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2009-2010. Jorge Díez. PRESENTATION

For the first time ever, MADRID ABIERTO has taken place over two years. This was one of the changes proposed by the advisory committee that completed its task in 2008. One of the members of this committee is the curator of this sixth edition, Cecilia Andersson, who analyses in her introduction the processes she has followed to select the ten art interventions (Adaptive Actions, Lara Almarcegui, Laurence Bonvin, Susanne Bosch, Lisa Cheung, Teddy Cruz, Iñaki Larrimbe, Josep-Maria Martín, Gustavo Romano and Pablo Valbuena) which we are presenting from 4th to 28th February 2010, although several of them have been active for some months now and in different forms in the city.

Participation in the open call was quite plentiful, reaching 587 proposals by 769 artists from around the world. In the area of sound art 48 were presented, from which we selected Sarah Boothroyd, Manuel Calurano/Anna Raimondo, Yves Coussement, Javier Díaz-Ena, Wade Matthews, Annemarie Steinvoort, Matthew Verdon, Hernani Villaseñor and Gloria Zein. To these were added the audiovisual works of Fausto Grossi, Sinbait (Puy San Martín y Nerea Lekuona), Izibeñe Oñederra, Logela, Iván Argote, David Elgea, Furarellefalle, Xuban Intxausti, Wolf D. Schreiber, Fabricio Caiazza, Lobo Pasolini and the group Left Hand Rotation, selected in the ninth and tenth edition of, a project which has decided to close its cycle of activities with the participation of guests such as Antoni Muntadas, Eugeni Bonet, Antoni Mercader and Joaquim Dols, whose works were also included in our section on audiovisuals.

In February 2009, we held at La Casa Encendida in Madrid the seminar Urban Buddy Scheme, together with a presentation of the artists and a meeting to prepare their projects in the form of an open workshop. The Spanish participants invited were Basurama, C.A.S.I.T.A., Javier Duero, Exprimentolimon, Uriel Fogué, Andrés Jaque, Kawamura-Ganjavian, Ludotek, Luis Úrculo and Wunderkammer, and from other countries, Alexander Gerdel (Venezuela), International Festival (Sweden), Kyong Park (USA), Adriana Salazar (Colombia) and STEALTH.unlimited (Serbia/Netherlands). The seminar analysed the possibilities of a socio-cultural and politically engaged collaborative effort, as well as the way in which such an initiative could act as a catalyst for change in the city, striving to activate processes that integrate new scopes of knowledge within existing ones.

Thanks to this new biennial format, the artists selected have had more time to become familiar with the local context and to prepare their projects, also facilitating various connections between some of the projects and between several of them with many city agents. This has also allowed addressing some of the gaps which concern us most, such as the lack of an educational programme. As a result of the collaboration of the doctorate programme Art Applications in Social Integration of the Faculty of Education at the Complutense University of Madrid and thanks to the interest of its director, Marián López Fernández-Cao, we have had the valuable contribution of María Molina, who has prepared a prototype of an educational workshop and then developed it as a pilot experience (Aula Abierta), as well as providing part of the contents for the specific projects by Susanne Bosch and Lisa Cheung.

Other of the usual failings is the lack of resources to communicate the projects, since our choice has always been to favour production. Throughout 2009 we distributed the book Madrid Abierto 2004-2008, which includes the fifty-five projects conducted in the first five editions, as well as the pieces selected in the sound and audiovisual sections and the roundtables held. Additionally, the information desk at La Casa Encendida, as well as the roundtables and artist presentations, have helped overcome this lack of information in the latest editions, together with the distribution of fifty thousand issues of this publication. Nonetheless, information out in the street is still a weakness of this and many other programmes of public art. Previously we used various means to resolve this issue, and we even built, together with a street furniture company, an information point prototype designed by Kawamura-Ganjavian. Now we have taken another small step by producing the INFOMAB, also designed by them at their Studio Banana, a space with which Madrid Abierto aims to extend this collaboration, in a similar way as that promoted by Mariano Serrano, who has collaborated in various aspects of this edition, as well as Iñaki Domínguez, Jorge Todolí, Sonsoles Rodríguez and Paula González. We would like to thank all of them most sincerely and in particular, we would like to thank Marta de la Torriente, whose work as general coordinator is never sufficiently acknowledged.     

Organised by the Cultural Association MADRID ABIERTO, this edition is being promoted by the Vice Presidency, Regional Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Office of the Spokesperson of the Regional Government of Madrid and the Government Area of Arts of the Madrid Council, with the collaboration of Casa de América, Fundación Telefónica, La Casa Encendida, Círculo de Bellas Artes, ARCO, Ministerio de Cultura, Radio Nacional de España, Canal Metro, Fundación Rodríguez/Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Pro Helvetia, British Council, Art Council of North Ireland, Canada Council for the Arts, AECID, Teatro Fernán Gómez, Studio Kawamura-Ganjavian and Zoohaus. Continuing with the work of previous editions RMS La Asociación is in charge of coordination and equipo 451 of graphics and the web ( Our thanks as well go to all of them.


.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................JORGE DÍEZCultural director and curator. Director of Madrid Abierto and co-director of the MBA in Companies and Cultural Institutions of the Santillana/Salamanca University, curator of the 2008-09 program Espai 13 of the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona.














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2009-2010. Jorge Díez. MADRID ABIERTO 2004-2010



Madrid Abierto is an artistic interventions programme aimed at activating the public space by reflecting on our political, social and cultural environment through contemporary art. Artistic practices that seek new spaces of interaction based on multidisciplinary and contextual approaches, together with the concepts of public sphere, territory and identity, are in the theoretical and programmatic nucleus of projects like Idensitat, which we will turn to later, whilst in the case of Madrid Abierto, these artistic practices have gradually emerged in the event’s trajectory, comparing and contrasting them with each annual edition’s experience. A trajectory of five consecutive years that has entailed a gratifying but exhausting effort, centred on the production of projects presented in response to an international open call for participants which has generated increased interest among artists.  The number of participants has risen from 234 in 2004 to 567 in 2008, and the temporary or ephemeral interventions have taken place in the month of February with some form of reference or presence around the junction Paseo del Prado-Recoletos-Castellana of the city of Madrid.

From Arnold Hauser[2] to the more recent Deyan Sudjic[3], different authors have described how since the Greek era political leaders have used art and architecture to seduce, impress and intimidate their subjects by depriving them of their condition of citizens and, therefore, of being active agents of the social configuration of the public space. This function of art, even with the variations produced in the concept of art, remained in place over time and first came into question with the avant-gardes of the early 20th century, facing head-on opposition in the decade of 1960 by the different artists and groups in some way involved with the idea and practice of public art, for example, Siah Armajani[4]. In the presentation of Madrid Abierto in 2003 we already aligned ourselves with Lucy R. Lippard in her definition of public art as “accessible work of any kind that cares about, challenges, involves, and consults the audience for or with whom it is made, respecting community and environment; the other stuff is still private art, no matter how big or exposed or intrusive or hyped it may be”[5].


The context: setting and background

Our project is based in the city of Madrid[6], although we initially set ourselves the still pending objective of expanding or connecting it to the largest cities of the Autonomous Community of Madrid and to try to organise the isolated initiatives emerging in a number of those cities[7]. And in the city of Madrid the decision was made to intervene in the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana, which crosses the city from south to north and concentrates the offices of the most important institutions and cultural, political and economic organisations, a faithful representation of the historic and current power through buildings and monuments. The reason for this decision, questioned with good reason by certain sectors of the artistic sphere, requires a description of the origins of the project.

The International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO), which held its twenty-seventh edition in 2008, stands among the world’s most important art events for the large number of visitors and the wide range of activities associated with the different fields of art. In the space of the five or six days of the ARCO event, both the exhibition site and the city of Madrid become a meeting point for artists, gallery owners, collectors, critics, curators, researchers, the media, museum directors and public and private cultural institutions, as well as, as opposed to other fairs, a large and very young public coming from different parts of Spain to meet this annual appointment with contemporary art. This fair began in 1982, the same year that the Socialist Party won the general elections, the year after the failed coup d’état of February 23rd and five years after Spain’s return to democracy, following the long period of General Franco’s dictatorship. At that time, the Spanish gallery sector was extremely weak, institutional contemporary art initiatives were scant and collecting was practically inexistent. With the arrival of the director, Rosina Gómez Baeza, the objective of the fair to promote the collection of and to generate a market for contemporary art was rounded off with two parallel lines of action. On the one hand, the presence of institutional spaces in the fair, which gradually increased in number and size in line with the emergence of more contemporary art centres and museums and the collections of large companies, which through foundations, awards or competitions sought to associate their image with the country’s modernisation process and, at the same time, obtain added fiscal advantages. On the other hand, the organisation of all kinds of activities associated with mediums like video, music, design and internet, as well as seminars and forums, managing to bring together in the space of a few days more activities than those organised during the rest of the year through the regular programmes of the city’s cultural institutions. All in all, ARCO became the great annual artistic and commercial event which absorbed a large part of the resources and much energy.  This double facet of artistic and commercial event represented both ARCO’s success, even surviving the difficult years of the nineties, and its weaknesses. In recent years an attempt was made to re-steer the fair towards a more professional format, comparable with that of the most important international fairs, an objective the new director, Lourdes Fernández, is working towards with the enormous difficulty of finding an individual niche for ARCO against the backdrop of the Anglo-Saxon and central-European dominant position and the strength of emerging powers like China.

Thus, within the numerous activities generated by ARCO over the years, in 2000 it presented the Open Spaces, sponsored by Fundación Altadis, a foundation dependent on the Spanish-French company of the same name, heir to the old public monopoly on tobacco, which in January 2008 was bought by the British company, Imperial Tobacco. On that first occasion, several works of art, basically sculptures, both for the public and the exhibition space,  were selected and installed in the fair’s exterior accesses, and a number of round tables on public art were organised. The following year, through a competition between various galleries and institutions, a number of pieces were installed in different passage ways of the installations of the fair, and a jury presided by Jérôme Sans, then co-director of the Palais de Tokio in Paris, awarded the prize to the best work.

Although the term “public art” was called into question, on a general and non-specialised level, public art continued to be largely identified with sculpture in public spaces. These unsuccessful Open Spaces in ARCO mainly responded to this approach and were strongly criticised by a sector of artists and specialists. Consequently, the project Madrid Abierto emerged as a result of the suggestions of ARCO’s director and the competent persons of Altadis, and after many consultations and a long period of work meetings, aimed at organising artistic interventions outside the fair, in the public space of the city of Madrid. Initially, the physical space was confined to the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana as this made it possible to incorporate into project institutions like Fundación Canal, Casa de América and Círculo de Bellas Artes, whose offices would become the subject of interventions, the sponsors could be given the visibility that they demanded and it made it possible to concentrate the work of the artists (initially restricted to less than eight) in a central and accessible space. From an artistic point of view, the disadvantages to this were plain to see and accusations of "decorativism" and subordination to ARCO and the institutions were soon heard. However, in 2008 the fifth consecutive edition since 2004 was held, managing to expand the physical space outside the above-mentioned junction and to produce all kinds of projects in any environment. The fifty-five interventions included in this publication have been produced and the pieces of work selected in the last two editions in the categories of audiovisual and sonorous art, a total of forty works, twenty in each category, also mentioned in this publication, have been transmitted in different specialised media.

The visual arts sector in Spain has undergone a deep transformation process in the last twenty years, in terms of the artistic market, private initiative through collections, foundations, art centres and awards, and public activity. Many cultural centres, museums and exhibition centres have been opened, in the midst of a sometimes absurd competition between the different public administrations. However, deficiencies in education, training, production and international presence continue to be very large. Looking further back we can see that, despite the strict political control and the censorship under Franco's dictatorship regime and the efforts of the regime to improve its image by participating in international exhibitions and biennials in the fifties and sixties, culture was one of the most active battlegrounds of Franco’s left-wing opponents, particularly in the seventies.

Spain’s recovery of democratic liberties and rights brought a burst of initiatives in the cultural terrain, on many occasions, of a festive nature and with the street as stage. The “movida madrileña”, the hallmark of that thirst for entertainment and creativity reached the furthest points of the planet, and the most important media channels echoed it as a synonym of youth, freedom, art and culture. In the field of plastic arts, the German Neo-Expressionism and the Italian Transvanguard found fertile ground in our country, and all Spanish conceptual art, simultaneously critical with the regime and with the dominant artistic tendencies, was swiftly and selfishly buried by the triumphant new figuration, which on the one hand connected with the sculptural and pictorial tradition and, on the other, reflected the general yearning for political and cultural normalisation.  

As if that weren’t enough, after ‘la movida’ of the eighties, parallel to the crisis of the international art market in the nineties and the triumph of the Neoliberalism of Thatcher and Reagan, Madrid suffered a serious setback, coinciding with a long period of the most anachronistic conservatism in the city’s government, aggravated by a lack of solid cultural structures and the still too recent weak cultural public policies in Spain. A symbol of this setback was the installation in the centric crossroads of the street Alcalá with Gran Vía of the sculpture, La Violetera, as a tribute to the seller of violets staring in the zarzuela of the same name. As a result of an exhibition held by the Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, several of his works of art were purchased and installed in the Paseo de la Castellana. Both initiatives were strongly criticised in artistic and urban-planning media, particularly the sculpture of La Violetera, which was removed and subsequently installed more discreetly in another part of Madrid.  The original spot was used in Madrid Abierto 2004 to install Perspectiva Ciudadana by Fernando Sánchez. The work revealed, on a low platform, the molten bronze fragments of the statute of Felipe IV located in Madrid’s Plaza de Oriente, acting with the same popular strategies of false historic representation or romantic ruin to defend the continuous questioning of the imposed or desired heroes that historically have been eliminated and swiftly replaced. The work of Sánchez Castillo produced by Madrid Abierto was subsequently exhibited in different exhibitions and was finally bought by the Artium museum in Vitoria to add to its collection.  But when it first appeared, Perspectiva Ciudadana, and consequently Madrid Abierto, was the target of sarcastic criticism by Fernando Castro Flórez[8], who later went back on his words or the evolution of the project was so radical that it led him to change his mind[9]. On the same spot where Perspectiva Ciudadana was installed, Alonso Gil and Francis Gomila intervened in 2007 with Guantanamera, a multimedia project that reflected on the use of music as a torture instrument.

Going back to Madrid’s municipal policy, in that same period other sculptures of a number of Spanish politicians of the 19th century were also placed throughout the city, as well as a series of fountains and monoliths combined with the heavy and lavish urban furniture introduced by that municipal government. Subsequently, the post of mayor was filled by Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, of the same political wing, who made his major projects, also in the cultural terrain, the hallmarks of his administration. Projects like Matadero Madrid or Noche en Blanco are, with their pros and cons, the most relevant in the cultural arena. The same team that is currently working with this mayor in the area of culture, headed by  Alicia Moreno and Carlos Baztán, backed the creation of Madrid Abierto from the Government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid when Ruiz Gallardón was its president, and once in the City Council, he continued to do so as of the first edition in 2004, in addition to acting as our interlocutor in processing the installation permits for the interventions, one of the key and problematic areas of any public art project, co-ordinated by the General Directorate for Cultural Projects and its most senior head, Cristina Conde. Likewise, the Department of Culture of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, headed by Santiago Fisas, has collaborated in a decisive way in the five editions organised through the successive general directors of Archives, Museums and Libraries, Álvaro Ballarín and Isabel Rosell.

