Floor 2. In Transition – City programme
Projects that form part of In Transition – City:
Espai Germanetes, with Laia Solé, Catie de Balmann, Straddle3, Carme de la Madrid – EASD Serra i Abella students and Anka Zawadzka - Janek Dowgiallo; El Solar de La Puri, with Taller de Ficción, Laboratorio Reversible and CCCB Centro de Cultivos Contemporáneos del Barrio; Desdelamina, with Isma Monfort and Col·lectiu I Love La Mina, Col·lectiu Supterranis, Espai Colona; Fireplace, with Carlos Valverde, Quim Packard, Claudia Pagès, Laura Llaneli, Llança Sosun, Juanjo Pedro; Curro Claret, with Fundació Arrels; Torolab.
Fireplace, a non-profit-making cultural platform, the goal of which is to promote creative exchanges within the context of Barcelona, focuses on the importance of art in the post-digital era as a catalyst for exchange and critical reflection, through the organisation of exhibitions, chats, guided tours, workshops, spaces for coworking and concerts, along with other experimental formats. Through the combination and configuration of various activities, the functional model for Fireplace is that of a collective workshop or bar, rather than an institutional kind of exhibition space or conventional gallery. The focus of its interest is more on production mechanisms and the creation of relational networks than final results. It is a work space that incorporates shared creative processes and experiments with reversible mechanisms for transition between self-managed space and cultural institution.
Independence or Death
Independence or Death is a musical proposal by Laura Llaneli, Daniel Moreno, Juanjo Pedro and Jesús Jeleton , with texts by Claudia Pagès, Carlos Valverde and Quim Packard.
Festival Plaga is an initiative launched by Supterranis, an open and heterogeneous collective, whose members are involved in art from different angles: creation, theory, management or teaching. This collective was founded in 2013 for the purpose of organising artistic events in the city of Barcelona, and it works outside the confines of the official art circuit. Plaga is a proliferation of artistic proposals in places not usually used as spaces for hosting art. Each edition of the festival takes place over a weekend in Barcelona, with exhibitions, performances and events being held in private flats, artists’ workshops, the street or spaces specifically loaned for the occasion. Art spreads through the city like a plague ( plaga ), becoming visible around the fringes of the established art circle. The festival serves as both a testing ground and a space for shared learning.
Within the framework of the In Transition programme, an archive of material is presented that has gradually been put together over the three editions of the Festival. It provides a record of the network of relationships that have, on both a spatial and a personal level, given form to the spirit of the Festival and the things that have happened there. A great deal of this material has been gathered from people who have, at one time or another, formed part of the festival and have agreed to form a part of its archive. These materials are the result of a wide range of exhibitions, presentations, itineraries and experiences that were, at the same time, coordinated by many different people and groups. The contents of these different activities do not depend directly on the Supterranis Group itself, but rather on the organisers of each activity. Each edition of the Festival has functioned differently in terms of putting together its programme: by word of mouth, by open call without selection, and by invitation. Part of the archive consists of all the materials created by the Supterranis organisation and used for the promotion of each edition of the Festival.
Supterranis is an open and changing group. This time around the following people are participating in the compilation of the archive: Caterina Almirall, Anna Dot, Palma Lombardo, Blai Marginedas and Irina Mutt .
The following have also formed part of the Supterranis team for previous editions: Xavier Acarín, Alba Benavent, Glòria Guirao, Quim Packard, Raquel Vila, Alba Vilamala and Marina Vives .
Espai Colona is a project promoted by Rosario Ateaga and Andrés Vial, and centred on the colonisation of domestic spaces that are determined by places that have been set up to live in and their activation as spaces for artistic research. Espai Colona is currently a collective project and contemporary arts space in Barcelona, the cornerstone of which is the relation between art and the everyday issues that develop through human relations. This is a space that is open to others and in which artistic projects are presented and workshops held, as well as temporary residencies and a diverse range of other activities that contribute to the promotion of relations across the city’s cultural and artistic scene. Domestic space is converted into space that is opened up to the public sphere, in which the impossibility is made clear of separating art from life or establishing productive limits within the context of typical household tasks, as well as activities developed with guest artists or projects. Espai Colona is a way of Living with- subverting the different spaces of the home as spaces that generate public discourse or that are turned into communal spaces, as a way of demonstrating the production mechanisms employed by contemporary capitalism that promote the invasion of private domestic space and time by work space.
