving the former Casa Planas as photographic materials factory. It is a factory of enthusiastic interdisciplinary creation, a meeting place for workshops on techniques in the photographic darkroom, in screen printing and in new media, as well as workshops in contemporary art and critical thinking. It also offers a concert hall, dance and performing arts laboratories, a radio station, rehearsal and recording rooms, as well as artists’ studios and shared creation spaces, among other non-classifiable activities.
The Centre d’Investigació Artística i de Cultura Contemporània Casa Planas (Casa Planas Artistic and Contemporary Culture Research Centre) is the benchmark creation centre on the island which focuses on image and post-photography, so that its main line of work revolves around the image. Its activities are linked to the recovery of the Planas Archive, materials which allow for in-depth research into topics such as tourism, landscape, memory, the postcard, and projects on the climate emergency and gender perspectives. We are interested in projects that explore hybrid, performance and post-photographic techniques.
La Escocesa, in the district of Poblenou (Barcelona), is a space recovered by a group of artists who in the 1990's decided to reinterpret the building’s industrial use. Today it is an open factory for art produced through analogic media which covers the needs of artists in different stages of their career, offering work spaces and resources for project development. La Escocesa aims to become a centre of artistic experimentation which is attractive to the city’s artistic and cultural community, providing components of training to both the residents of the centre and to the artistic and cultural community of the city as a whole, working within the area of the Poblenou district, and with the city of Barcelona in general.
For this reason, the line of work will revolve around the social space of the neighbourhood, in relation to the territorial specificities of this part of the city and its industrial past. Topics to be developed as an art-based research project in or around the centre, topics such as the use of methodologies in art produced through analogic media, obsolescence, a critical analysis of the link between society and technology, urban processes of recovery, and memory of the industrial past, and the use of art to relate to the specific social fabric of the environment of La Escocesa, will be welcomed.
BBB Art Centre, set in a former electric coil manufacturing workshop in the northern part of Toulouse, is also a structure dedicated to artistic creation, and a platform for resources, training and professional support for artists. Since its creation, it has shown its commitment to contemporary art through the distribution of artistic and social critical reflections, becoming a cultural reference point in its area of influence, and encouraging a greater diversification in its audiences.
The centre is located at the intersection of two different areas: Izards / 3 Cocus, a vulnerable neighbourhood currently undergoing renovation, and Borderouge, an area which has been under development since 2004, situated on a broad, long established horticultural area. For 25 years the Art Centre has created solid links with socio-cultural agents in these areas, and with a wide variety of audiences, establishing a cultural dynamic of exchanges and dialogues.
The lines of work that BBB art centre proposes for this residence are: the zones of social development, and the positive use of public space by residents; the memory of these districts, their traces or the omission of the past due to an accelerated pace of urbanisation; the question of the exchange and coexistence of different cultural approaches on the same territory.
IDENSITAT is an arts project which experiments with various ways of impacting upon the public sphere through creative proposals related to place and territory in their spatial, temporal and social dimensions. Functions as a system which incorporates other projects, actions or interventions, site- and context-specific; a system based upon collaborative dynamics in order to construct a relationship between contemporary artistic practices and other disciplinary fields, and in order to devise connections between certain zones of influence in social space.
The residencies’ duration allows artists to establish a condensed space and time in which to start research, to develop a specific phase of an ongoing study or project, or to set out the conclusions of a process carried out previously. The projects presented must result in a public action which may be a final event or production, or which may be considered as one exercise within a wider working process.
Each is an on-site residency of 15 days, which means that the artist, or the team, should perform preparatory tasks before the residency, and a degree of follow-up work afterwards, in relation to the line of work which is to be followed.
All proposals for art projects, and projects of artistic and social mediation, related to the proposed theme - "transperiphery" - and especially those projects which connect with active local agents, or that take the institutional agents themselves into account, are welcome. These projects may take the form of workshops, presentations, public actions, productions, and the documented results of artistic research.
Missing edge / CORENTINE LE MESTRE
A residency project at Casa Planas, in which the artist will concentrate upon the search for “the trans-periphery”, considered as a concept which may be applicable to images. In photography, this term might convey the idea of a transcending and transcendent image, implying that there is a centre to the image, a territorial integration and interconnection.