If we look to Barcelona, the presence of art in the public space has been different as a result of its urban-planning policy after the restoration of democracy and the strong impulse of the Olympic Games of 1992, which the city has tried to give continuity to with the largely failed operation of the Fòrum de las Culturas. The works of Antoni Tàpies, Roy Lichtenstein, Francesc Torres, Rebecca Horn and Tom Carr, among many other recognised artists, have played a role in the city’s urban-planning transformation strategy. The work of other famous artists has also been appearing in other Spanish cities, for example, Manuel Valdés, Andrés Nagel and Miquel Navarro, through an increasing number of competitions and commissions. Such initiatives are generally in the form of the permanent installation of monumental sculptures in public spaces, largely of a figurative nature and with the commemorative or symbolic zeal of the new democratic powers, generally associated with specific public works - although, in the worst cases, they are purely based on the personal taste of the public authority commissioning the work or the individual’s connivance with some clever gallery owner or curator. Thus, for example, in 2003 a certain scandal broke out as a result of the acquisition of paintings by the Ministry of Development, under the Presidency of Aznar, whose minister, Francisco Álvarez Cascos, commissioned the works to the Marlborough gallery and International Public Art, which the minister’s girlfriend happened to be a consultant to.  It also transpired that the organisations responsible for airports, railways and roads, also dependent on the Ministry of Development, also acquired works of art from the same sources totalling 3.3 million euros.


The model of Madrid Abierto

However, that is neither the scale nor the model of Madrid Abierto, which is closer to several initiatives that emerged in Spain at the end of the decade of 1990 and which, from the artistic sphere, put emphasis on the social and political context, generally from critical standpoints, to interact with these contexts by involving the public. One such initiative was Capital Confort, produced by the collective of artists, El Perro, in Alcorcón (Madrid) between 1997 and 2002, as well as the above-mentioned Idensitat, called Calaf Arte Público in its first edition in 1999, directed by Ramon Parramon, who successfully reconverted a sculpture competition of this small town (3,435 inhabitants) in the province of Barcelona, extending it in successive editions to other cities like Mataró and Manresa, to generate an interesting network. Ramon Parramon, Pablo España and Iván López, original members of the former group of visual artists, El Perro, who have since created the group, Democracia, (curators of the 2008 edition), have participated in different ways in the successive editions of Madrid Abierto and form part of the advisory committee set up in 2007 to review the model of our project, together with Cecilia Andersson, Guillaume Désanges, Arturo-Fito Rodríguez and Mª Inés Rodríguez, with the co-ordination of Rocío Gracia, art historian and member of RMS La Asociación.

Looking at international projects like Skulptur Projekte in Münster (Germany), whose first edition was held in 1977, or inSite_05 in the border between the United States and Mexico, in San Diego-Tijuana, held between 2003 and 2005 for the purpose of stimulating public domain experiences in the everyday flows of that border zone, as well as other initiatives like Muestra de luces de artistas associated with the promotion of the Winter Olympic Games of Turin or the public art programme parallel to the Istanbul Biennial (Turkey), we can make a number of observations on their scale and projection. For example, most of these projects are held in medium or small cities, are associated with other events that either gave rise them or are organised to complement the first, and they depend on public initiative or funds. These features appear throughout this text as we contextualise Madrid Abierto and explain its evolution and current state, as of its above-mentioned origins in the Open Spaces of Fundación Altadis in ARCO.

The initial work meetings, which began in March 2002, repeatedly came up against the differences between the physical and economic scale of an exhibition inside the fair and the possible interventions in the public space of the city of Madrid, in addition to the objective difficulty of reconciling the concept of public art with that of a commercial fair and with some of the most important galleries’ opposition to any activity held outside the installations of the fair, which in their opinion might distract collectors and potential buyers visiting ARCO. As a reference, an amount of fifty thousand euros was considered for producing a project of an adequate artistic scale and quality, which was the initially available total budget. In addition, and for various reasons, none of the public institutions were single-handedly prepared to join Fundación Altadis in directing the project.

Faced with this situation, I proposed redesigning and directing the project externally, focussing it on the production of artistic interventions with a maximum assignation per intervention of six thousand euros (subsequently, the assignation was increased to twelve thousand euros per selected project, and in the 2009-2010 edition to fifteen thousand) and introducing it in two phases. In February 2003, coinciding with ARCO, four projects from invited emerging Spanish artists would be produced and installed in the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana and, simultaneously, the 2004 international call for participants would be published. ARCO would give up space inside the installations of the fair for the presentation of Madrid Abierto, would disseminate the international call for participants and would participate in the production of one of the interventions. The initial funds would come from Altadis, the City Council of Madrid and the Government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, who would assume the different expenses of the project.  During the rest of 2002, sponsorship agreements would be established with cultural institutions with offices in the area of the above-mentioned junction, such as Casa de América, Círculo de Bellas Artes and Fundación Canal, as well as with organisations associated with contemporary art, such as Fundación Telefónica. In addition, it was suggested that the TV programme, Metrópolis, shown on the 2nd channel of TVE, should produce a monographic programme on the first edition and that the State Society for Design and Innovation Development (Ddi) should be responsible for the promotional and information space in ARCO. The proposal was accepted and the lines of action began to be implemented with success. At the end of the year, the procedure for obtaining the installation permits for the four invited projects was initiated and blocked by the Committee for Urban Aesthetics, set up by Madrid’s mayor, Álvarez del Manzano. With hardly any room for manoeuvre to try to have the decision overturned, in the month of December we proposed, and it was accepted, the launch of the call for participants to the event forecasted for 2004, which would include the previously invited projects. With the only supports of a bilingual Spanish-English leaflet establishing the conditions of the call for participants, two advertisements in specialised Internet providers and the dissemination of information to the media, we received 234 proposals from 316 artists from 25 countries, with 57 projects for the specific intervention on the Elevated Deposit of Fundación Canal. The Arts Department of the new municipal government appointed Teresa Velázquez (subsequently director of the Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid and contents director of Matadero Madrid, currently responsible for the exhibitions of the MNCARS) to co-ordinate the processing of all the installation permits, an always crucial issue, especially in the first edition. That first edition took place between the 5th and the 22nd of February 2004 and had very wide and positive media coverage, although it also received strong criticism in certain cultural supplements, which interpreted it as another ARCO event without the necessary maturity from an artistic point of view. The assessment of the sponsors was positive and they agreed to continue lending their support.

Four editions later, one of the above-mentioned supplements praised Madrid Abierto 2008 because “it probes into its role, its mission, its function, its need, its aesthetic validity, its plastic command, its political approaches, i.e. citizenry”[10]. After five editions, the advisory committee to Madrid Abierto spent one year carrying out an analysis and debate on a new model for the programme which, on the approval of the sponsors, gave rise to the call for participants to the 2009-2010 edition.  The general lines agreed were:

-         Maintain the open call for participants.  The number of invited artists may not exceed 50% of the total number of artists selected in the open call for participants.

-         Establish a biannual regularity, dedicating the first year to the round tables, including the presentation of selected artists, and incorporating the artists into the work sessions in an open workshop format. Continue to hold the interventions in the month of February of the second year.

-         Include in the call for participants a brief introduction generally contextualising the event plus a specific text from the curators.

-         Proceed with the physical and conceptual overflow in the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana.

-         Continue with the audiovisual and sonorous sessions and expand the specific media for their transmission.

-         Maintain the current advisory committee until completing a cycle in which all the members have performed curator tasks in Madrid Abierto.

-         Generate documents and publications to expand on the experience and knowledge gained from the editions held.

On another front, we are aware that the resources available and the management structure are to blame for the current dissemination shortfalls and the lack of, for example, a pedagogical programme. Currently, the project is managed by the Cultural Association Madrid Abierto, set up for the sole purpose of developing the project, since in the first three editions the project did not have a defined institution or entity directing it but several institutions headed by the main three sponsors plus a small number of persons, between three and five, in charge of management and co-ordination tasks. An essential boost, both for the continuity of Madrid Abierto and for setting up the association, was given by the director of Fundación Altadis, Alberto Sanjuanbenito, as in practice, the foundation was forced to assume a series of legal tasks and responsibilities, as well as others of a different nature, which went beyond those corresponding to the foundation’s role of cosponsor.

From the beginning, the technical management has been performed by a management company specialised in the artistic sector, RMS La Asociación, in which Marta de la Torriente has assumed the general co-ordination of Madrid Abierto. All the image, graphic and web design tasks have also been realised, from the first edition, by a designer involved in contemporary art reflection and practices, Aitor Méndez, in collaboration with Fernando A. Cienfuegos. The rest of the tasks have been contracted out, on an individual basis, to different professionals and, occasionally, students from Universidad Europea of Madrid have collaborated in the odd project and, in the last two editions, students doing work practice as part of the MBA course on Cultural Companies and Institutions offered by Santillana Formación/Universidad de Salamanca. 

Therefore, the project has no fixed personnel structure in place or a permanent physical office, which allows reduced operating costs and greater flexibility.  However, the other side of the coin is that the expansion of the project is restricted, specific aspects cannot be given the necessary continuity and the response to all the occasional incidents inherent to conducting a project of interventions in the public space is often fragile and unstable.

Madrid Abierto’s target public is the citizens of Madrid and its visitors, especially those interested in contemporary artistic practices, and professionals of the art world, many of whom concentrate in Madrid for ARCO. Although the time has come to leave certain clichés behind, such as taking art to the street or bringing art to the public, public art is no doubt called to appeal directly to the people, as well as to propose new forms of critical construction and use of the public space. Also evident, therefore, is the near impossibility to activate mass participation and wide knowledge of the proposals generated, beyond the interventions centred in specific communities or contexts of the city, despite the certain degree of imposition entailed in intervening in the public space. In this respect, and especially after the negotiation battle to ensure the installation of their work, the intervention of Dier and Noaz, authors of Estado de excepción, in the last edition’s round tables was very significant, as they addressed the imposing nature of their work, urban art, in sharp contrast with the egocentric and continued performance displayed by Jota Castro as of the presentation act to the press, as a result of an incident with his work, La hucha de los Incas. The disappearance of the moneybox the morning after it was installed, recovered by the municipal cleaning services at some distance from its original site in the area of the Open Air Sculpture Museum very close to where Dier and Noaz’s work was installed, and ready to be immediately reinstalled, was followed by a gruesome succession of events and the subsequent removal of the work by the artist. The incredible conclusion was Jota Castro’s offer to settle all the problems, together with his threats of lawsuits, by allowing him to collect the moneybox from where it had been deposited until the end of Madrid Abierto so that his gallery could sell it in ARCO. The incidents, the negotiation, the response of the public and the institutions are very important factors in any public art project and, to a certain extent can be anticipated, although with a high degree of uncertainty and, consequently, are difficult to manage. 

As mentioned above, the nucleus of Madrid Abierto is the production of artistic interventions in the public space of the city. An expanded space progressively extended from the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana to other physical and social contexts of the city, with the clearest examples seen in 2008, with the projects Explorando Usera by the group LHFA and Speculator-Empty World by the collective Todo por la Praxis. Together with the extension of the initial physical axis, from the beginning, different projects of Madrid Abierto have been developed in an extended public space, which has included advertising supports like panels, the network of monitors and screens of the Metro, different media like the press, radio, Internet and mobile phones. All sharing different intervention strategies in a public space understood as a communication environment dominated by commercial and institutional discourses. In this respect, the different artistic interventions try to generate proposals both of a symbolic and practical nature to open new critical and participation channels for the public in the configuration of the public space.

The selection of projects by Madrid Abierto through an international public call for participants responds to the double intention of combing the international panorama every year and using the call for participants as a channel for giving exposure to the project. Although it is true that a call for participants of these characteristics, until now with a maximum assignation of twelve thousand euros per project (includes production, travel expenses and the artist's fees), on the one hand, dissuades specific artists from participating and, on the other, increases the number of those who do, making the selection more difficult and giving rise to frustration in the organisation and many of the participating artists. In the past five editions, more than one thousand five hundred projects were received and a total of fifty-five produced, which is a considerable number but a very small share of all the proposals presented. On another front, the open call for participants complicates the curators’ task of co-ordinating and giving coherence to the whole of each year’s interventions, although the possibility of including guests and the curators describing their work guidelines in the call for participants attempts to correct these problems.


Sonorous and audiovisual art

The collaboration, in the first three editions, with the programme La ciudad invisible on Radio 3-RNE and with Canal Metro led us to consider the possibility of incorporating two specific calls for sonorous and audiovisual pieces into Madrid Abierto. Hence, in 2007 we selected eight specific works for radio and eleven audiovisuals from the twenty-four and seventy-four, respectively, proposals presented; in 2008, twelve sonorous projects were selected from the one hundred that responded to the call for participants and we incorporated the nine audiovisual pieces from the eighth edition of the project, Intervenciones TV, organised by Fundación Rodríguez and Centro Cultural Montehermoso of Vitoria-Gasteiz, with whom we have reached a collaboration agreement.

In both cases, they involve pre-existing pieces of a maximum length of ten minutes for the sonorous projects and three minutes for the audiovisual projects, with a payment of five hundred euros per author for broadcasting rights. A copy of all the projects is kept as part of Madrid Abierto’s document resources and public archive, and the artist may allow the work to be placed in Madrid Abierto’s website for non-profit purposes.  

On another front, in the first two editions, the contemporary culture programme, Metrópolis, shown on TVE’s channel 2, produced and broadcasted monographic reports on Madrid Abierto which, in addition to adding to the exposure of the project, fulfilled the purpose of documenting the project.


Round tables

Also, as of the third edition we widened our project to include a cycle of round tables in La Casa Encendida. Under different formats, these tables have included the presentation of projects by their artists and presentations on other national and international public art projects, such as El Perro (Capital Confort, Alcorcón, Madrid), Javier Ávila (Periferias, Gijón), Maribel Doménech/Emilio Martínez (Portes Obertes, El Cabanyal de Valencia), Ramon Parramon (Idensitat, Calaf, Barcelona), Bartolomeo Pietromarchi (Trans:it Moving Culture through Europe, research project), Cecilia Andersson (Urban Workshop, Liverpool), Guillaume Désanges (cofounder of Work Method, agency based in Paris and co-ordinator of artistic projects of Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers), Dionisio Cañas (Cambio de Sentido, Cinco Casas, Ciudad Real), Tania Ragasol (inSite, Tijuana-San Diego), Arturo Rodríguez (Tester, project on the Web), Mª Inés Rodríguez (Tropical paper editions, editorial projects of artists), Daniel Villegas (Madrid Procesos), Vít Havránek (Tranzit, Praga) and Nelson Brissac (Arte Cidade, Sao Paulo).      