Politics and Poetics of Domesticity
This is the project with which Espai Colona is participating in the In Transition programme. The purpose is to design a collective interior landscape, made up of plants that, in turn, have their origins in people’s own, private landscapes, from inside the homes of friends of Espai Colona. These plants, which are temporarily on loan, form the basis of a botanical construct of the territory. Although not native to this geography, they do form a part of people’s personal memories. The project is concerned with day-to-day activities, establishing them as milestones that free a possibility in their own aesthetic and experiential development. Simple things, such as walking the dog, watering the plants or washing clothes are of vital importance within the functioning of each miniopolis ; this is why they propose bringing these questions within the framework of reflection and establishing them as a driving force of production. The friends, for whom they are transformed into “colonists” become the family in the “colonised place”. These are a significant part of the supporting networks, in terms of both feelings and a practical sense, which is why their collaboration in the project has taken on such importance, as has the establishment of a poetic/political base within the relationships of intimacy generated. Another important point here is the establishment of certain colonial landscapes, new landscapes, marked out by the houseplants that hark back to a yearning for a greenery that was left in some past place. That is why they have invited their friends, friends of Espai Colona, to loan a plant that each considers to be significant in their own home, a plant that implies a certain green lightening of lives that are encased in concrete. These temporary loans have allowed Espai Colona to articulate an interior landscape, within the space of the art centre, a communal landscape that involves a group of people and that is configured by the collectivised subjectivity that, at the same time, also refers to the places that each of us inhabits.
Desdelamina is a project for community revitalization that is operating in Barcelona’s La Mina district. Its aim is to serve as a channel for promoting neighbourhood life, to allow the organisations that work there and the people that live there to participate in its development. The La Mina district is a space that has become stigmatised in the collective imagination, often stoked by a media that tends to concentrate exclusively on the district’s negative and conflictive aspects. The existing prejudices, fuelled by media magnification, are countered here by a space for communication generated from the neighbourhood itself, with the collaboration of the people that live and work there. The backbone of the project is the desdelamina.net website, which publishes articles related to activities, events, news and sundry district aspects. The aim here has been to create a citizens’ network, through which residents can inform and be informed, as well as providing their opinions about things that concern them, where local entities can offer channels for participation and where people from outside the district can get a point of view that more faithfully reflects the reality of La Mina and its people, distanced from the usual prejudices. Since 2003, Desdelamina has been operating as a project, open to the context and involving a number of different agents, with the aim of sharing experiences, opinions and learning, based on respect, dialogue and coexistence.
Desdelamina has generated a number of different proposals, spaces and complementary activities that have allowed them to carry out their work of stimulating the use of ICT, beyond the district space. These proposals also allow them to propose alternatives to the use of ICT in their environment. Some of these projects have been presented in the In Transition programme. Photos by Desdelamina and Isma Monfort.
Sensitive Cartography is a project that combines different methodologies of territorial knowledge and recognition, such as urban drift, walking as a form of exploration, guided tours by experts, or the making of maps based on observations and sensitive experiences. Placing the stress on social and community work, based on activities that combine the dynamics of collective mapping, the geolocation of data, the discovery of the natural and human environment, citizen participation, augmented reality or the collective construction of shared reality, are just some of the project’s milestones.
A mobile technology desk on wheels that acts as a support unit for different ICT activities and actions, reinforcing both open community use and social uses favoured by the different information and communication technologies. Four different portable equipment packs can be added to the central unit, La Mota, allowing for work to be done on different aspects of the social use of ICT, such as streaming, the creation of internet connectivity spaces via Wi-Fi, the digitalising of collective memories and the exchange of knowledge, working on the open and educational hardware environment.
“I love La Mina”
I Love La Mina is a proposal by Jordi Garet, Chiara De Marco, Gaspar Maza, Daniel Alejandro, Toni Sangrà and Jordi Lafon, which was created at the Espais Zombi workshop, organised by Idensitat (2015) and directed by Domènec along with Gaspar Maza and Ramon Parramon. The aim of this workshop was to come up with projects based on the exploration of urban territories that are undergoing a process of zombification. Desdelamina actively participated in the development of the workshop and subsequently in the dissemination and sponsoring of the I Love La Mina project.
CURRO CLARET/ARRELS FOUNDATION
Curro Claret is an industrial designer who works on projects and processes that seek to reflect on and rethink the relationships between people and the social, cultural and environmental media . He applies this attitude to different professional spheres of work, both in the world of business and commercial products and in the cultural and educational sector, through the exhibitions and workshops that he stages a range of different institutions.
