Un elemento más
For our show at Alternativa Siglo XXI we worked in-situ from out of the immediate surrounding of the site. We lived in the neighbourhood for ca. three months as we worked on the project. Alternativa Siglo XXI is located in-between a public representative part of the city center and an old popular working class neighbourhood, with a large gypsy- and migrant-population. This part of the city had for decades been victim to severe land- and property-speculation (tourism playing important roll) and was at the time going through an extreme gentrification process. Moving around the neighbourhood gathering material for the work we engaged in dialogue with the inhabitants. We used our photo camera (and video camera) as a diary, to map and portray, as well as a tool to instigate a dialogue. The photographs became the slide-series Demoliciones y Excavaciones and an important part of the environment Un elemento más.
We negotiated a period of three weeks to work in the space prior to the opening as well as proposing a model of exhibition as a situation and to continue experimenting with our ideas on a porous space. We opened up blinded windows and in the passage in front of the space we built without permission a small wall, Murillo, from stones and bricks we collected from the surrounding land lots and demolished houses. Extending the work from inside to the outside. The wall became a “foreign body” that people either took for a new archeological finding (which the underground of the city is full of), as a provocation or a joke, an un-understandable obstacle in the passage, or just as a welcome sitting-place in this in-between passage. We stayed on and off present throughout the duration of the show, observing, making changes and using the space for both chance- and organised meetings with visitors, people from the neighbourhood, architects, urbanists, passersby people from a migrant association etc.
The title Un elemento más (one element more), refers to a Spanish expression where “elemento” is used with subversive connotations and is personified or subjectified, either positively or negatively, such as you can call a person “An Element”, meaning somewhat uncontrollable, great, or witty, or not to be trusted. It also refers to our resistance to be reductive, a counter perspective on the capitalised idea of “Less is More”, or an alternative to the post-minimal as a triumph of the commodity, fetishised objects and market demand. Since our aim was to create a situation and a performative (self)reflective and sensitised space, materials were bare and formless, objects were precarious, relational and architectural, they were temporarily shaping the space and had different possible functions and simultaneous readings; from an abstract and concrete plastic visual language, to it’s relation synthesizing and representing a surrounding reality, keeping in dialogue with it.