The total expense budget, which in the first edition was one hundred and twenty-six thousand euros, is now two hundred and seventy thousand euros, mostly funded by the three main sponsors (Fundación Altadis, the City Council of Madrid and the Government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid) and the rest by other collaborators such as ARCO, Casa de América, Fundación Telefónica, the general directorates for Co-operation and Fines Arts of the Ministry of Culture, La Casa Encendida, and the odd donation from the embassies of the participating artists’ countries, production companies or galleries in very specific projects. We should also highlight the collaboration of certain institutions that display projects, such as Círculo de Bellas Artes, Centro Cultural de la Villa and the above-mentioned Casa Encendida, which has become one of our most important collaborators as venue of the round tables and the presentation of projects, as well as acting as a permanent consultation centre on all the previous interventions and editions since the start of Madrid Abierto.

Approximately 65% of the budget is spent on the production of projects, including travel and artists’ fees; 15% on personnel expenses, including members of the jury and curators; 15% on publications, dissemination material and the information point; and 5% on sundry expenses, nearly half of this on advertising, confined to specialised media on the Internet.


Results and dissemination

In the five editions held, 55 artistic interventions have been produced, 20 sonorous pieces have been transmitted and 20 audiovisual works shown. Three round table cycles on public art have been held. In addition, an annual information journal with a print run of 50.000 copies has been published and distributed in the information points, by the collaborating entities and ARCO. Each of the editions has been documented in photographs and video and all the information is available on the website In collaboration with Fundación Telefónica, the publication Locutorio Colón has been launched, the result of a project by Ali Ganjavian, Maki and Key Portilla-Kawamura, and Tadanori Yamaguchi, of the same name, produced in the 2006 edition.

The project has been presented, among others, in the visual arts symposium, Simposio de Artes Visuales, La naturaleza pública del arte, Universidad Federal de Espíritu Santo de Vitoria, Brazil (June 2008); the workshops on architecture, art and the city, Jornadas-Encuentro de Arquitectura, Arte y Ciudad Simbiocity, Tabacalera, San Sebastián (May 2008); the 10th Spain-Japan Forum held in Nagasaki (October 2007); the 16th symposium on plastic arts, 16º Simposio de Artes Plásticas de Porto Alegre (Brazil), Experiencias actuales en arte público (July 2007); the course, Contextos y proyectos de arte público. Modelos efímeros de intervención, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO), Vigo (February 2007); the debate workshops, Cuestionando el arte público: proyectos, procesos y programas, Idensitat, Centro de Arte Santa Mónica de Barcelona (2006); and the 4th International Conference on Public Art, held in Taipei (Taiwan), Espacios públicos y arte público  (2004).

The international exposure has been very positive and the response from the public in the different presentations given has also been favourable. With regard to the public, which every year either voluntarily or casually comes faces to face with the artistic interventions produced by Madrid Abierto, the above-mentioned programmes produced by Metrópolis, and many radio and television reports, reflect the reactions of individual members of the public.  However, in general, news and current events programmes tend to emphasise the public’s surprise at these contemporary art projects or to provoke a jokily response, often because they do not have the necessary means to contextualise the project in the everyday interests of the public, which paradoxically are the origin of many of the projects. There are many people who, at first out of curiosity, have gone to see, for example, in 2008, the project by Santiago Cirugeda, Construye tu casa en una azotea, and then have explored the subject further or joined the project’s debates on housing, Empty World. Only in very specific cases do we have real figures on participation, such as the approximately eight thousand persons who went to see, after having signed the required safety conditions, the Mirador nómada by the Mexican artist, José Dávila, in Casa de América in 2005. However, a merely quantitative assessment would suggest that the several hundred immigrants who participated in Locutorio Colón in 2006 or the nearly four hundred persons who voted to select the buildings virtually demolished by El Perro in 2004 are a negative result, when in fact the exposure, the knowledge and the artistic repercussion of both projects were very significant[11].

With regard to the media, as mentioned, despite the lack of backing from  advertising companies, the exposure is very wide in terms of number of media channels and reports published, compared with other artistic events, and the specialised press has gradually shifted from a certain indifference to general positive recognition.


Outlook and future issues

As mentioned above, an advisory committee has spent one year debating the current model (regularity, type of call for participants, curatorship model, selection of artists, setting, objectives, debates and publications) and the future prospects of the project, incorporating the conclusions into the call for participants to the 2009-2010 edition, where everything which up until now we had been doing on an annual basis will be spread in the space of two years. After these five editions, the projects seems firmly consolidated in the artistic environment, but its continuity is complex, given the recent takeover of Altadis by Imperial Tobacco, the line of activities developed by the City Council of Madrid for the project and the restrictions in the way of managing the project under the current management structure.

We are also up against a series of questions that only practice can answer, whilst no doubt others will arise. There are very specific aspects open to debate such as the suitability of the association’s legal status with regard to managing the project, or the possibility of extending the interventions in time, which a biannual model could facilitate. Also, from the point of view of the continuity of this kind of projects in time it is worth considering the combination of private and public funding as well as that of a number of collaborating institutions and companies, which can vary each year in line with the specific projects; this could guarantee more independence, but at the same time it multiplies the annual sponsorship tasks and restricts the contributions of each sponsor by having to share the limelight of the initiative with others, which can make the project even more fragile. Of a more general nature, other issues must also be addressed, such as the possibility of separating the management from the contents of an artistic interventions project in the public space, i.e., to what extent is it possible to manage a project that seeks to position itself in the context of a city like Madrid from a purely cultural approach or should we consider a more social approach. Likewise, we should also consider the degree of invention and continuous reconversion necessary to hold one’s place, through contemporary artistic practices, in a terrain dominated by the market and institutions, especially when some of those institutions end up reproducing similar projects with far more resources, and when in its campaigns commercial advertising steals the language and the tactics used by public art. Without of course forgetting the so-often-absent theoretical star or target of these initiatives: the public.

[1] A precursor of this text, with a different structure and approach, was published in Gestión cultural. Estudios de caso. Barcelona: Ariel, 2008, pages 257-277.

[2] “The tyrants (the Greeks) employ art not merely as a means to fame and a propaganda instrument but also as an opiate to soothe the opposition”. Hauser, Arnold. The Social History of Art. Routledge, 1999.

[3] Vid. Sudjic, Deyan. The Edifice Complex.  Penguin, 2006.

[4] “Let’s not fool ourselves: the cultural image of the city no longer depends on erecting monuments or  placing decorative works; on the contrary, this is a time of growing social and cultural rejection towards "commemoration" sculptures and ornamental statues. Citizens are increasingly refusing to accept the imposition of monumental landmarks that they disagree with, and public places being taken up by works of art that are a testimony to the personal tastes, the imaginative capacity and the individual expressions of artists with whom citizens don’t identify with. Citizens prefer interventions in the shape of what since the decade of 1960 has been referred to as ‘public art’, an art that cares for and tries to satisfy the specific needs of the public and to replace ‘the myth of the artist’ with a civic sense of ‘useful art’, capable of sensitizing everyday spaces, constructions and objects”. Marín-Medina, José. The Useful Sculpture: Siah Armajani. El Cultural [El Mundo]. 10th-16th October 1999, pages. 32-33.

[5] Lippard, Lucy R. Looking Around: Where We Are, Where We Could Be. In: Mapping the Terrain: Genre Public Art. Seattle: Bay Press, 1995.

[6] 3,128,600 registered inhabitants in the city and 6,008,183 in the Autonomous Community in 2006. Source: Institute of Statistics of the Autonomous Community of Madrid.

[7] For example, in Alcobendas (104,118 inhabitants), Arganda del Rey (45,085), Alcorcón (164,633) and Leganés (182,471). Ibid.

[8] “I was walking through the street of Alcalá, if I may use the phrase of the “chotis” song, when I came across, or rather, no exaggeration, I nearly tripped over a pile of metal things scattered on the floor. I thought it was the fault of the decades-old compulsion, zoologically common in moles, of the City of Madrid to dig up the streets. I admit that I had had a rough evening. Before I began to blaspheme, I realised that what my eyes were seeing was a ‘sculpture’, cut in pieces more than deconstructed. The plaque took me from a furious uncertainty to a mixture of perplexity and sadness. (…) I hadn’t seen anything so (once more, excuse me for saying what I think, even at the expense of friendship) disastrous in a long time. (…) I thought, making a sudden mental connection, that one cannot misappropriate the spot of La Violetera and get away with it. (…) The worst thing was that I even felt nostalgia for that tacky thing as a fitting antidote for trans-pompier art. (…) I will repeat myself over and over again in describing what I saw: stupidity served in bulk, aesthetics of posh (pseudo) antagonists, zombie literalism, canonised hash and mess and, something blatant, shameless plagiarism (for example, in those birds of Casa de América)”. Castro Flórez, Fernando. Nostalgias de La violetera (multi-pass, futuribles y otros merodeos). ABC Cultural [ABC]. 14th February 2004, p 32.

[9] “From the architectural interference of Santiago Cirugeda, to LaHostiaFineArts which sets out a post-situationist drift through Usera, the display of messages by Fernando Llanos in Videoman and the Watchtower of Noaz and Dier, we are evidencing something more than mere metaphorical operations to get over the act. All of them emphasise the urgent need to rethink the metropolitan, to offer courses and standpoints that go beyond aesthetic pleasure or the conversion of artistic experience into a supplement of entertainment culture. The community is not possible; we must escape a rhetoricalized nihilism or a hermetic attitude that will ultimately lead to critical impotence”. Castro Flórez, Fernando. El arte hueco y el montaje plano. ABCD de Las Artes y Las Letras [ABC]. 8th-14th March 2008, pp. 44-45.

[10] Pozuelo, Abel H. Madrid intervenido. El Cultural [El Mundo]. 14th-20th February 2008, pages 76-78.

[11] Other numeric data includes the number of visitors to Madrid Abierto’s website, which in 2007 was 42,066 with 235,963 pages consulted.  Only in the month of February 2008, the figures were 10,519 and 76,122, respectively, 49,761 pages corresponding to the USA, 18,566 to Spain, 2,257 to non-identified countries and 1,924 to other EU countries.


.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................JORGE DÍEZCultural director and curator. Director of Madrid Abierto and co-director of the MBA in Companies and Cultural Institutions of the Santillana/Salamanca University, curator of the 2008-09 program Espai 13 of the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona.















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2009-2010. CALL FOR PROJECTS (rules and conditions)


1. Reflecting from the stance of contemporary art practice on cultural, social and political environment, the purpose of this call for applications is to select artists to produce interventions of a temporary or ephemeral nature aimed at contributing to activate the public space. The initiative includes two specific projects for the Casa de América and Círculo de Bellas Artes buildings, which will be incorporated into Madrid Abierto with other invited projects and selected sonorous and audiovisual works.

This edition of Madrid Abierto will be dedicated to emerging practices that critically engage with the urban environment. Madrid Abierto 2009-2010 aim to include a wide variety of practitioners and art forms that establish their strengths in an expanded role, and that work in the social realm of art practice and audience participation. The idea is to produce and show work that connect various disciplines and that opens up for collaborations between, for example, artists, architects, designers, computer programmers, social scientists and urban planners.                             

For cities to thrive, to be communicative and alive, and to function as catalysers of public life, it is necessary to stimulate civic participation and community involvement. Given the current framework, where society often fail to negotiate some of the most immediate challenges, how can pooling resources such as the ones found in interdisciplinary groups, develop alternative work methods? How can inertia and nostalgia be substituted by visionary and inspiring tools that act as catalysts for change?

2. The programme schedule is as follows:

- Application deadline: until September 10th 2008.

- Selection of artists: until October 31st 2008.

- Preparatory meetings and seminars: February 2009.

- Elaboration of final projects: until April 30th 2009.

- Assessment of projects and installation permits: until June 30th 2009.

- Execution of artistic interventions and transmission of sound and audiovisual works: February 2010. 

3. Coinciding with ARCO, the interventions will be take place in February 2010 in Madrid, with some form of presence or reference in the junctions Paseo de la Castellana-Recoletos-Prado and Calle de Alcalá-Gran Vía.

The sound works will be transmitted by Radio 3, Radio Nacional de España in February 2010. Audiovisual works will be presented during this time too.

 4. Artists of all nationalities are encouraged to present their applications (except for the Casa de América project, which is open to Latin American artists only), either individually or as a team. In the case of team application, one representative must be appointed.

5.         A) Artistic interventions.-Each participant must include:

              * Curriculum of no more than 2000 characters with a photocopy of the author or authors’ National Identity Document (or equivalent).

              * Description of a project already executed and the draft of a project for Madrid. In both cases no more than 4000 characters.

              * A maximum of six sketches or images of the project or draft project in jpg format with a maximum resolution of 72 dpi.

             * Description of the technical set up and needs of the draft project.

              * Estimated and broken down budget of the draft project, including details of items that could possibly be self-financed.

              * All the files must be PC compatible. Files sent from an Apple computer must have adequate extensions (doc, xls, pdf, jpg, tif, etc.).

              * Should the above-mentioned information fail to be received in full, the participation will be rejected.

              * The maximum budget for each selected artist is 15,000 euros. In all cases this sum includes expenses derived from the preparatory meeting in February 2009, as well as travel, accommodation, production, transport and set up of the intervention in February 2010, the author or authors fees (up to a maximum of 2000 euros) and any applicable taxes.

              B) Sound Art.- Each participant must include:

              * Curriculum of no more than 2000 characters and a photocopy of the author or authors’ National Identity Document (or equivalent).

              * Description of the proposed piece, not exceeding 4000 characters.

* Maximum length of work is10 minutes per author and must be sent on a CD.

* Selected artists will receive 500 euros.  A direct master copy of the work will form part of the documentary collection and public archives of Madrid Abierto.  The work may possibly be placed on the website, for non-profitable purposes and with prior consent of the authors.

  C) Audiovisual work.- The audiovisual work selected in the 2008 and 2009 calls for applications for TV Interventions ( will form part of the Madrid Abierto 2009-2010 programme in collaboration with Fundación Rodríguez and   Centro Cultural Montehermoso (and may be transmitted by Canal Metro). Those selected will receive 500 euros and a direct master copy of the work will form part of the documentary collection and public archives of Madrid Abierto.  The work may possibly be placed on the website, for non-profitable purposes and with prior consent of the author

   Audiovisual applications will not be accepted through the Madrid Abierto application procedure.

6. All the proposals must be sent by electronic mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. prior to September 10th 2008.

7. The advisory committee of Madrid Abierto, presided by Programme Director Jorge Díez and comprised of Cecilia Andersson, Guillaume Dèsanges, Ramon Parramon, Mª Inés Rodríguez, Fito Rodríguez and artist group Democracia, participates in the various phases of this edition. Casa de América and Círculo de Bellas Artes will appoint a representative for the task of selecting each institution’s intervention.

Cecilia Andersson will be this edition’s curator. In collaboration with the advisory committee of Madrid Abierto, she selects the participating artists on the basis of their track record, the quality and viability of the proposals and the total reversibility of the interventions. The organiser may round off the selection with invited artists, up to a maximum of 50% of the total number of selected artists in the open invitation. Since these projects will occupy public spaces, Madrid Abierto will obtain the necessary municipal permits to the set up the interventions.