The Arrels Foundation is an entity that provides support for homeless people in the city of Barcelona. The Foundation’s goal is to attend to people that find themselves in the most firmly consolidated stages of exclusion, helping them to become as independent as possible and trying to make the public in general aware of the reality of this problem, speaking out against injustices and coming up with proposals designed to help transform the reality of social exclusion.
The Intervention or the set of materials presented within the framework of In Transition is a sample of the collaboration, beginning back in 2010, between Curro Claret and the Arrels Foundation. From the very beginning this work was considered as an experiment based on the idea that the design and manufacture of furniture elements could be a means of support and assistance in terms of personal and professional development for these people. This joint work process began with the making of stools based on a small metal piece ( La Pieza ) that was expressly designed for the assembly of different reject materials, salvaged by the participants themselves. Subsequently other pieces of furniture, as well as other objects, have also been made, as well as the design and construction of more generalised elements such those for shop interiors.
The installation presented here can be seen as a diverse collection of some of this work. The format is similar to that of a living room, a first version of which was put together for the exhibition Under the Shadow of Optimism , at the ACVic Centre of Contemporary Arts (2013), at that time as a space for the consultation of different reading materials. It consists of three different elements: lamps, floor boards –that can be used as low tables – and bean bags.
The lamps are made up using the same metallic piece designed back in 2010, when the project first got going, while the legs are made from salvaged wood from broken chairs and furniture, and the screens are also made from recycled materials.
The floor boards were made as part of the exhibition Intermediate Zone, Design, Art and Society , curated by Curro Claret, which was put on at the Espai Cultura de Sabadell (2013), and which had previously been organised and presented at ACVic.
The bean bags , in their first version, in the form of rubbish bags filled with different reject materials, appeared at the Under the Shadow of Optimism installation . However, for In Transition , changes have been made to the design, consisting of a semi-transparent mesh that allows people to see the different materials used for the filling in each case, including wastepaper, plastic bottles, drinks cartons and foam, among others.
The contents of the containers, scrap wood and metal materials, have been collected and sorted by the cooperative Alencop , so that they can be used as elements for assembly at the open furniture design and construction workshop that Curro Claret, in collaboration with the Arrels Foundation, the Escola Llotja and Alencop, is to run within the framework of the In Transition programme.
Germanetes occupies a municipal plot of some 5,500 m 2 , initially earmarked for municipal facilities but abandoned in 2004, located in Barcelona’s Eixample district (between the streets Consell de Cent, Comte de Borrell and Viladomat). The aim of the project, since the very beginning, has been the re-appropriation of empty and unproductive spaces for the benefit of citizens, along with traffic calming along the streets that border the plot, in order to obtain more public space for the community. It is a dynamic, alive and inter-relational space that has an influence in the neighbourhood.
In 2011, with a view to the re-appropriation of the Germanetes plot, the group Recreant Cruïlles was founded. This group saw in this urban void the opportunity to develop a new social and urban model, more sensitive to citizen participation and the avoidance of environmental impacts. A broad-based participatory process was then promoted with the aim of opening up and using the plot in a self-managed way, until the long-promised municipal facilities are built.
Two years after the start of the mobilisation of local residents, in November 2013, access to the site was granted on the basis of the municipal project Pla BUITS , a scheme that was understood as the way of gaining access to the plot without having to renounce demands related to the public space.
Currently, Germanetes has been converted into an open-air community space, where workshops and other diverse activities are held on a regular basis, closely associated with questions of sustainability and the promoting of different forms of consumption and production, such as farmers’ markets and the daily work of the allotment group. It is a new, popular and social space in a densely populated district, a focus for critical thinking that has become a driving force and the spokesman for actions associated with demands relating to public spaces, allied to new forms of governance in the city. Germanetes has established not only an urban space but a human space, in which the way things are done is as important as the projects themselves. As a result, constant matching of demands with the needs of local residents is a key factor in the process of this project.
Within the framework of In Transition , the Espai Germanetes is presenting four projects based on collaborations that the collective has been putting together with different cultural agents:
Firstly, the Inside/Out action, a mural featuring photographs taken by Carmen de la Madrid and students from EASD Serra i Abella , Hospitalet (2010-2012). The mural consists of an extended series of large-format portraits of local residents demanding that Germanetes be a space for communal use.
