Transversal Aesthetics, Art, Educational Activity and Medium-sized Cities is a platform for projects situated in the intersection between education, art and social space. Bringing together projects which, taking the arts as a medium for experimentation and action, impact upon unique elements of each of the participant cities, and which bring these elements together based upon common themes and shared strategies. The programme deploys transverse processes between artists, educators and active agents in social space, places where the connections between urban space, rural space and the natural environment shape unique realities . Average cities form urban nuclei in which this singularity becomes tangible. The programme takes as its general objectives; to initiate site-specific projects, to encourage a sense of excitement as part of teaching-learning processes, and to encourage active involvement and visibility of existing social creativity in the different locations in which the programme will be implemented. It is intended that the programme should initiate and maintain collaborative processes which make connections between artistic practices, social contexts and educational spaces, and that these processes should be deployed throughout specific locations or environments in which such practices are not habitual, establishing linkages between artistic institutions and other organisations or self-managed social spaces.
Transversal Aesthetics combines processes of research, training, production, mediation, awareness-raising and distribution. The new edition of Transversal Aesthetics will take place during 2016 and 2017 as a coordinated programme in the cities of Manresa - Museu Comarcal de Manresa, Mataró - Mataró Art Contemporani and Vilanova i la Geltru - Contemporary Art Center La Sala, with the special collaboration of Xarxa Transversal.
Estètiques Transversals comes together through the development of joint projects by cultural institutions, organisations or local actors and educational spaces. The work will be specific for each location, and all processes will be developed with the participation and involvement of an artist or a collective, together with la the group involvement of individuals, collectives or bodies connected to the local context. Idensitat, in collaboration with local institutions, is in charge of supporting and following up those projects and processes taking place in each location. Processes must be based on experimental methodologies which incorporate collective creation and mediation, bearing in mind the following components, or phases:
- An initial approach to, and involvement with, the context, using an exploratory methodology which incorporates dialogue with local agents of heterogeneous profile (citizens, schools, experts on particular issues working according to the project in each municipality, local institutions, and so on), as well as one-off activities designed to facilitate their involvement in the project.
- Production of site-specific projects, based upon proposals by artists or collectives, bringing their own methodologies appropriate to the general scheme proposed by Idensitat and its local collaborators:.
- Workshops or other forms of cooperative work, inviting the widest possible number of agents to become involved and to participate in the process.
- Design and production of a touring communication device to open up dialogues between municipalities and the projects, as well as to generate contact zones between those involved and those who will be affected by the projects.
- To connect contemporary artistic practices to projects, organisations and individuals active in local contexts; enhancing art's capacity for transversal involvement in order to open up new avenues of experimentation.
- To encourage the creation of a network of spaces for dialogue between medium-sized or small municipalities, using this network as a basis for exploring the construction of regional identity, based upon contemporary artistic practices.
- To work based upon the idea of active agents or public involved in knowledge production and project creation, creating new linkages related to the contexts in which the work will be developed.
-To enhance hybridisation, cross-pollination and permeability, combining artistic practices and educational activities.
- To broaden the functions of art, and connect art to those disciplinary fields currently lacking established relationships with art.
Common elements – Unique elements
Transversal Aesthetics is conceived as a networked space for experimentation, to encourage creative projects with the involvement of artists, educators and other social and cultural agents involved in the region. A framework for testing out new methods which may impact upon the development of educational activities and measures of mediation adapted to specific local contexts. By sharing issues and tracing out various ways of interpreting location, a multifaceted view of repeated phenomena in certain localities may be set out. This edition's common theme is “the factory”. All participating cities share an industrial past which has long been in a process of redefinition. Factors such as the transition of the means of production, the transformation of the workspace, the construction of a new imaginary, or the definition of new functions and uses, which have adopted different configuration in each location, are a few of the projects' starting points. Whether in Manresa, in Mataró, or in Vilanova, those factors characteristic of the transformation of an industrial city to a city of services, factors such as working class memories, the loss of jobs, the abandonment of industrial space, land conversion, new urban projects, land speculation, or citizen re-appropriation of land, form a body of issues suitable for artistic treatment, and maintain a link with the memory and identity of each municipality. The works carried out in each city share two common strands; the participation of a guest artist or group; and the set-up of a regional node with the involvement of different local agents.