Should the selected artists use images or elements belonging to third parties, they must provide authorisation of the proprietors for the use of images or extracts in the project. 

8. Madrid Abierto reserves the right to publish and reproduce the selected artistic interventions for all purposes associated with the promotion of the programme, and shall incorporate all generated documentation into its documentary collection and publicThe selected projects and works are the property of the authors and, as the case may be, the promoting institutions shall have a preferential right to purchase them.

9. Participation in this call for applications entails full acceptance of the conditions of entry.













2008. Jorge Díez. PRESENTATION

MADRID ABIERTO comes to its fifth edition after so far receiving more than 1,500 proposals from artists from all over the world in response to the consecutive public invitations. The fifty one projects produced in these last five years have entailed a difficult but satisfying task, coupled with the recurring feeling of certain frustration in the thorough selection task which every year inevitably leaves several interventions, which no doubt are as interesting as those that finally manage to be executed, along the path. Added to this is the certainty that neither the resources nor the time available are enough to develop the potential of many proposals to the full, without ignoring the deficiencies, for example, in the dissemination and the educational aspect of a programme of this nature. Nevertheless, what began as an arduous restructuring of the Open Spaces of the Altadis Foundation in ARCO, has now taken the shape of an on-going approach programme to interpreting and understanding how the public space is constructed from a point of view of contemporary artistic practice, which for the last five years has been held in the month of February in the junction Prado-Recoletos-Castellana.

This project has sometimes received criticism from the most institutional to the most alternative spheres. The latter because, despite being managed independently through a cultural association, the event has been labelled as excessively institutional, and the former precisely because, being not quite sure into which circle of power to place the event, they have taken the liberty to make certain hypercritical comments to compensate for their usual half measures with future or potential clients. The fact is that, on occasion of this fifth edition, both the weaknesses detected and the criticisms received have spurred us to make an in-depth review of MADRID ABIERTO. To do this, we decided to set up an advisory committee co-ordinated by Rocío Gracia and comprised of Cecilia Andersson (director of Werk), Democracia, Guillaume Désanges (art co-ordinator in Les Laboratoires D’Aubervilliers, Îlle de France), Jorge Díez (director of Madrid Abierto), Ramon Parramon (director of IDENSITAT), Fito Rodríguez (Rodríguez Foundation) and Mª Inés Rodríguez (independent organiser).  This advisory committee has discussed all the aspects relative to the format, type of public invitation, selection, regularity, location, organisers and objectives of the programme. In addition, all the members of the advisory committee will participate in the public-art debate tables which will be held on the 7th and 8th of February in La Casa Encendida, together with the selected artists and representatives of other international projects, such as Nelson Brissac and Vit Havranek.  

This 2008 edition will be held from the 7th of February to the 2nd of March and it is organised by the group Democracia, which has selected the projects of  LHFA, Alicia Framis/Michael Lin, Anno Dijkstra, Guillaume Ségur, Andreas Templin, Todo por la Praxis, Fernando Llanos, Fernando Prats (Casa de América) and Annamarie Ho/Inmi Lee (Círculo de Bellas Artes), with the guests Jota Castro, Santiago Cirugeda, Santiago Sierra and a group of urban artists from Madrid (Noaz, Dier).

In this edition, the generic concept which the organisers have worked with has been that of conceiving the public art interventions as an opportunity to transmit messages that are unusual to the public space, the latter understood as a communication channel dominated by the discourse generated from the commercial and institutional spheres, both in terms of the specifically urban and architectural as well as the complex network of the media. Based on this premise, and the prior open invitation to projects, the selected interventions seek to generate thought on our immediate political, social and cultural environment. The aim is to approach how the city is organised, the role of art in the public space and the new forms of culture associated with urban life. In this respect, the different interventions aim to confront and question the relationship of the citizen with his/her environment, generating both symbolic and practical proposals.

In addition, once again, this year we have integrated a specific sonorous art section in which the work of Petra Dubach/ Mario Van Horrik, Avelino Sala/ Dano, Gregory Büttner, Carola Cintrón Moscoso, Pedro Torres, Debashis Sinha, Josh Goldman, Miguel Gil, Patrick Courtney, Hong-Kai Wang, Edith Alonso and Leopoldo Amigo have been selected for broadcast on Radio 3 of Radio Nacional de España. In collaboration with the Centro Cultural Montehermoso de Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Rodríguez Foundation, the audiovisual work of Estibaliz Sadaba, Itziar Okariz, Mabi Revuelta, Mikel Arbiza, Vanesa Castro, Maya Watanabe, Raúl Bajo, Andrew Senior and Yolanda de los Bueis, selected in the 8th edition of Intervenciones TV, round off the programme.   

This fifth edition is organised by the Asociación Cultural MADRID ABIERTO, with the sponsoring of the Altadis Foundation, the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Community of Madrid and the Arts Department of the City Council of Madrid, with the collaboration of La Casa de América, Círculo de Bellas Artes, ARCO, the Telefónica Foundation, Casa Encendida, the Ministry of Culture, Radio 3 of RNE and Canal Metro. Continuing with the work of previous editions, RMS La Asociación has been responsible for the co-ordination, and the 451 team has developed the graphic image and the web page (


.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................JORGE DÍEZDirector of Madrid Abierto and co-director of the MBA in Cultural Management, Santillana/Salamanca University. In 2007 he has co-curated with José Roca (Colombia) Cart[ajena] public art project promoted by SEACEX, developed within the IV Congress of Spanish at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. He has lectured in the Spain-Japon Forum at Nagasaki, Actual experience in Public Art at the 16º Arts Symposium at Porto Alegre, Brasil and, Contexts and projects in Public Art. Ephemera models of intervention, at the MARCO.









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 Let’s start with a compelling quotation: “Art must be directed against what it is conceived out of, and accordingly it becomes uncertain to the core.” This uncertainty highlighted by Adorno – this perplexity – brings us here to speak of a hypothetical death of the Spanish Republic. And we are to speak of a republic in a museum whose name is “Reina Sofía”. This contradiction has kept us away from the Ateneo, where this event had been due to take place. A traditionally republican venue that must have refused to take part, for reasons I am unaware of. These coincidences and polarities lead us to a strange paradox characteristic of death, poetics, symbolism and their destruction. We should not forget Blanchot’s reference, with Hegel, to the crusaders’ awareness that when they found the Sepulchre it would be empty. Moreover they knew that they could only release holiness from such emptiness. And this is also a question of ascertaining what crusade contemporary Spanish art is engaged in.

Considering the poetics expressed by contemporary art in terms of absence and presence is equivalent to acknowledging that artistic endeavour is not something that goes on habitually. Though artists are not mere executors of their work, we believe that, as creators of states, they belong increasingly in spheres linked to the reality of the artwork itself and to our valuation of the importance of its complex configuration. We may say that there is a dissonance between what is projected and what is achieved, between what is accomplished and what is forgotten. A distance similar to that occupied by a thought aware of its inherent impossibility. A flag as a symbol of an absence and as a focal point for a digression from the state into which Spanish art has evolved: a Spain not accustomed to elucidating the events that occurred during the Franco regime, busy wiping out the memory of those who did not share that single universal destiny and who experienced only indifference, silence, death and exile. So we find ourselves before the capacity of denial of a flag whose threads weave a poetic view of the very absence of the ruins of a political system cancelled out by haste and pardon. States of transition towards the return of a caramelized monarchy with subtly altered functions.

Adorno points to the importance of this destruction in art. Paul de Man propounds a definition of poetic thought in relation to its negative activity. This question concerns not only the flag’s intellectual and historical aspects but also – and importantly – its symbolic nature. Iconoclasm understood as one of the elements that establishes a poetics of forthcoming destruction, a contradictory presence: an anti-symbol. In a traditional sense, the iconoclasm shown by this flag is the prohibition of a still image linked to a form of fiction. Beyond is the very impossibility of representation, for what it seeks to show is prohibition itself and an inability to accomplish a work that begins and ends in itself. Iconoclasm is a matter of dissonance, mutation and polarity. And it is aimed at a negative, neutral and non-present space: a black flag of the Spanish Republic that seems to speak of the period from the end of the 2nd Republic to the advent of today’s democracy. This flag was not made in Munich by chance. Those speaking here are also younger than forty.

Like its very aesthetic and formal appearance, this blackness coincides in a metaphorical perplexity linked not only to the state of art but also to the political, economic and sociological situation in Spain. This denial vis-à-vis a certain situation leads to a revolt against emptiness which inevitably gives rise only to a linking of art and its negativity. It is a place of disaster, both for the possible presence of anything artistic in its materialization and in its formal aspect. In this respect the case of this sort of platonic conceptualism has to do with the expulsion of artists and poets from the city because their actions are regarded as false and fictitious, as not real. This is the traditional verdict meted out to negative art, wherever artists/poets are regarded as feigners or liars. But it is worth linking this work to the distinction between rebels and revolutionaries: ascertaining whether the aim is to accept the rules of the game albeit without conforming, or to seek a utopian change of order with a total transformation. What is plain to see is that melancholy and a manipulation of what is regarded as the norm in the world of art form the objective that leads to a disappearance akin to the dismantling of an artwork and the salvaging of a tradition that has been located in something called postminimalism.

It was precisely Baudrillard who pointed to the coexistence in art of a logic of disappearance and reconstruction, linking its effects to a consideration of art as a market and the market as art. A realistic aesthetic turnaround that is not capricious but that rather expresses an affinity: the art market is a work of art. It is in this interior capitalist process that Baudrillard points to the coexistence of two types of market. First, where valuation is traditional and items are bought and sold according to a real value. Second, a speculative market where a transaction is a gamble and valuation is uncontrollable. Where all is appearance. And it is not surprising that this same speculation applied to a symbol somehow destroys that market value, postulated as a limit. In any event, this flag was sewn in Munich.

The title has a background. España Negra is a book in which the painter Darío de Regoyos and the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren asserted that the Spanish flag should contain black stripes or silver shields, referring to the state of a country plunged into illiteracy and famine. It is odd that they should have written this book on their way to the Prado while the disaster of 1898 was taking place. In the case of this flag, which is now a poster, there is also a denunciation of the state of Spanish democracy, heir to the Franco regime and its last death rattles, struggling in the utopian Spanish separation of the republic and the consolidation of a constitutional monarchy with the King as figurehead. So this banner offers not the promise of a longed-for Third Republic but rather an affirmation of its cancellation: Spain always black. Complicated designations are thereby established where we have to choose because it is no longer a matter of slogans such as “fatherland or death” or republic as against monarchy. It is a matter of raising the awareness of the demos, the people, against the kratia, the established authority – established in the Spanish case in a more or less civilized way, but continuing a Spanish tradition dependent on representation. In the case of this current monarchy, it is clear that its role corresponds, as a representative of a modern, changed, progressive and ideal Spain, to a reality that is satisfied with itself. It is the image of the events that have culminated with celebrations centred on the King and the birthday of the Prince, who has also reached the age of 40. And this black flag sewn in Munich is really an anti-symbol of all this: a symbol that reacts against it; that is why we say that this black flag is transformed into a symbolic object. Its impossible presence points towards a form of behaviour whose concerns shift between giving a good impression, imposing silence and mourning realistically, in the knowledge that the latest attacks on the King and Queen’s image are no more than an assault on their symbolic position in what may be called a patriarchal than a paternalist state. As is rightly said, with the Republic and Azaña, Spain ceased to be Catholic. What we want to show, staying with this black anti-symbol, is that conception cancelling the premises that existed under the auspices of a more or less democratic Republic. In this connection we should not forget the series of executions that took place throughout Spain from 18 July 1936, at the end of the 2nd Republic. A violence in which it has been shown that 16,000 people were killed just in the province of Madrid. This flag should also speak of mourning for them. A self-referential symbol that speaks of the confinement and terror that also took place in those countless lockups in Madrid, notably including, oddly enough, one set up at the Círculo de Bellas Artes.

Returning to the inherent darkness of this ensign, standard or pennant, it may be linked, as Slavoj Zizeck says, to a concealment. Because in the same way that pictures of Kenyans stabbing and killing their fellows are shown openly, highlighting the full brutality of that horror and violence, we can in fact barely imagine the fate of those who died at the World Trade Centre or here in the environs of Atocha: they are people who were killed but there is no trace of the 6,000 victims, no blood or dismembered bodies; there is no blood, only despair. This darkness is precisely the elevation of what is real: a confinement which, via a representation, in the sense of pictures in newspapers or on CNN, seeks to cancel out the reality of a fact such as the violence of states and the terror which springs, as Derrida says, from their very constitution. Derrida identified the attack on the community made on 11 September as something that takes place in democracy. If Stockhausen claimed that it was a total work of art, Derrida asserted that the attack was something that had been allowed: “Terrorists,” he says, “are sometimes American citizens, and those of 11 September may have been so for some; they were, in any event, helped by American citizens; they stole American planes, they flew in American planes, they took off from American airports.” It goes without saying that that same darkness was present at the attack in Atocha. So nihilists are no longer the old romantic terrorists, or today’s masked bombers. In today’s nihilist and destructive reality they are also states that vigilantly monitor public health, but what they conceal is the power of those who are strongest. And the closer we are to the strong, the more security we are offered.

Why should we be surprised by that unexceptional violence in the place that allowed the planes to take off with terrorists of US nationality, despite their origin? Why should we be simplistically surprised by that violence and not remember what has been going on in Spain since the early 20th century? Isn’t Spain dark enough for its non plus ultra thresholds to be still appreciable? In this impasse we find Spain’s black constancy, a darkness present as a place, as topos. Consider for example the exhibition next to this room called La noche española (The Spanish night), which continues to show an image that fails to correspond to the Spanish reality of illiteracy and famine, which continues to dig up the least appropriate clichés, based on the significance of gypsies or manual workers in popular imagery or on the effigy of a Spanish woman holding a gun. And whose title and subtitle coincide with this Spanish period, from 1865 to 1936.

For after nearly 40 years of democracy in Spain it worth looking at the influence that art has had on today’s society. An impossible undertaking and, indeed, finding one’s place in it is a never-ending task. If we consider the transition from the late Franco regime to democracy, we see that this influence really is important for various reasons, either because of the joy felt after Franco’s death or because that outdated political, economic and cultural system was collapsing. What has this to do with the dark state of Spain in those times? Though it is true that, politically, we were not in the situation of the post-war years, nor of the 50s or 60s, the Franco regime clearly sought to obstruct the expansion of what may be called the “cultural industry”. What were the main areas in which artists and intellectuals needed to act? What relationship was there between what was called “highbrow” and “lowbrow” culture and a Spanish society finally leaving behind 40 years of dictatorship so as to mature back into a democracy? Really it was a matter of showing commitment to a way of thinking that was to radically confront that power founded on censure and political repression and which, from a strongly ideological perspective, was to lead to what could be referred to as the modernization of a black country seeking to achieve democratic status.