During her residency, Corentine sought to confront the margins and return to the centre. She started out from Casa Planas, the physical location of the Planas Archive and of the study of the photographic image, as the central location of her research, and from there, she explored the effects of these images in the real environment. She studied the plants which appear on the edges of postcards in the archive’s collection as a central theme. In this way, during her residency, she adopted a dual approach to a critical reflection upon the trade in photographic imagery and in plants, both synonyms for globalised circulation, analysing the construction of identity based upon the study of plants and how they are represented within the framework of the tourist industry.
During her stay at Casa Planas, Corentine participated in two events.
- On September 10th, 2020, the two artists in residence at Casa Planas at that time, Txema González and Corentine Le Mestre, took part in a round table, "Introduction to the work of artists in residence", at which they met to share their projects and their different methodological approaches during their residencies.
- On September 18th, 2020, Corentine Le Mestre presented the research which she had carried out during her stay. In this presentation, Corentine displayed the beginning of her research that started out from Casa Planes itself to discuss the trans-periphery. A video entitled Missing Edge brings together photographs from the Casa Planas archive, photographs taken from visits she received at the studio, and photographs taken in the greenhouses where plants were growing. Also in the video are the spoken words of Antonia Portel Sastre, witness to an exoticism that has become commonplace, and over which Antonia maintains control as a vendor of plants typically seen in postcards.
Corentine Le Mestre graduated in Fine Arts from Montpellier in 2016. She is a member of the research group Skene, and she has exhibited her work in collaboration with the Frac OM, the CCN of Montpellier and the Atger Museum. Her project "The Queen's Garden" was chosen as a finalist in the 34th international festival "Jean-Rouch, Hors les murs". In 2019, she joined the MO.CO., 6th edition programme, in partnership with the biennials of Kochi, Venice and Istanbul. Her work has been exhibited in France and abroad, in collaboration with Ateliers Medicis, at the Mulhouse Biennale and at the HASY gallery.
Diario de fabrica / MARTA AZPARREN
An audio-visual project (video + audio-visual performance) conceived as a critical reflection upon the imprint of industrial work upon artistic activity, cross-connecting Roberto Rossellini's perspective in "Europe '51", with the insight of Simone Weil, and her description of Fordist work in «Factory Journal».
The character Irene Gerard, played by Ingrid Bergman, appears in the film "Europe '51", an upper middle class woman on a spiritual quest after the suicide of her youngest son. Due to a chain of circumstances, she is forced to work in a factory, where she faces a long day on an assembly line. Based on this premise, and on texts written by Rosselini about factory labour in which he describes with extreme detail each and every one of the mechanical processes of her work, her remuneration and assembly line labour, Marta Azparren begins an investigation on cultural work and art, in relation to gestural repetition and loops.
Marta understands art as work, more precisely as a Japanese-style strike (i.e., a Spanish urban legend, based on the belief that Japanese workers strike by working twice as hard, in order to ruin the factory through overproduction), as described by Remedios Zafra and Hyto Steyerl, or production as a show, similar to the post-Fordist assembly-line "nose-to-the-grindstone" conveyor belt; work that is, at the same time, performed with enthusiasm, hyperactivity, and a profound sense of commitment, an emotional task achieved at breakneck speed. Apart from housework and care-giving, art is the one industry with the largest quantity of unpaid working hours. Free labour and rampant exploitation are the dark matter that maintains the cultural sector. During her residency at La Escocesa, Marta conducted various interviews with a number of artists in residence and former workers from La Escocesa who talked about the factory, with the aim of recording an audiovisual piece in which the repetitive gestures of their work are collected.
Oihana García Acín, architect, is one of the interviewees, and with her, Marta talked about the reconversion of industrial spaces, industrial archaeologies, culture, and the position of the artist in the process of gentrification. With Lidia Ortega, a former textile factory worker from the 70s, she looked back upon life in factories during the post-Franco regime; her own personal experience, and the experiences of the women in the factory. She also talked to Juan Francisco Segura, resident artist and founder of La Escocesa, who explained the beginnings of converting the factory into a creative space, sharing a perspective on the previous work in the factory with its former workers, with the social class of the artist, with the peripheries, with the old materials found in the factory and their reuse for artistic creation. And finally, she talked to Antonia Márquez, a former worker in a factory which made parts for motor cars, who told her about her experience of a lifetime of assembly line work.