These two strands may intersect, come together, or co-exist in parallel. In relation to the invited artists' projects, local collaborators must display a certain permeability towards Idensitat's general scheme, which takes into account social and cultural agents involved in each city. This scheme embodies aims such as the encouragement of critical mediation, and the promotion of collaborations and objective attitudes which must take shape in each location. The projects generated by the regional nodes constitute elements of interaction, activation and / or complementariness to the project proposed by the guest artist or group. Regional social and cultural agents also participate in these nodes, organised and coordinated by regular meetings which will shape the measures of intermediation and educational actions.
Context and subject matter
The proposal is to work in a specific urban area which presents a complete paradigm of all those themes to be approached: factories, labour, the natural environment, the urban fabric, district transformation, population movements, space in transformation. The area of research includes the valley towards San Ignacio to the River Cardener, in which the Fabrica Nova, Museu Comarcal, and Fàbrica de l’Aranya are located, a point of intersection between the districts of Les Escodines, Barri Antic and Vic-Remei. This is an area that, despite this central situation "on the map", is often perceived as a peripheral zone by citizens. A kind of inner periphery. Thus, in this geographical context, the above-mentioned themes open up from both the buildings and the memories they embody, as well as from the people who pass them by and live in them, apart from being the most important point of urban transformation in recent years.
Artist: Raquel Friera
The artist Raquel Freira combines a critical perspective on economy with gender awareness. Her projects blow away the instruction she received during her degree in Economics, and makes full use of her training in Fine Arts, which she completed in Barcelona in 2006. With this background, she always attempts to combine conceptual reflection, a long working process alongside participants in her projects, and an aesthetic criticism of all hierarchies.
She has focused more precisely, based upon gender theory, on the subject of work, both in the context of the art world and in other sectors, with an interest in those fields dominated by job insecurity. These themes of interest (work, job insecurity and gender) have culminated, in various ways, in her current series of performances, which are reinterpretations, as a woman artist, of a series of famous performances by male artists. The first One year women's performance 2015-2016 (The clock piece), is a response, 35 years later, to One year Performance 1980-1981 (The clock piece) by Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh. The second, I'm too sad to tell you (2016) is a version of I am too sad to tell you (1971) by Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader. The third, to take place in Manresa, will be a re-reading, from gender and economic perspectives, of Joseph Beuys's performance in 1966, also in Manresa.
(Wo)Manresa continues the line of work which Raquel Freira has followed since 2015, as part of the project Feminizing Art History, in which the artist reinterprets a series of historic works of performance art by men. (Wo)Manresa is inspired this time by the action called Manresa which the the German artist Joseph Beuys performed in 1966 at the Schmela gallery in Düsseldorf. The artist took from Beuys' performance the idea of the journey as the main strand, but from the field of the imaginary and socioeconomic, not symbolic. In the present context, in her project, Raquel Friera undertook a series of journeys directed towards a criticism of gender and work, so interpreting the "wounds" in Beuys' work based upon the working experience of women, going into depth regarding the in/compatibility between "reproductive work" (domestic and caring work) and "productive work", or work done for pay. Based upon five meetings and debates with women from Manresa, the artist imagined possible locations where these labour and socioeconomic problems might be resolved. Beuys' individual journey among symbolic elements thus ended up transported, as a shared journey towards an imaginary destination, created and conceived by a women's group, formed by: Dolors Bosch, Maite Casals, Fina Gil, Dolors Reifs, Rosa Serra i Cristina de Zárate.
The project resulted in the creation of an imaginary railway line with five stops corresponding to five cities designed by the women's group, based upon dynamics which identified the problems of productive and reproductive work, and which formulated creative solutions. The resulting maps, imitating the aesthetics of promotional material for Renfe, the Spanish state railway line, are available at Manresa train station, alongside a number of postcards which passengers are free to take with them.
The (Wo)Manresa line illustrations were made by: Emma Gascó, Inma Serrano, Isa Ruiz, Sònia Estévez i Núria Frago.
Node territorial: Museu Comarcal de Manresa, Caritas Manresa, (Wo)Manresa group: Dolors Bosh, Maite Casals, Cristina de Zárate, Rosa Serra, Fina Gil and Raquel Friera, Alèxia Lleonart (Escola d'Art) and alumnes and Idensitat.
Inauguration of the (Wo)Manresa project at Renfe Manresa and at the Museu Comarcal / 9/11/17
The inauguration consisted of an intervention at the Manresa Renfe Station, with the installation of a postcard rack of four panels, and postcards produced as part of the project. This material, which will remain at the station until supplies last, simulates the creation of a new railway line departing from Manresa, and was placed in a passage which was visible to passengers. Posters were put up around the station which invited the public to travel on this new line, starting out from the Museu as well as the Renfe station.