What were the Spanish cultural industry’s main difficulties as from the 60s? They were simply determined by censure and the control of teaching and educational syllabuses, a highly restrictive and repressive policy that continued to show that the cultural fabric was largely dominated by politics – a process that is a historical constant in Spanish art. If there was some space for an apparent Spanish democratic openness it was because Franco and his subordinates had already addressed the problem directly in the 50s and 60s, as evidenced at the Alexandria, Sao Paulo and Venice biennials, where the work of some artists was displayed so as to put on a show of openness, including that of Antonio Saura, Manuel Millares, Rafael Canogar, Juan Genovés or Darío Villalba – regardless of their subsequent positions contrary to the regime – and even Antoni Tàpies, who in 1973 brought out an odd book called El arte contra la estética (Art against aesthetics), which moreover showed a considerable conceptual confusion, asserting that the ideas involved in social, political, conceptual or participatory art should show a practical ideology. What we mean to say is that in those times of transition, art’s political dependence was inescapable, either as a result of ideology confronting the Franco regime propounded by the exiled Spanish left or in culture manipulated by the official organs of power.

In this respect, a review of Spanish art in the 40 years of dictatorship should show, for example, that the more politicized new conceptual tendencies were sidelined by the success of a new realism, less concerned about the critical aspect of society and the appropriateness of aesthetic propositions emerging abroad – “en el extranjero”, that very Spanish term. We mean that there is a very direct link between the rise of a certain type of art as opposed to the incipient offerings of Isidoro Valcárcel Medina, the Zaj Group or the incursions into conceptual art made at the cultural events known as “Encuentros de Pamplona”. In reviews of recent history these circumstances have been constantly underrated by many critics who have rather devoted their efforts to attaching more importance to a pictorial or sculptural tradition than to the emergence of a conceptual art in opposition to such tendencies. We shall not repeat here that, to date, whenever Spanish conceptual art has been studied, what is shown is the clumsiness and systematic silence of certain artists who in those times were also struggling in their own way by denouncing the state of Spanish politics.

For example, an “enlightened” Francisco Calvo Serraller casts a cold eye over the Spanish conceptual reaction in relation to the art becoming established internationally. His view of the 70s in Spain tends to assert that it was a period of introspection and purging, though in definitely odd terms: a parenthesis. This is surprising because we do not believe that this period should be seen as a time of aesthetic uncertainty, especially given that the art gaining ground in those years came from artists who had already been active for a decade and in some cases for two, as in the case of Luis Gordillo. Victoria Combalía, for example, goes so far as to say that Spanish conceptual art come into existence in 1971 in Granollers. And after locating its field of action in Cataluña and asserting that its origin lies in Tàpies and not in the Zaj group, she dismisses conceptual exercises prior to that date as mere antecedents.

What was at stake was the continuance of an artistic practice that the conceptualists regarded as superseded, and the utopian option of breaking away from the commercialization of art. It is also true that Spanish artists were not sidelined all that much during the Franco regime, as may be seen from the influence of Dalí, Miró, Tápies, Chillida or Hispanic informalism in the 50s. A blackened Spain that allowed earnings that the regime approved of, but without contributing to the works’ aesthetic value or helping with state acquisitions or the organization of major exhibitions. As we know, foreign policy was different – witness the list of Spanish representatives at the successive biennials in which Spain took part during the Franco regime. The cynicism with which certain artists such as Tàpies now systemically shrug off their collaboration with that regime is insulting. This ambiguity of the political authorities, shifting between permissiveness and tolerance and the suspension and prohibition of certain initiatives directed at the public, characterized the intrusions of those who in those days saw communists on all sides; such is the case, for example, of Carrero Blanco and his differences with González Robles.

Another issue and a symptomatic factor, as Simón Marchán Fiz suggests, is the removal of Art History from high school education in 1975 by the Ministry of Education and Science, just when the art gallery market was starting to open up, leading to the emergence of the art centres and museums that exist today. If Calvo Serraller in the 80s considered that the early conceptual attempts were little less than vain attempts to escape from an irreversible situation, what is certainly true is that the advent of democracy was anything but a time of parenthesis or purging. The differences established between practices in Madrid and Barcelona – the aspiration to art that would not lose sight of the course followed outside Spain – may explain all of the economic, political and sociological movements both in society and, by extension, in the processes marking the country’s modernization going on in those initial times and which continued a commercialization of Spanish art that had been a constant since the Franco regime. Art and politics have always gone hand in hand, and artists, critics, gallery owners and politicians have taken advantage of this in equal measure.

Returning to our subject, we may say that this flag depicts an obstruction, pointing to the preclusion of a future political system. Under this flag both sides are neutralized, and the very death of a changing image is cancelled. A country where the flag has changed several times and which has an anthem with no words bespeaks of itself its capacity for negation. And also its baroque nature, for in that darkness an iconic treatment continues to be given to matters concerning not only the meaning of artworks but also their technical capacity. This is not a matter of considering this cloth as if it were a mere textile product, for the material depends on what it expresses: a black flag that underlines the darkness of flags. It is a matter of keeping sight of the idea of a flag as a textile and a text in which not only ideas but also contrasting opinions are woven. It is a device that helps us to remember and a work that belongs to our shared memory. As when the Republican flag was raised at Auschwitz, evoking those who disappeared there, now it is brought in its black version to a museum whose regal name corresponds to the protection of the arts and letters, a monarchy that cannot escape its light and dark sides and before which many art sympathizers will now kneel. A black flag of the Spanish Republic sewn in Munich.

Let us end briefly by summing up: a flag of the 2nd Republic in a museum called Reina Sofía. A symbol of an absence, a blackness that corresponds to the relationship of art and politics in contemporary Spain. A darkness that also appears in our monarchy: the reign of representation that must be laundered. A flag that speaks of an obstruction of conceptual art tendencies as opposed to a less politicized art, from the Franco regime and probably from Spain’s democracy. A confinement that should not be a final end.

At the start we quoted Adorno: “Art must be directed against what it is conceived out of, and accordingly it becomes uncertain to the core.” This uncertainty led him to say that after Auschwitz there could be no poetry, though subsequently he had to correct himself. Santiago Sierra claimed precisely that “after Auschwitz we can do little that is not poetry.” This poetic revenge over those who, setting out in Munich, built up the Nazi party, is what caused this flag to be sewn in that city. An endgame that has led us from the promise of a republican democracy to a democracy under a constitutional monarchy. And where, as María Teresa León said, “the history of democracy is written in white ink on blank paper.”

In an email Santiago Sierra says:

The pointers here are those that the flag brings into play in relation to the past and present of egalitarian ideals in Spain. Bringing together elements such as embroidery, the place of embroidery, Bavarian Marianas Pinedas, the connotations of colour, with respect to mourning and libertarianism, the origins of a monarchy installed by means of death and a 40-year dictatorship, the survival of those who disappeared and the ditches they died in. The survival of indifference. The state that speaks of memory with monarchical exaltation, streets, hospitals, museums, international awards, etc. The nearby reminders of what our new monarchy entailed at world level. The recent attempts to silence dissension. Well, this flag has a lot in it; it’s potent as an anti-symbol – I don’t know if the photo does it justice... Also it’s my finest work and it honours our dead grandparents.

Black Spain and its counterpart, blackened Spain.

I think that’s roughly what it’s about and tell me if I’m forgetting anything.

Good health and freedom to you.










2008. CALL FOR PROJECTS (rules and conditions)

 1. The aim of this summon is to select artists to carry out temporary or brief interventions, including two specific projects for the builidings of Casa de América and Círculo de Bellas Artes, which will be included in Madrid Abierto with other invited projects and the sound and audiovisual works selected.

2. Interventions will take place at the same time as the ARCO fair, in February 2008, in Madrid, within the axes of Paseo de la Castellana - Paseo del Prado and Calle de Alcalá – Gran Vía.

The sound works will be broadcasting on Radio 3, of Radio Nacional de España, and audiovisual on the Canal Metro channel.

3. Artists from every country may participate (except for Casa de América, which is restricted to Latin American artists), whether individually or in groups. In which case, they must name a representative.

4.      A) Artistic interventions.- Each participant must include the following documents:

* Curriculum Vitae with a maximum of 2,000 characters and a photocopy of the Spanish ID card (or an equivalent form of identification) of the author or authors.

* Description of a completed project and a specific preliminary project for Madrid, which must not surpass 4,000 characters.

* A maximum of six drafts or images of the project and the preliminary project in jpg format, with a maximum resolution of 72 ppp. * Description of the assembly system and technical needs of the preliminary project.

* Estimated and detailed budget of the preliminary project, stating all the concepts that could be financed by their own means. * All archives must be compatible with a PC. The archives sent from a MACINTOSH must end in extensions (doc, xls, pdf, jpg, tif, ...).

* Should we not receive all the above mentioned information, the participation will be dismissed.

* The maximum amount awarded for each artist chosen totals 12,000 euros, including expenses derived from transports, accommodation, production, travel and assembly, the author or authors’ salary (up to a maximum of 2,000 euros) and current legal taxes.

B) Sound works.- Each participant must include the following documents:

* Curriculum Vitae with a maximum of 2,000 characters and a photocopy of the Spanish ID card (or an equivalent form of identification) of the author or authors. * Description of the part that must not surpass 4,000 characters.

* The works will be presented during a maximum 10 minutes and will be sent in a CD format.

* Those candidates selected will receive 500 euros and a direct master copy of their works will be included in the documentary fund and the public archive of Madrid Abierto, with a possible non-profit making addition to the web page, subject to prior agreement with the authors.

C) Audiovisual works.

* Those audiovisual works chosen in the summons 2007 for TV Interventions (, will be included in the Madrid Abierto 2008 programme, in collaboration with Fundación Rodríguez and with Centro Cultural Montehermoso, and will be broadcasted on Canal Metro. Those candidates selected will receive 500 euros and a direct master copy of their works will be included in the documentary fund and the public archive of Madrid Abierto, with a possible non-profit making addition to the web page, subject to prior agreement with the authors.


5. All proposals are to be sent via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., before June 15th 2007 (or via the post to Fundación Altadis-Madrid Abierto. Calle Eloy Gonzalo nº 10, 28010 Madrid).

6. The advisory committee at Madrid Abierto, chaired by the director of the programme, Jorge Díez, and formed by Cecilia Andersson, Guillaume Dèsanges, Ramon Parramon, Mª Inés Rodríguez, Fito Rodríguez and the Democracia Group, will name the curator or curators of this edition. La Casa de América and the Círculo de Bellas Artes will select a representative for the selection of the intervention corresponding to each institution.

The curator will choose the participating artists by assessing the quality and feasibility of the proposal, as well as the complete reversibility of the interventions, and will complete the choice with other artists invited until reaching a maximum of 50% of the total number of artists chosen in the open summons. As we are dealing with projects that will be presented in public spaces, the local permits required must be obtained in order to carry out effective installation. The process will be managed by Madrid Abierto.

Should the artists selected use - in any way - images or elements belonging to third parties in their project, they must provide the corresponding permits issued by the owners.

7. Madrid Abierto reserves the rights to publish and represent the artistic interventions selected in all those cases related with the programme promotion, and will include all the documents generated into its documentary fund and public archive. The projects and works selected will belong to the authors, and the developing institutions will have the right to acquire them.

8. Participation in this summons means full acceptance of the rules established in this document.










2009-2010. CREDITS

2009-2010. CREDITS

























09-10pvmg2415, 09-10pvid2404, 09-10pvie2406, 09-10pvih2408

2006. Theo Tegelaers. ART IN PUBLIC AREAS


The Art responsible for architecture and public spaces in the first half of the 20th century provided new forms of life and was very utopian in nature. It was connected to visionary forms of social life and it tried to serve people as best possible. For example, we have the Monument to the Third International by Tatlin, a man who was convinced that art should have a primarily social function and purpose. The artist Constant designed the utopian city of New Babylon, where man could live in a society without hunger, without exploitation, without work as well, a society, therefore, where every person could develop their creativity to the full. This was a place where man would no longer have to work. Instead, citizens would lead a nomadic existence following their leanings.

Situationism was based along those lines and it aimed to remove the barrier separating art from life. It heralded a community free of bureaucracy, in a city that would be formed by its inhabitants’ preferences and longings, a dynamic and changing city full of the poetry of sounds, aromas, tastes and colours.Two important models within the situationist trend are “psychogeography” and “détournement”. Psychogeography consists of rethinking or “mapping” districts, cities, intersections and networks based on certain previously determined desires or aspirations. They went for walks, letting themselves get carried away figuratively and sometimes literally by their sense of smell, doing what was called “dérive”, drifting. These aimless urban itineraries undertaken by people in tune with each other served as a basis for changing the map. Wilfried Hou Je Bek (see is currently exploiting these theories. The aspiration to discover what is hidden in a city, without any aims or prejudices, still exists. Routes whose purpose is to discover or rediscover the public area to uncover phenomena immersed in that space is what has led Social Fiction to start their Psychogeographical project.

By “détournement” (diverting) we understand the twisting of pre-existing texts, works of art and compositions. The distortion of texts, images and commercial and media messages produces confusion in culture and in society. This tactic also has its contemporary variant called culture jamming, the reordering of data and images. Those who design stickers use methods with the same starting point: they manipulate codes, slogans and logotypes to mislead ordinary people. That is why Wilfried Hou Je Bek says that culture jamming is a marketing strategy.

Choosing art for public spaces has been in the hands of experts and those in the know for many years (since the seventies). This prevented public opinion from having a decisive role in that choice. On the contrary, art served to instruct and enlighten the people. That policy has resulted in public art that often yields to the demands of its surroundings, where it gives the impression of impotence, as if it were shouting out that art is a medium incapable of changing reality. Furthermore, works of art that are closely linked with architecture or with specific social or cultural groups, and which, therefore, ignore all the rest, tend to favour the privatisation of the public domain.

At the moment we can observe many situations where the artist is invited to use his artistic skill without this meaning that any power will rub off onto him. The artist is expected to analyse the environment, submit his analysis and think in terms of solving problems: often plastic and visual capacity is confused with the artist’s conceptual and organisational skills. In those cases, social processes form part of the work and they are a way to satisfy the population’s desires and to bring about a common end. With this pretence of a co-decision-making process and taking advantage of the willingness to come to an agreement, the general public is made an accomplice in solving spatial and urban areas by means of artistic projects. The result is often timid interactions leading to very little art. We would need to ask ourselves if artists should take part in these decision-making processes or if they should abstain from them. Because the desire for art to be an integral part of society as a whole, and for works of art to be a creative result of certain social processes, strips Art of its appropriate independent and uncommitted nature. Art’s strength lies precisely in the unexpected and the irrational.

In other projects, they try to provoke “authentic” experiences. This often leads to adorning the environment, making it prettier, given that it is impossible to give every passer-by an “authentic” experience at any time of day. The developers’ desire is to give the environment some authenticity. Artists are asked to demonstrate originality in an environment that already lacks any naturalness. That is why asking for an “authentic experience” does not seem sincere. Within that reality there is no place for nature in the strict sense of the term, which is considered unmanageable in the feasible community we intend to attain. Consequently, we have actually dismissed faith in authenticity.