After these conversations, Marta recorded the repeated gestures which remained in the memory of the interviewees from their time in the factory. The recordings were video loop samples, with the gestures replaying. Apart from the memorised gestures, Marta also contacted the Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz /Cooperation Assembly for Peace, an NGO with projects in Tangier and Tunisia, to record women who work or who once worked in textile factories, making videos in which they repeated the gestures of their respective assembly line jobs, some of them for Spanish textile brands; the delocalised periphery. At the end of her residency at La Escocesa, Marta Azparren realised an interactive online presentation, in which all members of the Art and Territory network participated.
Marta Azparren Visual artist and performer based in Barcelona. Her videos have been screened and awarded in numerous international film and video festivals, exhibitions and art festivals. Her work is a meta-reflective statement on artistic activity, paying special attention to the connections between creator, spectator and object, and their mediators.
Possibilities of being a cabin / MELISA LÓPEZ
The concept of the cabin automatically references the possibilities of habitation, of protection, of creating a place, and of isolation. For this project, Melisa has travelled throughout Toulouse, tracing out a cartography based upon links established by the plant-life in urban space. Taking Le BBB Centre d ’Art as her point of departure, she suggests a different way of delimiting space, and of establishing a new centre and new peripheries.
During the residency, Melisa, with the mediation of Le BBB Centre d ’Art, was given the opportunity to engage in conversations with Jean-Luc Camus, the Borderouge Museum Garden’s scientific mediator; Alain Chainel, member of the Citizens’ Council of the northern districts of Toulouse; The Toulouse Heritage Studies Library; Fatiha EL Babili, researcher and pedagogical manager of the Henri Gaussen Botanical Garden-Toulouse III University-Paul Sabatier, and the members of the collective Micro-Forests, Toulouse in transition, who helped her form close links with the environment.
Based on this artistic research residency in Toulouse and Barcelona, (at La Escocesa) on Thursday March 18th, she staged a virtual presentation of the early results of the investigation, in the form of a story and several images, as a way of returning to the experience.
She graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona, and studied the master’s course in Artistic Production and Research at the same faculty. She was a resident at the Fabra i Coats Fàbrica de Creació in Barcelona, has recently exhibited at the JCE Biennale d’Art Contemporain 2019-21, and last year received the FormArte Scholarship in Fine Arts at the Colegio de España in Paris of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Her current work involves an analysis of artistic creation using research into the archive of protected trees, thanks to the Sala d'Art Jove 2020 Creation Grant.
To conclude the Art and Territory project, and as part of the connected work methodology, Idensitat, Casa Planas, La Escocesa and Le BBB Art Centre met on 15th and 16th April 2021 in order to evaluate and review experiences, with the intention of gathering together completed work, and of aiming towards the continuity of the project, and its future expansion.
THURSDAY 15th APRIL
4 p.m. – 5.30 p.m. Internal meeting 1: Evaluation of objectives
Coordinated by: Casa Planas
Guest speaker: Lorena Abelenda Castro, Head of Culture and Tourism projects in the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion.
FRIDAY 16th APRIL
10 a.m. – 11:30 am
Internal meeting 2: Evaluation of the process + sharing tools for the management of artistic residencies
Coordinated by: Le BBB Centre d'Art
Guest speaker: Teresa Badia, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe
12 p.m. – 1.30pm
Internal meeting 3: Expanding Art - Territory at the European level - continuation of the project
Coordinated by: Idensitat
Guest speaker: Augusto Paramio, Oficina Europa Creativa – Cultura España Creative Europe - Culture Office
4.30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Internal meeting 4: Evaluation of the artists + How should the process and result of the three residencies be presented to the public?
Coordinated by: La Escocesa
Guests: Corentine Le Mestre, Melissa López and Marta Azparren
6 p.m. Screening of the audio-visual pieces, directed by Albert Gironès and Idensitat, documenting the project.
9 p.m. Diari de fàbrica /Factory diary - Marta Azparren
An audio-visual performance based on the material developed during the residency. The performance deals with the impression left by industrial labour on artistic activity. Or, how to connect the story of the Fordist assembly line in peripheral bodies and industrial spaces to the ways in which artists have occupied these manufacturing spaces, taking on the precarious condition, and some of the repetitive nature of the assembly line work.
With the special collaboration of musician Pau Escutia.
VIDEO ART AND TERRITORY
Idensitat has created an audiovisual piece collecting interviews with participants in this project, from people in the organisation itself to those artists selected in the open call. This video functions both as documentary material, and at the same time as a device for critical reflection and research on the subject of "the transperiphery" and artistic residencies as a working methodology.