First-year students in illustration from the Escola d'Art de Manresa worked over four sessions in the educational space recreating the same methodology of conversation, diagnosis and imagination which was used eith Raquel Freira and the women's group in the (Wo)Manresa project. The result was a series of imaginary cities where concepts such as ecology and sustainability, relationships of proximity or the resolution of conflicts between urbanism and public space prevailed.
The illustrations were presented at the Museu along with the rest of the project, and a meeting to share experiences and methodology was organised with the students, artist Raquel Feriera, the women's group and Idensitat.
Context and subject matter
Mataro's industrial past, and its cultural facilities as a new model of production, are interesting themes to approach from the perspectives of education and artistic practice, in an urban context with numerous examples of these manufacturing areas. Can Marfa, the first museum dedicated exclusively in Catalonia to knitted fabrics, or Nau Minguell, conceived as a space for the artistic and audiovisual industries, are two of the best known examples. The town's industrialisation began in 1839, when the first steam engine was installed to provide power for a textile factory. It is notable, as a curiosity of the project, that this steam engine is today located at the railway museum in Vilanova, one of the three cities involved in the project. From this moment on, the textile sector, of old artisan tradition, would form the centre of economic activity until its crisis, leaving the old manufacturing facilities as part of the urban landscape, with constant discussion about their future and possible uses.
Artist: Mariona Moncunill
Her projects are often interventions which highlight features of the context, inserted in order to raise debate, to subject them to analysis, and to advance a critical perspective upon them. Her work emphasises theoretical research, field work, management and activation of existing resources on the human, material or symbolic levels. Processes of negotiation and dialogue with all participants and collaborators also form an essential part of her work, in some cases becoming visible, in others, remaining latent. Mimickry, infiltration, speculation, ambiguity or specificity, and the interplay between reality and fiction, form some of the characteristics of her work, often formalised in an un-iconic and camouflaged way.
She is a bachelor in Fine Arts, and has a master's degree in Cultural Management, both from the UB, and has a doctorate in the Information and Knowledge Society from UOC. She studied for part of her career at Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten at The Hague. She has been awarded the Premi Generació 2014 (2013), the Ramón Acín d'Arts Plàstiques grant (2011), a grant from the Creació Artística Fundació Guasch Coranty (2010) and the Premi Miquel Casablancas (2008), among others. Also awarded residency grants at HIAP (Hèlsinki, 2013) and Rupert (Vílnius, 2013). She has exhibited, solo and as part of a group, at 'Espai 13, Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona, 2012), Convent dels Àngels del MACBA (Barcelona, 2014), Espai Cultural Caja Madrid (Barcelona, 2010), Gallery Augusta (Hèlsinki, 2013 ), Centre d'Art Lo Pati (Amposta, 2013) and Arts Santa Mònica (Barcelona, 2013), among others.
The Mataró project has taken as its starting point the town's industrial past and the new enterprises occupying the space of the old factories, an interesting theme to approach from the point of view of artistic practice in an urban context with numerous examples of these spaces in a process of transformation.
Artist Mariona Moncunill concentrates upon the reconversion of Mataró's industrial zones into various kinds of leisure spaces. The consequent leisure- and consumer-related activities which have arisen may be perfectly understood as productive practices, not only because of their positive repercussions in helping us unwind after a hard working day, or in helping us feel better, but also because often, out of leisure, the most significant productivity on the social and personal levels takes place. It is from this point of view that the question regarding the difference between leisure and work has been posed. In this project, Mariona Moncunill accentuates the question of economic remuneration as one of the the principle aspects which often differentiate productive from non-productive work, leading to highly meaningful confusions.
To raise awareness of this concept, three actresses have been contracted to perform leisure activities in locations situated in the industrial estate at Pla d’en Boet. These were a gymnasium, placed in an old listed brick factory, a bar, and a trampolin centre, the latter two situated in more recently built factory spaces. Payment for these leisure activities became a symbolic act interweaving leisure and work, as happens as a matter of course at the Pla d’en Boet estate.
The conversion of leisure into labour, and vice-versa, has a component of institutional criticism which reflects upon the context of art itself. Art may convert certain supposedly non-productive activities into other activities which are productive, so disfiguring the traditional relationships between use and exchange values. The art market helps in converting supposedly non-productive activities into products with a different cultural and economic value. The fact that the participants are amateur actresses is important to the artist, because it permits her to reflect upon the symbolic value which they bring to leisure activities: Are "contracted" leisure activities work or play? Are they real, or are they even a representation of reality?