Should Art be part of what is real and should it therefore address authority and governors? Is it not precisely this pre-existing reality that disturbs plans for renewal and experiments with public spaces? And is not the reality we dream of the price we pay for that, does it not make us dispense with futurist visions? Or should the general public predominate? Because public space is the general public’s space. But a work of art made for “the general public” presupposes that there is a homogenous public, while what we call “the general public” is rather a very mixed conglomerate of social and ethnic groups with opposing interests and desires.

In the Anglo-Saxon tradition, “public art” derives its right to exist from the interaction between authorities and the general public. According to this social pattern, art does not try to achieve a consensus. Instead it exposes the general public to contradictions, conflicts and discussions. Different groups of people organise and finance “their” works of art, thus demonstrating “their” presence in the common area and making “their” cultural and social position visible.

This manner of thinking results in “community art” or projects in which self-organisation plays an important part. Factors are also combined here, such as urbanism, social movements and plastic arts, and the question of when the activity of some individuals starts to form part of the common area and the urban environment is not asked at an administrative level. Instead the interested parties turn it directly into specific events. Often they are marginalised social activities or phenomena that escape the limitations of regulations on public spaces. These projects arise from the need to get involved in the current and future aspect of one’s own metropolis. The desire to feel safe and protected, to tidy up degraded common areas and to increase a district’s or neighbourhood’s self-esteem. If art does not itself become responsible for social and economic issues, which often have a great deal of influence on the way in which the area is urbanised, the decisions on those issues will continue to be in the hands of the authorities in power at that time. In that case, and even if the authorities demonstrate good will, the interests created and short-term thinking can lead to a dreadful result.

Art was –and still is- something that authorities offer, but far too often without paying any attention to urban needs and completely ignoring the general public. Only art explicitly involved in the public space and with social groups forming the community together deserves to be called “public art”.

I would like to finish with the words of the Dutch artist Marc Bijl:“The rules in public space lie in your hands. Try to avoid any disturbance of public domain.” “Be good to other people in this area or get into fights with them. It’s up to you. It’s public space; a jungle of freedom. Be careful. Take care.”

Theo TegelaersCurator and adviser on artistic projects

ReferencesSiebe Thissen, Over openbare kunst; 2004Jeroen Boomgaard, Kunst gevangen tussen authenticiteit en constructie; Open 4, 2003








2006. CALL FOR PROJECTS (rules and conditions)

 1. The aim of this call is to select a minimum of ten projects for temporary or short-term artistic projects to take part in Madrid Abierto along with other guest projects.

2. The projects will take place coinciding with ARCO in February 2006 in Madrid, along the axis of Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo del Prado boulevards’.

3. You may enter individual or group projects (for group projects you must name a representative). This call is open to artists of any nationality.

4. Each project must include: * Curriculum Vitae of no more than 2000 characters and a photocopy of the DNI (Spanish National I.D. card) or an equivalent document of the author or authors’ of the project.

* Description of the project of no more than 4000 characters.

* A maximum of six outlines and images of the project in jpg format with a resolution of 72 ppp.

* Description of the assembly system and technical requirements.

* Approximate and itemized budget, including details of the concepts which may be able to be self-financed.

* Maximum funding for each selected project is 12.000 euros, including all production, transport and assembly costs, the author or authors’ fees and all applicable taxes.

5. Projects should be sent by e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., before the 31st of May, 2005 (or by standard post to: Fundación Altadis-Madrid Abierto, calle Barquillo, nº 7, 28004 Madrid, Spain).

6. The institutes promoting Madrid Abierto shall assign a commission to select the project, presided by the programme director. The commission will select a minimum of ten projects, evaluating the quality and viability of the proposals, as well as the total reversibility of the projects. As we are dealing with projects that will occupy public areas, it will be essential to obtain the corresponding authorisation from the municipal authorities for their installation.

If the selected projects make any use of third party images, the artists must provide the express authorisation of the owners of these images for their use in the project.

7. Madrid Abierto reserves the right of publication and reproduction of the selected projects for all case relating to the promotion of the programme, and shall incorporate all generated documentation into its documentary resources and public archives. The projects and works selected shall be the property of the authors and the promoting institutions shall have a preferential right to their possible purchase.

8. Participation in this call implies total acceptance of the rules.




































08pvid1722, 08pvte1724, 08pvif1726

2008. Democracia. MADRID ABIERTO 2008

The role of art in our societies as propaganda of the political system that sustains it, as well as its subsequent incorporation into the show business and entertainment industries, possibly becomes even more evident when it appears in events similar to the cultural one that concerns us here. In this respect, current public art has often been used by its promoters as a substitute of and alibi for a real social policy, whilst projecting a desirable modernness image. This approach is also influenced by a series of strongly held misconceptions, perhaps selfishly for their populist content, about its reception, such as the fallacy of the unsuspecting spectator (take art to the public) or the sine qua non requirement of citizen participation (when public participation hardly takes place in other situations or is even outright rejected by public authorities not readily willing to hand over their control of the public space) and the presumption of an ideological uniformity which is far removed from the reality of a plural society of a city where celebrations of the family sponsored by the Vatican “coexist” with the European Gay Pride March, the splendour of royal weddings with 14th of April tokens, demonstrations organised by the ultra right against “anti-Spanish racism” with brawls in response to the same fascist violence which (as usual) ends up in murder.

Let us therefore distance ourselves from preconceived concepts of what public art should be in order to get a better perspective.  Let us not conceive the urban environment as a space for consensus but for conflict, or at least a space for attempting to stage it. And in this situation we will have an appropriate view of what is attempted here: a tendentious, critical, ideologically biased and far from neutral discourse. With the aim of contextualising it in a scene that is not interchangeable – Madrid -  a scene from where to position ourselves in relation to a series of specific problems and reflections. It is true that the projects brought together here range from symbolic to practical approaches, from generic problems associated with the city and contemporary society to specific problems which (like it or not) closely affect the people of Madrid, from  a poetic secretiveness approach to a need to simplify complex discourses in order to act as propaganda against propaganda (conscious of the fact that we can no longer interpret propaganda in the “modern” manipulation sense of the word but as the all-embracing offer of life’s economistic reductionism). Let us consider the public art interventions brought together for this event as a double opportunity: on the one hand, to transmit messages unusual to the public space, taking for granted that, if we understand the public space as a communication channel, the dominating discourse (urban, architectural and media related) that we find is the one generated from within the commercial and institutional spheres, and, on the other, to create a temporary community of joint action gathered around a series of reflections on the city, made up of the participating artists and the audience that feels a responsibility towards it.

Within this general framework, a series of specific lines of action centred on the following points are established: the organisation of the city (with emphasis on the problems stemming from real estate speculation, currently a key issue for the inhabitants of Madrid), the role of art in the public space as a means through which to visualise discourses unusual to the public space and new cultural expressions associated with the urban environment.

With respect to the organisation of the city, we can refer to the projects of LaHostiaFineArts, Todo por la Praxis and Santiago Cirugeda. Following the system of organising the city from an economic perspective, LaHostiaFineArts proposes an approximation to the Usera district of Madrid, representative of the new changes that are taking place in the city of Madrid, as it is the district with the highest immigrant population (precisely where the above-mentioned “against anti-Spanish racism” demonstration took place, as well as the subsequent murder of a left-wing activist who was on his way to a demonstration against the authorisation of the previous event) and, at the same time, Usera is undergoing a gentrification process as a result of the opening of the Matadero cultural centre by the local council, which is the flagship of its cultural policy. Apart from opening Madrid Abierto to other areas and developing a collective creation project with the participation of 100 artists, the project entails an approximation based on psycho-geographical tactics, proposing an experimental cartography of the district removed from the normally offered media and institutional image. Todo por la Praxis presents a project of an “advertising” nature which addresses the figure of the real estate speculator in an ironical way.  Although the project starts off with a representation, it goes on to involve social processes of the city by organising the exhibition Empty World in the Liquidación Total alternative space, as well as a series of debates on occupation, empty houses and the problems generated by the speculation phenomenon in Madrid, in collaboration with architects, artists and social movements (i.e., La Fiambrera Obrera, C.S.O.A Patio Maravillas, V de Vivienda…). Santiago Cirugeda will create an office to offer advice on self-construction in the city, the creation of co-operatives and the legal formulas for building apartments in underused spaces like roof terraces. The public will be shown the self-construction process by witnessing how the above-mentioned office is built.

With Videoman, Fernando Llanos proposes a technology for transmitting messages in the public space where we will find a parallel with advertising strategies, although the aim of the messages that he works with is not to obtain financial gain but to raise awareness of the specific urban space where he acts. Focusing more explicitly on propagandistic material, we could mention the work of Anno Dijkstra, Immi Lee and Annamarie Ho as well as Alicia Framis and Michael Lin. Based on the idea of reviewing the public monument or sculpture and its role as a symbol (as well as decoration) towards which citizens should acknowledge a consensus, we could place the work of Anno Dijkstra, who proposes shifting a popular media image and transforming it into a monument. Whilst Immi Lee and Annamarie Ho propose their approach to propaganda by using the slogan, placing the message “La guerra es nuestra" in El Círculo de Bellas Artes, with the intention of questioning the citizen on the issues that concern him, no matter how far they have been removed from political life (both the issues and the citizens). In a hybrid project that uses a format associated with entertainment, Alicia Framis and Michael Lin stage a fashion show (which will be held in La Casa Encendida) to raise criticism of the role of children used as merchandise in advanced capitalism.

Also using advertising mechanisms, but based on different historical references (to talk about current problems), we can group the projects of Fernando Prats, who will reproduce the advertisement published on occasion of the search for volunteers for Schakleton’s expedition to the South Pole on the facade of La Casa de América, using this facade as a consciously chosen support to suggest a metaphor for migratory movements; Jota Castro, aiming to visualise the phenomena of (post)colonialism and transculturation; and  Santiago Sierra who will present the “Black Flag of the Republic” in an act that will offer the reflections of José Luis Corazón and Fabio Rodríguez de la Flor on this anti-symbol.  The project will be rounded off with putting up posters bearing the image of this flag throughout the centre of Madrid.

Lastly, the projects of Andreas Templin, Guillaume Ségur and the collective project of Noaz and Dier would be associated with forms of urban culture. The project of Andreas Templin, presented as an act of situationist inspiration, attempting to be a part of ordinary life, uses clothes (T-shirts and sweatshirts) as a dissemination channel, taking us to popular forms of expression associated with specific urban groups. The work of Guillaume Ségur consists of a minimalist sculpture, but the fact that it is placed in a place where skaters normally gather, with the aim of being used by the skaters, she takes it to an area where urban culture and the criticism of the traditional monument interact. Noaz and Dier work in the field labelled as “urban art”, and we considered that their presence was important here because they represent a large group of street artists who normally practice their art in Madrid.  Far from including their usual work in Madrid Abierto, the idea behind their collaboration is to present a project that goes beyond their normal spheres.  This intervention will be rounded off with one of their critical stencil, graffiti and stickers campaigns.

To conclude this introduction, also worth mentioning are some of the methodological issues that cross cut the initiative approaches addressed here:  how the selected projects move around, the appropriation and use possibilities that they offer and their involvement with other spheres beyond art (the work of Cirugeda as an “open source” tool, the will of Todo por la praxis to collaborate with social movements), the insertion of the work of Fernando Llanos in a genealogy of ways of intervening in the public space, something which, due to their post-situationist approach, we can also find in LHFA and Andreas Templin, the strategic coincidences between contemporary art and urban art practices (Noaz and Dier), the camouflage of certain interventions with other languages characteristic of the urban space, ranging from advertising (Lee and Ho, Sierra, Castro, Prats) to monumentality (Dikjstra, Ségur), and the hybridisations with other disciplines, such as in the case of Alicia Framis and Michael Lin, and not less important, the broadening of the physical sphere of action of Madrid Abierto (the junction Castellana-Recoletos) to Usera, the Centre of Madrid and to other points dictated by the dynamics of each project.


.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................DEMOCRACIA team formed in Madrid (Spain).

Pablo España (1970) and Iván López (1970) created the DEMOCRACIA group in 2006.

Since, they have showed their work at the Goteborg, Valencia and Istanbul Biennials an at different Centers and Museums such as Kumho Museum of Art at Seul, the Centro de Arte Santa Mónica in Barcelona, the Neue Gallerie in Graz and the Organización Nelson Garrido at Caracas. As former memebers of El Perro group they worked in projects at the Miasma of Helsinki, Cobra Museum in Ámsterdam and the Moscu, Taipei, Bucarest and Sevilla Biennials. They will shortly participate at Everstill at the Casa-Museo de Federico García Lorca in Granada.

Democracia group also Works in curatorial projects and directs the Nolens Volens magazine. Their are alos part, with Aitor Méndez, of the blog Contraindicaciones (



















08pvtb1706, 08mdtd1742

2005. Ramon Parramon. THE CITY OPEN TO THE PROCESS

SPECIFIC TEXT PUBLISHED ON THE MADRID ABIERTO NEWSPAPER 2005The projects presented in this edition experiment on the city through micro-interventions in the public space. The city’s infrastructures, i.e., its communication, connection and traffic networks, are often used and linked to buildings, circulation zones and specific elements of the urban furniture.  But they also introduce, incorporate and seek interaction with citizens. This aspect is perhaps the characteristic feature of this edition, making it a process open to investigation and speculation of the public space as a space for interaction. 

A clear example of this process is El Museo Peatonalby Nicolás Dumit Estévez and María Alós. It is set out as an itinerant institution dedicated to presenting temporary exhibitions in the urban space. Through an interactive installation, it invites the participation of people who pass by, work or live in the area where it is presented. It imitates the mechanisms of a museum: the creation of a collection and exhibition. The museum’s collection comes from donations from people who visit, work or live in the area where the museum is temporarily located.

The museum as such takes shape as the acquired articles are assembled. The donation process is free and the objects offered are gathered, classified, packed and then exhibited. All this takes place in the street where the “museum” is located, taking advantage of the continuous flow of people getting from one end of the city to another.

This idea of museum-able and museum-ized city acquires a critical stance towards   the use of the resource of culture as construction of a kind of theme park, in the proposal of Henry Eric, Zona Vigilada. It sets out an interpretation of the transformation of the city of Havana understood as a cultural space in crisis, based on a videographic document that he projects in a thematized cultural space of the city of Madrid: the Open Air Museum of Sculptures in La Castellana. This document has been prepared using personal testimonies, archive images and images taken in “cultural” public spaces of the city of Havana. These images are projected simultaneously with images recorded in the space of the museum itself capturing the “use” and wandering about of the people in this public space under the observation and surveillance of security cameras.  Henry Eric focuses on buildings that he calls cultural ghettos: individual or collective spaces constructed by a specific ideology in a specific period and later transformed until disappearing into oblivion or falling into cultural, ideological, economic or social decadence. 

This connection between specific elements of two cities is a device underlying various projects, presenting Madrid as a link to other cities.


