Approaches to the Interchanges Laboratory – II

Back in February we started the Interchanges Laboratory, which has continued this month with a block of sessions on 6, 7 and 8 March, and a third and final block on 20, 21 and 22 March.

Below is a summary of the second sessions, highlighting the most relevant inputs from these debates, talks and performative acts that offer a variety of views and interpretations of the relations between art, work, object and economy, which will be incorporated into the discourse of the project FX File: On Economy Zero, in the context of which we will also be presenting the exhibition “Economy: Picasso”.

Richard Hamilton – Just what it that made yesterday’s homes so different, so appealing? – 1992 – 26 x 25,1 cm – Metropolitan Museum, New York – © Richard Hamilton, VEGAP, Barcelona 2011

The Producer as Producer

Joaquín Vázquez, a member of BNV producciones, has outlined the experiences over more than twenty years of this mechanism of production and cultural mediation, which was created to trigger critical thinking and generate new ways of doing things within the creative fabric.

In contrast to how things are in other artistic disciplines, the figure of the producer is not recognized in the art world or in the age of technical reproduction, although the work of most contemporary artists calls for systems of production that involve many different trades.

To date there has still been no democratization of the processes of production, distribution and exhibition, because neither the artist nor the gallery nor the museum nor the curator nor any other of the operators involved in the making, handling, sale or exhibition of the work of art is interested in this happening, as it would mean bringing the artwork closer, and to bring an image closer is also to modify the hierarchy from which it has been chosen.

The important thing is still the ‘artistic quality’ of the objects on show, rather than valorizing or acknowledging the interaction of the group responsible for producing them. But to what extent is the model that was designed to help revitalize and strengthen the sectors that make up the culture industry anything but an illusion today?

The Struggle of Thought

Marina Garcés and Santiago López Petit presented Blank Space, a collective bid to promote the struggle of thought and reconsider the possibility of moving beyond the arbitrariness of the markets and breaking out of the prison of debt that walls in our lives.

By way of example they showed images of the protests that took place around 2000 in Barcelona. The slogans featured in Blank Space included ‘Free Money’, ‘Cash Now’, ‘We Don’t Want Work, We Want Money’ and ‘Work: the Farther away, the Better’.

Marina Garcés and Santiago López Petit during the session Blank Space

The advent of the recession makes it possible to move towards a new social contract: the right — or not — to participate in the global mobilization. And in this context, undefined diseases emerge as ways of addressing the global mobilization, such as social unrest. The 15-M movement is one example.

In effect, the concept of the ‘sheet’ or the ‘blank space’ proposed is designed as a tool from which to test the current situation.

Auction House. Reducing Art Stocks. Lots

The Todoazen collective set us to reflecting on the market and the value of art, taking as a frame of reference the role of the auction houses in the art market and the economic and symbolic component that underlies every bids. To demonstrate this, the group set out a number of lots and invited the public to think about what price they should sell for.

In view of their special condition as border areas — between the market and taste, between sensibility and wealth, between economics and art — auctions are narratives that, over and above their realistic aesthetic, belong to the symbolism of the twentieth-century avant-gardes. The prices fetched construct the value of art, with art auctions acting as a ritual of legitimation of private property.

Ninety Square Metres

Bulegoa z/b is a platform for art and knowledge in Bilbao. They encourage research, dialogue and reflection by means of workshops, seminars, screenings, presentations and other activities. How best to manage the resources at their disposal has been one of the main points of debate.

The platform was created to do something different to what the institutions are doing. The economy takes up a large part of their discussions, in that they have to decide how to manage their financial resources, derived entirely from public support, so as to make the best use of them. They use this presentation as exceptional moment in which to reflect on their activities.

Seminar Bulegoa z/b

Body against Capital: a Flamenco Musical against the Financial System

The Flo6x8 group from Seville illustrated for us their struggle against capitalism by means of performances and protest actions in which flamenco is the dominant element. Born out of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Flo6x8 collective ranges from flamenco dances featuring a single bailaor to group performances, by way of solo songs —on the subject of security cameras at night or set in the middle of office hours.

The group’s aim is to express and manifest dissatisfaction with the economic situation, not only in these times of crisis, but throughout the preceding years. They seek to make visible to those responsible the captivity of the banks and denounce our dependence on them through the medium of flamenco and the strength of the body.

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