On the other hand, in relation to the project, and as an educational activity, there will be a meeting and debate among agents and bodies from the sectors of leisure, events organisation, the voluntary sector, amateur interests, the service sector, or other sectors related to leisure and work and their relationship to urban transformation.
MAC Mataró Art Contemporani, Arxiu Municipal, Mataró municipal council for architectural and environmental heritage, actresses Anna Caballero, Nemí de la Rosa and Teresa Riba, Salting Mataró, Bar El Xarrupet and Vita Liberté Mataró.
From octber 20th to december 24th
MAC Mataró Art Contemporani, Can Palauet
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Context and subject matter:
The Pirelli factory, located in Vilanova for almost a hundred years (1902-2004), still maintains a living presence due to its importance in the urban, social, economic, labour, and symbolic contexts, as well as its importance in the lives and memories of many people from Vilanova. A large number of them worked in this industrial complex. It had social housing, a co-operative, and many services for workers, until 2005, when it was moved and changed ownership. The dismantling of the factory left many people jobless, and left behind a space in transformation. Its central location in the urban context, as part of the coastline, has now become a temporary space. This transitional situation is the basis for the project.
Artists: Joan Nadal and students of Escola Municipal d'Art i Disseny (EMAiD)
Joan Nadal is a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Universitat de Barcelona, and is a teacher at EMAID. He defines himself as a multifaceted artist using techniques such as drawing, painting, photography, sculptural installations or assemblages, among others, and has trained and raised his interest in the worlds of art, artistic creation, sociology, teaching, ecology and landscaping, disciplines which have been present in his career as teacher, beginning in 1980. Since 1992, Joan has been a teacher at the Escola Municipal d'Art i Disseny de Vilanova i la Geltrú in subjects such as artistic drawing, volume, colour, interior design and landscaping projects, and combining highly technical training for students with historical review, planning and social context. The landscape intervention project on the site of the Pirelli Factory in Vilanova will be carried out with students of the Escola Municipal d'Art de Vilanova i la Geltrú (EMAID). The school, founded in 1969 initially as an Arts and Crafts school, is one of the area's artistic examples. In the present day, it offers various Vocational Training qualifications at Intermediate and Advanced Levels, official and approved by the Department of Education of the Generalitat, and recognised by the Ministry of Education. The school has worked on, and has been involved in numerous projects and events related to the worlds of art, education, design and culture, promoting events such as conferences, exhibitions, round tables, etc. open to wider audiences.
Centre d'Art Contempornai La Sala, Grup de Dones amb Memòria, Arxiu Comarcal del Garraf, and primary and secondary schools.
The project will deploy two stands of work; one dedicated to an artistic intervention in the space occupied by the factory, made by students of the School of Art and Joan Nadal, called "The Garden of Memory"; and another dedicated to creating an archive in collaboration with the Grup de Dones amb Memòria and Arxiu Comarcal del Garraf.
Educational activities and memory workshops:
PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT THE GARDEN OF MEMORY
19/05/2017 VILANOVA I LA GELTRÚ with the intervention of the participants and a snack.
Performance and finisage of the project done at the Instituto Manuel de Cabanyes at 14th. of June, 2017, with some of its participants.
Centre d'Art Contemporani La Sala (Vilnova i la Geltrú)
From 15th of September to 15 th of October 2017
VIDEOS OF THE PROJECT
The Transversal Aesthetics programme began in 2012 in Manresa, and there have been two previous editions: the first from 2011 to 2013, and the second from late 2013 to 2015. It was created as a means of continuing the work which IDENSITAT has been developing in Central Catalonia since it began in the late 1990s. As part of these previous two editions, 280 direct participants took part in the first edition projects, and 123 took part in the second. Since 2012, participating projects have included CIRCULATION by Tanit Plana, MEMORIES OF AVINYÓ AND MEMORIES OF BRONX, by Nicolas Dumit Estevez, and, in the last year, UMP [Unidad Móvil de Paisaje], by the mixite collective (Marta Carrasco and Sergi Selvas), which developed out of various educational activities. The project resulted in an exhibition in Espai Memòries of Museo Comarcal de Manresa, in various parallel activities which confronted the issues raised, and a publication.