The city as a connection node with other cities

The idea of inserting fragments of one city into another is one of the objectives set out in the project Espacio Móvil by the collective, Compañía de Caracas. Or, as they propose by way of the slogan “Otra ciudad circula dentro de la ciudad” (another city moves inside the city).

The proposal for this connection is the transformation of four buses so that half of the vehicle acquires the appearance of a bus from the city of Caracas, only half, and the other half keeps the colours of the Madrid’s buses. The important thing about these buses is that they establish a link with another city, and at the same time, with many other Latin American cities, the place of origin of many citizens of Madrid. The buses also include a series of photographs of the city of Caracas, and use the bus stops located between Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo del Prado. The images show the urban flow, through specific elements that identify the place being talked about, whilst highlighting elements that are common to both cities: the images of the spaces in transformation in Caracas are not much different from those of Madrid. They are registers that evoke dichotomies like the generic and the specific, the new and the old phenomena of the city, the rural and the technological, the mutable and that which remains immutable. Evidence of the growing social duality, common to the majority of large contemporary cities.


Visibility and intensity of communication

The public space of the city, as physical space, is a large support for publicity and information. Wandering through the city involves passing an infinite number of messages and flashes of information, although we could question the impact of the communicative process. In order for the message to reach the receiver a certain amount of attention and predisposition is required from him. In this respect, the project Taxi Madrid is one of the activities of Madrid Abierto requiring more effort from the spectator (as such) and, as a result, it has less visibility and presence in the urban space. It is an intervention that moves through the city in a series of taxis. It is a project about memory using a selection of persons living in different cities of the world who, in another time, lived in Madrid. Comments and accounts combined with musical elements that refer to the time those persons lived in Madrid and its relationship with the space of the city. In the journey, the taxis include these accounts of experiences of the past, sensations, memories, anecdotes that can refer to the scenes that the citizen taking the taxi is travelling through. These subjective accounts are formulated in a closed space to reach the receiver better so that the communication acquires a greater degree of intensity at the expense of less visibility.

In a similar line, in terms of working with subjective messages, Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio propose the project Soy Madrid, although the strategy of the project is the other way around, given that they seek to reach the maximum number of persons. To do so, they use the classic media channels: newspaper and advertising panels. The project includes the participation of people living in Madrid and the perceptive interpretation of the artists of project, manifesting the condition of tourists and interpreters of this local reality.  The collaboration of the inhabitants entails offering accounts or phrases gathered and transformed by the artists into a comic format. The accounts or phrases are to do with such subjects as the work, the identity and the temporary or ephemeral nature of the tourist. Comments captured in collective spaces where conditions of belonging to a community are generated. Phrases like: “I am from Madrid. I studied maths. I love my bed and I am looking for a woman”, “I teach history in a college. I just have one thing to say: ¡Madrid wake up, you are an ANTIQUATED society¡”, or “I teach English to young people in Spain since leaving college. I love Madrid’s culture but eating in restaurants can sometimes be a problem because I am a vegetarian. Pork is NOT a vegetable!”


Appropriations of space

The subject of collaboration and construction of meaning based on the appropriation by people who live in the area, is one of the aspects that stands out in the work ofthe collective Tercerunquinto. They work from the initial perspective of constructing formal elements that generate situations, using the term sculpture, currently rejected by the majority of artists. In any case, they introduce these “sculptures” into contexts whose raison d’être, as such, lacks meaning. Asphalting a fragment of street in the periphery of Monterrey or paving an area of self-constructed houses which are still unoccupied constitute a constructive action of an element that is subsequently appropriated and reused by the people who live the area. The asphalted street becomes a platform for bringing the community together and generating events. The paving, in a peripheral and marginal area, becomes an integrated part of the self-constructed houses. Tercerunquinto documents these uses during an extended period of time, generating material which becomes a process of analysis of the uses and the subsequent appropriations on the part of the inhabitants of the place.

In the case of the project for Madrid Abierto, they set out to reproduce an element that is present in the urban environment, some watertight boxes destined for connections of telephone cables. They are multiplied until interrupting the trafficable space of a fragment of Paseo de la Castellana. This intervention proposes a modification of the urban experience, inverting the circulation systems and the elements that coexist among these systems. A “sculpture” which will multiply its meaning the moment it can activate this appropriation by citizens.


Against the resource of skin

Using the façade as a support device, such as the façade of Casa de América, transforming it into a trafficable vertical surface, and thereby a privileged viewpoint of a fragment of the city, entails tattooing the skin of the building with a live prosthesis.

On the proposal of José Dávila with his Mirador Nómada, he constructs a trafficable scaffolding on the façade of Casa de América, reversing the  normal relation acquired by scaffoldings in the city, from being observed to becoming a viewpoint from where to observe a part of the city of Madrid and contemplating its daily urban events. Through this proposal and the strategic position of this building we can contemplate an emblematic node of the city in an unusual manner.  The project emphasises the large number of scaffoldings found in most European cities. Elements that symbolise active cycles of change and highlight, with the mutation of skin, the prosperous mark of real estate capital. In this case, something normally observed by passers-by becomes a temporary observatory.

In this line of inverting the resource of skin, we find the project by Oscar Lloveras. He normally works in open spaces in direct association with nature, constructing evolutionary structures that establish a direct dialogue with natural spaces. His intervention is proposed for Paseo del Prado, inasmuch as it is a space that evokes a culturised relation with nature. His work channels and promotes this relation of the individual with the staged natural space, using fragile materials such as polychrome silk, paper and rope. Large suspended spatial installations that establish a dialogue with and relate to the vegetation. At the same time, this nature is a support and a stage for his interventions, suspended shapes that generate meanings that connect the city, domesticated nature and the perception of the individual.


Seeking and finding. Images found and localised

“In the city it is not just easy to seek and to find, but also to find without seeking, by sheer chance, with all the structures and intercommunications of the city”. Oriol Bohigas. Against the Urban Incontinence. Moral reconsideration of the architecture and the city. Electa, Barcelona 2004.

Working on the historic memory and linking it to an institution like Círculo de Bellas Artes, turning the monumental presence of the building into a screen that communicates, is the process proposed by Fernando Baena in his project Familias Encontradas (1 enero 1971 al 17 marzo).

The chance encounter of a series of photographs of large families is the pretext for a project that investigates the collective memory. Based on a selection of these images, enlarged and arranged on the façade of the building, a number of events are remembered, historic facts or event belonging to this brief period of time, associated with the present. Five electronic panels accompany the images. Four refer to the society of the moment the photos were taken, classified in the sections: General anniversaries of events - The family - Art in Spain - Círculo de Bellas Artes. The fifth is information, news, the report or the piece of data corresponding to the present. Whilst in the other four panels the information projected is a cyclical repetition of a documented selection, the fifth shows the ephemeral nature of the events that are happening.  It is also a project that seeks subjective privacy within the framework of the public space, as he suggests “In contrast with the hustle and bustle of Gran Vía, in competition with the seduction of publicity, in the opposite direction of current art, it is ultimately a project about time and about us. About the passing of. About the sensation of getting worked up, of uselessly getting worked up and expiring, brief microscopic lives that spring up and fade away without altering the appearance of the final texture”.

Constructing meaning using alternative discourses to the reality manufactured by the media and with this idea of seeking and finding, the proposal of Raimond Chaves, El Río, las cosas que pasan,takes up again this idea of connecting the city to other cities, to other realities.  Taking advantage of his condition of travelling artist who lives and works between Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, he bases his project on a collection of stories and the re-elaboration of images to offer versions and ‘news’ that he considers relevant. Through images, he sets out events and processes that are taking place in Latin America. Events that although local and restricted to specific areas of Latin America, due to the effects of globalisation and migratory processes, have an influence on Spain and are seldom disseminated in Europe. As a passer-by, citizen and artist, he offers these accounts in the streets of Madrid to boost their public nature and to explain why he wants to bring them to the public’s attention. The work that he presents in Madrid Abierto is included in the Canal Metro schedule and displayed in advertising panels of the city. He takes this idea up again with enthusiasm, developed in other projects, of trusting people’s ability to tell their own experiences, of constructing other stories of the reality, the other side of the wickedness with which it is often constructed in the media.  Connecting with other cities, using media devices, including the participation and opinions of people, seeking new communicative strategies, are all aspects embraced by Raimond Chaves in this project.

In this edition, Madrid Abierto promotes an open process, some projects are a product of a previous path and others have recently initiated a path that is not yet concluded. Others, due to the individual strategy generated, have been unable to establish the mechanisms initially set out and have been readjusted to the moment and the adverse and complex circumstances of interacting in the public space. Madrid Abierto does not pretend to offer clear answers, but to set out issues that require analysis capacity, negotiation capacity and ability to design tactics consistent with the objectives pursued. Time is needed to renew the exhausted forms of public art and to be able to connect with everyday culture.



Ramon Parramon






2006. Jorge Díez. PRESENTATION

 MADRID ABIERTO is an international artistic programme which falls into the category usually referred to as public art, even though this is a somewhat controversial term and which has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. A clear example of this evolution and which is one of the most interesting initiatives taking place in Spain is the Calaf (Barcelona), which arose from a public sculpturing context. Similar to Madrid Abierto, it was initially based on the Open Spaces of the Altadis Foundation at ARCO. The director of Calaf, Mr. Ramon Parramon was an organiser for Madrid Abierto in 2005 and in the current edition, apart from participating the selection jury; he coordinated the debate tables which will take place for the first time at the same time as the artistic interventions. In the words of the director of FRAC Bourgogne, Ms.; Eva González-Sancho, head of the final selection for the third edition of Madrid Abierto, public art “could be that which either makes us question it or reflect on it, or simply decorates our urban surroundings. In my opinion, the interest of the artistic proposals carried out in that space which is in a constant state of transformation, which we refer to as public space, are artistic interventions which influence our comprehension of the same”.

Since its first edition, Madrid Abierto has been promoted by the Altadis Foundation, the Regional Madrid Ministry for Culture and Sports and the Department of Arts of the Town hall of Madrid, and this year it counts with the cooperation of the following entities: ARCO, Fundación Telefónica, the Radio 3 of RNE, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Casa de América, Canal Metro, La Casa Encendida and the Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid. This is a group of institutions which enable this attempt to help people comprehend the construction of the public area through different artistic interventions placed on the Paseo de Recoletos – Paseo del Prado axis in Madrid. The fact that we’ve selected such a specific are of city centre may condition the character of some of the proposals, especially those which are centred in social and community processes, or those which are distant from the most conventional projects. This has been one of the criticisms we have received from time to time, along with the lack of central theme to join the projects. But this is precisely, for better or for worse, one of the characteristics of Madrid Abierto, i.e. to be an open international show of artistic projects. In its third edition, which will take place between the 1st and 26th of February, a total of 595 projects have been received, more than doubling the 234 of the first edition. The distribution per country is as follows: Spain (136), USA (56), Argentina (51), Italy (37), Germany (36), France (31), Mexico (31), Columbia (23), UK (22), Canada (15), Cuba (11), Portugal (9), Austria (9), Chile (8), Holland (8), Finland (8), Brazil (7), Costa Rica (6), Russia (6), Nicaragua (5), Japan (5), Slovenia (7), Uruguay (5), Belgium (5), Norway (4), Australia (4), Sweden (4), Poland (4), Panama (3), Peru (3), Bulgaria (3), Switzerland (3), Turkey (3), Ecuador (3), Guatemala (3), Ghana (3), Singapore (2), Croatia (2), Denmark (2), Venezuela (2), Romania (1), Hungary (1), Santo Domingo (1), India (1), China (1), Indonesia (1), Israel (1), Thailand (1) Latvia (1), Lithuania (1) and El Salvador (1).

I feel that this open character of the proposals, and the growing interest in participating, are a value that should be maintained, even if it is to the detriment of a more articulated artistic approach, such as that which could be achieved with a prior definition of determined lines of investigation and with the direct selection of artists by one or various organisers. However, one should always be open to exploring options which will improve the possible faults pointed out and thus improve the overall results. Thus, on this occasion, we have established two phases for selecting the projects. In the first phase, the selection committee selected 27 of the 595 projects presented, based on the interest and quality of each project. In the second phase, we have tried to establish similarities and see how the proposals can compliment each other, and attempting to achieve a minimum articulation of all the projects, and for this, the definitive selection was left to Ms. Eva González-Sancho, who had also participated in the initial pre-selection with the aforementioned Ramon Parramon, Rosina Gómez-Baeza (Director of ARCO), Nicolas Bourriaud (Co-director of the Palais of Tokyo, Nicolas Bourriaud (co-director del Palais de Paris), Theo Tegelaers (director of De Appel, Amsterdam), and myself. The definitive selection comprises: Accidentes Urbanos by Virginia Corda (Buenos Aires, 1967) and Maria Paula Doberti (Buenos Aires, 1966); Speakhere¡ by Nicole Cousino (California, 1966) in cooperation with Chris Vecchio (Philadelphia, 1964); Post it by Chus García-Fraile (Madrid, 1965); Pulsing Path-ambiguous vision by Gustav Hellberg (Stockhom, 1967); Blend out de Lorma Marti (Karen Lohrmann, Hamburg-Germany, 1967 and Stefano de Martino, San Gallo-Italy, 1955); Ouroboros by Wilfredo Prieto (Sancti-Spíritus-Cuba, 1978); Remolino by Tere Recarens (Barcelona, 1967); Translucid view by Arnoud Schuurman (Leidschendam- Holland, 1976); Reality Soundtrack by Tao G. Vrhovec (Ljubljana-Slovenia, 1972); Locutorio Colón by Maki Portilla-Kawamura (Oviedo, 1982), Key Portilla-Kawamura (Oviedo, 1979), Tadanori Yamaguchi (Osaka, 1970) y Ali Ganjavian (Tehran, 1979). The preselection of the pury also included the project presented by: Armando Navarro and David TV; Ángel Borrego and Jana Leo; Anna Lise Skou; Hermelinde Hergenhahn; Alenka Belic; Peter Moertenboeck and Helge Mooshammer; Otto Karvonen; Helen Stratford and Diana Wesser; Ivonne Dröge-Wendel; Oliver Flexman and Steven Dickie; Santiago Reyes; María Regueiro; Dennis Adams, Catherine D'Ignazio and Savic Rasovic; Leonor Da Silva; Kristoffer Ardeña; Katrin Korfmann and María Linares.

It is interesting to note that this year the dates for presentation of the projects and selection took place much earlier than previous years, and this was in order to enable the second selection phase and the articulation of the projects so the artists would have more time to profile them and decide their localization.

Likewise, I would like to highlight that as in the previous two editions, the 451 team is still developing the graphic image and web site for Madrid Abierto. RMS La Asociación will continuo with the coordination of the programme. As an innovation, in this edition, the national public radio station Radio 3, will collaborate with the production and broadcast of Tao G. Vrhovec’s work.