Chroma-keying | Barcelona. Open Spaces is a proposal presented by artist Laia Solé, developed within the Dispositius Post- project, promoted by Idensitat and Recreant Cruïlles. In Chroma-keying , the artist and local residents used the chroma technique to make the wall surrounding the empty plot disappear temporarily, a symbolic act that represented the opening of the space for public use.
With One Thousand and One Nights, or In the Home , French artist Catie de Balmann , also within the framework of Dispositius Post- , proposed that the residents of a building in the Eixample Esquerra district participate in an action aimed at modifying the urban landscape by means of a small, everyday gesture, consisting of hanging brightly coloured curtains, from inside to outside their homes, opening up a visual field that questions the boundaries between public and private space.
Within the framework of the Residency project, promoted by the University of Barcelona’s Department of Social Psychology, artists Anka Zawadzka and Janek Dowgiallo, through a series of workshops, and with the participation of local residents and the district’s schools, set up a prototype of a vertical garden designed to invade the city’s disused spaces. This garden, named Acro-hort , is part of a series of installations that were set up for the purpose of running workshops focusing on co-creation, talks and environment-related activities.
SOLAR DE LA PURI
This street, which enjoyed a strong sense of community in the 1950s and 1960s, is today a dilapidated and run-down area, where many of the local residents have gradually been evicted. The area’s history is fast disappearing, as the old residents leave and new ones move in without building any bonds with the past, or simply ignorant of it. Moreover, the economic crisis has also enormously weakened the purchasing power of local people, and this has resulted in a certain sensation of insecurity, largely stemming from the lack of resources. Moreover, people are also unable to make improvements to their current dwellings due to the demolition plan hanging over them as a permanent threat.
Solar de la Puri connects the projects and actions of a diverse range of informal groups, such as Taller de Ficció, CCCbarri, Laboratorio Reversible and Hort de la Puri. These projects have been put together by activists, artists and local residents who have directed their efforts towards the construction of a space that allows for new interactions with the street and involves the collaborative development of a series of different resources.
Taller de Ficció have documented the distant and the more recent past of the Carrer Puríssima Concepció including, for example, the 2012 demolitions or the clearing and subsequent preparation of the plot. Much of the material produced during this process was subsequently recorded, screened and publicly discussed, firstly at the CCCbarri and then, later on, at the plot itself. In 2014, an open-air summer cinema was organised and, since then, as well as showing films it has also hosted concerts, along with aperitifs, neighbourhood lunches, etc. In 2015, work began on the Hort de la Puri allotment, and the Laboratori Reversible, both within the framework of CCCbarri.
With the Hort de la Puri (allotment) the aim is to stimulate awareness or nature and its care among local residents, based on collective work and the upkeep of a green, recreational space in the centre of the city. Here both adults and kids learn the basic tenets of coexistence, resistant to the hegemonic urbanism of the city of Barcelona. In this way, the Hort offers a way in which new residents can participate in the constellation of activities and projects that have, since 2014, been centred on the Solar de la Puri.
Laboratori Reversible , among many other activities, has introduced the VeCines project, a collective visual creation proposal based on the filming of a series of portraits of daily life in the area, along with the handcrafted development of these films and their subsequent remixing with other film fragments for a series of screenings taking place on the plot itself.
TOROLAB. LA GRANJA
La Granja is a Torolab project that seeks to provide a creative response to the complex network of territorial, sanitary, economic and social conditions and relationships that have converted Camino Verde (Tijuana) into one of the poorest and most dangerous districts in Mexico.
The project is made up of a series of interconnected strategies, resulting in the construction of a physical space where not only food is harvested, but also ideas, projects and capacities. Its ‘transboundary’ condition refers to its cross-cutting nature – between disciplines, sectors and government – and has resulted in comprehensive projects with an economic, artistic, cultural and social bent.
Since 2010, La Granja has developed in different directions achieving collaborations and synergies necessary for its construction. It has the support of public institutions, local, state and federal agencies, and civil society organisations that have signed up to the proposal.
La Granja , which operates along the lines of Contested Territories , a series of artistic proposals developed by Torolab, which have emerged from the inherent political tension, the dichotomies between private and public, and the ecological, cultural, economic and social aspects, as well as from the spatial barriers; starting points likely to reconfigure new territories where local models can be generated, based on processes and collaborations.
The association between Torolab and the Camino Verde community represents an artistic and cultural initiative that, through its multi-disciplinary processes, favours collaboration and the generation of comprehensive and critical models for economic and community reconstruction, and the improvement of the quality of life of its inhabitants.
La Granja is a tool that is capable of working from a complex perspective in order to propose alternatives for the reconfiguration of and assignation of new meaning to both physical and social spaces that have been abandoned by the system and by institutional policies.
HD video | 21 min | colour
Hannah Oellinger, Manfred Rainer, Stefan Wirnsperger, Torolab and 30 residents of Camino Verde (Tijuana)
La Granja is presenting the project Tito as part of the In Transition programme. Tito is a cinematic adaptation of the Shakespeare play Titus Andronicus , which centres on a discussion of the logic of revenge, a theme that has been constantly present in the area since the start of the “Drug Wars” back in 2006. The film’s protagonists are not the characters of the play, but people explaining the story as witnesses, residents and spectators. They do not take an active part in the events of the story, but rather are affected by its consequences. During these reflections and commentaries on the play, the story is interspersed with their own experiences and the current situation in Camino Verde, one of the poorest and most violent districts in Tijuana.
LAIA SOLÉ. Chroma-keying | Barcelona | 2014
The Germanetes space was inaccessible until the year 2014. The Chroma-keying project was a way of getting the walls and fences that surrounded the space to temporarily disappear, with the organisation of an action in which the participants carried green banners. The green banners served a dual function, on the one hand symbolising the residents’ battle to open up and recover the space for public use, and on the other, the possibility of providing a green screen chroma effect and recording this on video.
Inspired by both the magical world of illusionism in early cinema and the tradition of site-specific art, Chroma-keying seeks to achieve a temporary “disappearance” – in real time and in a specific place – of certain urban elements. By intervening on these devices, painting them or covering them in green, so that they will have the effect of a chroma screen , this project improves the presence and the role of such devices in the configuration of urban life, while at the same time achieving the “disappearance” of whatever was recorded at that same site.
Chroma-keying | Barcelona was produced within the framework of the Indensitat Dispositius Post- project and in collaboration with residents, friends and the Recreant Cruïlles association. Camera operator: Blanca del Rei and Moviola Produccions.
CATIE DE BALMANN. One Thousand and One Nights, or In the Home (2014)
The goal of this project is to involve the residents of a building, in the Eixample Esquerra district, in the modification of the urban landscape, by way of a series of small day-to-day actions. Curtains and light (both sunlight and the electric light supplied by each home) are the elements that the artist uses in order, firstly, to involve the residents in the transformation of their immediate urban environment and, secondly, to play with the relationship between exterior and interior spaces through the use of light and colour. By means of a series of different coloured curtains, arranged from the inside to the outside, residents reveal the interiors of their homes, which for a number of days will overshadow the exterior aspect of the building, and vice-versa. In this way a visual field is opened up that questions the limits of public space and the frontiers between private and public areas.
Left Hand Rotation works in a variety of contexts on the themes of gentrification, and the spearheading role that culture often plays in the process of neighbourhood transformation. There are several stereotypical examples of artists, having been drawn to base themselves in a specific area, most often attracted by the low costs of spacious studio units, helping to make a certain location fashionable. Subsequently, private capital sees the opportunity to invest its surplus in this location through real estate transactions. When this happens, prices tend to rise, which means that many residents can no longer live in this location, including the same artists who once initially came to occupy their studios. Also, when this happens, the location itself tends to become aestheticised, elitised, uniform, and, with the necessary promotion, globalised. Some of these phenomena have occurred more spontaneously, but increasingly they form part of a deliberate redevelopment strategy, supporting the adoption of neoliberal policy goals in order to compete in the market of brand cities. In this more organised process, the policy-makers’ and developers’ wish is to preserve the location’s essential characteristic elements, combining them with external elements such as art, design, fashion, gastronomy, or any other "creative" activity that contributes added value. The end result, however, tends to become a stage set, a theme park, or a tourist village version of neighbourhood life. Respecting neighbourhood spaces, and maintaining a balance with the people who live in them, especially those on low incomes, is a complex and contradictory matter in hard capitalism, in which adequate living space is the result of investment and speculation. La Perse no está en venta (La Perse is not for sale) was a photonovel that formed part of the project Gentrificación no es un nombre de señora (Gentrification is not a lady’s name), in which the group warned of the signs of gentrification in the working-class neighbourhood of Perseverancia in Bogotá, and, consequently, of the risk of losing the very essence of the neighbourhood, in addition to many of its residents.
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.