In its third edition, Madrid Abierto continues trying to deepen the notion of an artistic activity understood as a practice of activation and interaction with other agents, trying to provide all citizens with other views and proposals of participation than those which are usually offered in a museum, art gallery, art centre of fair. Different biennial exhibitions and projects had successfully incorporated this type of event related to public art, but those who do it in a specific manner, through an open call for participation and supporting the production of projects, aimed mainly at upcoming artists and who are awarded a maximum of 12.000 euro per project, are less frequent. The characteristics of the programme, its reduced economic scale and the small team which organises it can be shock in such a large city as is Madrid and who have difficulty in placing themselves on the crowded stage of contemporary Spanish art. We are well aware of all this, but we aim to consolidate this public art project, despite it constantly being referred to as lacking continuity in the initiatives which have arisen from it. Along these lines, we feel it is absolutely necessary to reflect on the model of Madrid Abierto and contrast it with the very artists and the specialists, as well as with other similar national and international initiatives. For this reason we have organised a debate on the 2nd and 3rd of February in cooperation with the Casa Encendida. We will try to incorporate the results of these debates, together with the experience we have acquired, in future editions of Madrid Abierto.

Jorge Díez







































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2004. CALL FOR PROJECTS (rules and conditions)


1 The aim of this competition is the selection of no more than four artistic site specific projects of an ephemeral or temporary nature, to be included in Madrid Abierto ( together with those forming the initial programme (El Perro, Etoy, Diana Larrea, Maider López, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, 451).

2 These projects will be developed, to coincide with ARCO (held in Madrid in February 2004), in an area comprising the Plaza de la Independencia (Puerta de Alcalá), Plaza de Colón (Jardines del Descubrimiento), the confluence of Alcalá and Gran Vía streets, and the Paseo del Prado. Moreover, there will be a specific project for the Depósito Elevado (water tank) belonging to the Fundación Canal in the Plaza de Castilla.

3 Projects entered for selection can be by individuals or groups (in which case a representative should be chosen), of any nationality.

4 Projects must include the following:

· A curriculum vitae (maximum length 2,000 characters) and a photocopy of the Identity Card (or equivalent document) of the artist(s).

· A description of the project (maximum length 4,000 characters).

· A maximum of six sketches and images of the project in jpg format with 72 ppp resolution.

· A detailed estimate of the cost, showing which items have their own funding.

· The average grant for each project selected is 6,000 Euros, except for the project for the water tank (Depósito Elevado), which is 18,000 Euros. In every case this sum includes production costs, artist’s or artists’ fees, and any taxes legally in force.

5 Projects should be sent by electronic mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 31th August, 2003, or by post to: Fundación Altadis-Madrid Abierto. c/ Barquillo 7. 28004 Madrid, Spain.

6 The institutions promoting Madrid Abierto will appoint a committee, chaired by the director of the programme, which will select a maximum of four projects.

7 Madrid Abierto reserves the publication and reproduction rights of the projects selected for all the promotional needs of the programme, and will add to its documentary holdings and public archive any do-cumentation generated. The projects and the works selected will remain property of the artists, and the promoting institutions will have preference if any acquisition is proposed.

8 Participation in this competition entails full acceptance of the above rules and conditions.









The enormity of the urban experience, the overwhelming presence of massive architectures and dense infrastructures, as well as the irresistible utility logics that organize much of the investments in today’s major cities, have produced displacement and estrangement among many individuals and whole communities.[1] Such conditions unsettle older notions and experiences of the city generally and public space in particular. This is probably most acute in global cities.  The monumentalized public spaces of states and monarchs remain vibrant sites for rituals and routines, for demonstrations and festivals. But increasingly the overall sense is of a shift from civic to politicized urban space, with fragmentations along multiple differences.

At the same time, these cities contain a diversity of under-used spaces, often characterised more by memory than current meaning. These spaces are part of the interiority of a city, yet lie outside of its organising utility-driven logics and spatial frames. They are “terrains vagues” that allow many residents to connect to the rapidly transforming cities in which they live, and to bypass subjectively the massive infrastructures that have come to dominate more and more spaces in their cities. Jumping at these terrains vagues in order to maximize real estate development would be a mistake from this perspective. Keeping some of this openness, might, further, make sense in terms of factoring future options at a time when utility logics change so quickly and often violently–excess of high rise office buildings being one of the great examples.


This opens up a salient dilemma about the current urban condition in ways that take it beyond the fairly transparent notions of high-tech architecture, virtual spaces, simulacra, theme parks. All of the latter matter, but they are fragments of an incomplete puzzle. There is a type of urban condition that dwells between the reality of massive structures and the reality of semi-abandoned places. I think it is central to the experience of the urban, and it makes legible transitions and unsettlements of specific spatio-temporal configurations.

Architecture and urban design can also function as critical artistic practices that allow us to capture something more elusive than what is represented by notions such as the theme-parking of cities.


All of this brings to the fore the importance of the actual making of public space under conditions where the privatizing and the weaponizing of urban space are becoming extreme. We see here a shift in the meanings of the urban condition.

[1] This work is based on Una Sociologia de la Globalizacion (Madrid y Buenos Aires: Ed. Katz) 


Hilary Koob-Sassen ( Endless City, 2008. Original publication in The Endless City, Ed. Ricky Burdett, Phaidon Press, New York, 2008.



The making and siting of public space is one lens into these types of questions. We are living through a kind of crisis in public space resulting from itsgrowing commercialization, theme-parking, and privatizing. The grand monumentalized public spaces of the state and the crown, especially in former imperial capitals, dominate our experiences. Users do render them public through their practices. But what about the actual making of public space in these complex cities, both through architectural interventions and through users practices?

Dwelling between mega buildings and terrain vagueshas long been part of the urban experience. In the past as today, this dwelling makes legible transitions and unsettlements. It can also reinsert the possibility of urban making – poesis — in a way that massive projects by themselves do not. The “making” that concerns me here is of modest public spaces, constituted through the practices of people and critical architectural interventions that are on small or medium level scales. My concern here is not with monumentalized public spaces or ready-made public spaces that are actually better described as public-access than public. The making of public space opens up questions about the current urban condition in ways that the grand spaces of the crown and the state or over-designed public-access spaces do not.

The work of capturing this elusive quality that cities produce and make legible, and the work of making public space in this in-between zone, is not easily executed. Utility logics won’t do. I can’t help but think that the making of art is part of the answer–whether ephemeral public performances and installations or more lasting types of public sculpture, whether site-specific/community-based art, or nomadic sculptures that circulate among localities. Further, the new network technologies open up wide this question of making in modest spaces and through the practices of people. One question that might serve to capture critical features of this project is How do we urbanize open-source?

Architectural practices are central here, specifically those which can take place in problematic or unusual spaces. This takes architects able to navigate several forms of knowledge so as to introduce the possibility of architecture in spaces where the naked eye or the engineer’s imagination sees no shape, no possibility of a form, only pure infrastructure and utility. The types of space I have in mind are, for instance, intersections of multiple transport and communication networks, the roofs of recycling plants or water purification systems, small awkward unused spaces that have been forgotten or do not fit the needs of utility driven plans, and so on. Another instance is a space that requires the work of detecting possible architectures where there now is merely a formal silence, a non-existence, such as a modest and genuinely undistinguished terrain vague --not a grand terrain vague that becomes magnificent through the scale of its decay, as might an old unused industrial harbor or steel factory.

The possibility of this type of making, detecting, and intervening has assumed new meanings over the last two decades, a period marked by the ascendance of private authority/power over spaces once considered public. Further, over the last five years especially, the state has sought to weaponize urban space and to make it an object for surveillance. At the same time, the increasing legibility of restrictions, surveillance and displacements is politicizing urban space. Most familiar, perhaps, is the impact of high-income residential and commercial gentrification, which generates a displacement that can feed the making of a political subjectivity centred in contestation rather than a sense of the civic on either side of the conflict. The physical displacement of low-income households, non-profit uses and low-profit neighbourhood firms makes visible a power relationship - direct control by one side over the other as expressed directly in evictions or indirectly through the market. This politicizing of urban space and its legibility is also evident in the proliferation of physical barriers in erstwhile public spaces, perhaps most pronounced in US cities, and most visible since the attacks of September 11, 2001. US embassies worldwide increasingly resemble medieval fortresses. In this context public-access space is an enormous resource, and we need more of it. But let us not confuse public-access space with public space. The latter requires making – through the practices and the subjectivities of people. Through their practices, users of the space wind up making diverse kinds of publicness.



In brief, several trends are coming together enabling practices and imaginaries about making, rather than merely accessing, public space. One concerns some of the conditions discussed above, specifically today’s wider unsettlements of older notions of public space. These unsettlements arise from the limits of public-space-making in monumentalized spaces as well as from the shifts towards politicizing urban space and weakening civic experiences in cities. Both conditions produce openings to the experience and the option of making.

A second trend is the option of making modest public spaces, which may well be critical for recovering the possibility of making spaces public. This type of making was historically significant in European cities and diverges as a project from the making of grand monumentalized spaces: it entailed making in the interstices of the spaces of royalty and the state. Today this type of making is geared to the interstices of private and public power, and adds a novel dimension: the repositioning of the notion and the experience of locality, and thereby of modest public spaces, in potentially global networks comprising multiple such localities.    

A third trend is the delicate negotiation between the renewed valuing of diversity, as illustrated in multiculturalism, and the renewed challenges this poses to notions and experiences of the public.


* This is a commissioned text. It does not reflect specifically upon the works presented in this edition. Rather, it is about Saskia Sassen’s work and is published with the intention to illuminate some of the points raised for discussion during MADRID ABIERTO 2009-2010. 


Saskia Sassen is the Lynd Professor of Sociology and Member, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. Her new books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2008) and A Sociology of Globalization (W.W.Norton 2007) both published in Spanish with Editorial Katz (Buenos Aires and Madrid) in 2008.. Other recent books are the 3rd. fully updated Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2006) and the edited  Deciphering the Global (Routledge 2007).  She has just completed for UNESCO a five-year project on sustainable human settlement with a network of researchers and activists in over 30 countries; it is published as one of the volumes of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (Oxford, UK: EOLSS Publishers) [ Her books are translated into sixteen languages. She has written for The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek International, the Financial Times, among others. Website:

Ed. Katz (Buenos Aires and Madrid) has published Spanish translations of both A Sociology of Globalization  and Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages.




















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2009-10. Cecilia Andersson. INTRODUCTION


This is the first edition of MADRID ABIERTO as a biennial event and the theme for this edition is collaboration. The call for works announced its openness for proposals that spans across disciplines and for artists aiming to situate their work within the social realm of art practice and audience participation. Selected artists met for three days during an initial seminar which took place in Madrid early February 2009. The aim of the seminar was not only for participating artists to introduce themselves and present earlier works but also to allow for other players, familiar with Madrid and its context, to present their activities. Behind it all was the idea to create a network of connections, a network that would help the selected visiting artists, the majority of them based outside of Spain, to connect with local knowledge and with the specific context of Madrid. The works now presented are some of the results of processes and contacts initiated during this seminar.

For cities to thrive, to be communicative and alive and to function as catalysers of public life, it is necessary to stimulate civic participation and community involvement. Given the current framework, where society often fail to negotiate some of the most immediate challenges, how can pooling resources such as the ones found in collaborative and interdisciplinary initiatives, develop alternative work methods? How can inertia and nostalgia be substituted by visionary and inspiring tools acting as catalysts for change? In our post-political age, how can artistic practices intervene beyond dominant conventions? How can artists access and address spaces and places when in fact, most citizens takes no interest to participate in communal social networks?

This edition of MADRID ABIERTO explores how collaboration and co-operation can act as catalysts to induce changes of benefit for the city and its inhabitants. Involving people from a broad professional spectrum, among them gardeners, actors, community workers, programmers, architects and urban planners, resulting art projects manifest a wide range of views and expressions. The aim of such a socially engaged approach is to create a larger network which, ideally, makes it possible to come closer to an understanding of some of the dynamics that operate in the city. Articulating specific concerns and voicing local issues is one step closer to resolving a conflict or improving a situation. The ten commissioned artists in this edition of MADRID ABIERTO are probing into terrains that often remain in obscurity and/or silence. The aim is to reveal some of the dynamics of collaborative efforts and explore how such efforts may affect people and politics in specific places.

Implicit in the word collaboration is some kind of mutual understanding. It would be difficult to carry out a collaborative project if there was not initially agreed upon what the project wished to communicate and to who. This process of stipulating goals, articulating and exploring paths as well as the constant look-out for additional partners are integral parts of collaborative projects. In these aspects, art projects and cultural projects in general, can function as tools for exchange and of recognition of the people involved. Initiating collaborative dialogues allows for coexistence, neighbourliness, alternative identification and for greater comprehension of diversity. Art must in these contexts be understood as a form of political imagination. The need to create such models is endless in today’s society.

Collaborative practice may also file under categories such as socially engaged art, community-based art, dialogic, ‘relational’, participatory, interventionist, research-based art…. One thing is certain, since the 1990s an increased number of artists work within such constellations and are, as a consequence, increasingly judged by their working process and by the models for participation they come up with. Does this way of working, this kind of “method fever”, to quote Sarat Maharaj, this consensual agreement, distance artists from the core of artistic practice, namely autonomy? Is it possible that collaborative projects, instead of exploring visions and ideas that are close to the artist’s heart, instead succumbs to be part of a rather conventional idea of what collaboration and participation can be? British art critic Claire Bishop refers to this position as religious, as “Christian”, and argues that often in collaborative projects the artist takes on a self-sacrificial position and performs for the Other.

Now, one year after our first reunion in Madrid the time has come for presentation. Some of the questions posed above remain unanswered while others have been clarified. Additionally, some of the works presented have managed to generate new questions. This presentation is an opportunity to contemplate some of them.

Spain just took on the presidency of the European Union while the economical crisis keeps rattling the country. One of its most visible signs are the ghost towns that surrounds Madrid and which Laurence Bonvin has documented. Seseña for instance, is already a ghost town even before anyone moved in. And unlike the late 19th century Wild West where ghost towns began to appear after the California gold rush, its equivalent, the Spanish construction frenzy, collapsed quicker than anyone could have imagined. In the middle of crisis and as one hands-on way to deal with it, plan ñ was put to work. It is devised to improve infrastructure in the country while simultaneously provide job opportunities.  Lara Almarcegui is tapping into one part of the plan, the construction of a parking garage under Calle Serrano. The one day per week when workers are not excavating, guided tours will be arranged into the underworld of Madrid. This underbelly of Madrid, its intestines, its strata bared in layers, presents an uncanny side of the city otherwise perceived solely through its orderly constructed environment.  The excavated dirt with all its remnants of past lives naturally carries seeds for the future. Vegetation buried for years may be brought to life again when exposed to sunlight.

Lisa Cheung converted a truck into a mobile gardening centre that will tour Madrid, making stops once at week along a mapped out route. Raising questions about sustainability while sharing knowledge, the garden bus also aim to build a community of ‘city farmers’ by introducing a common theme which to gather around.Iñaki Larrimbe offers a different vehicle and presents a different range of tours. His refurbished caravan is stationary and parked in the city centre where it serves as an alternative tourist office from which specially commissioned maps will be distributed. The maps intend to make the city visible from distinct points of views and include, for instance, the best neon signs in Madrid, a selection of outstanding urban art as well as streets and squares where movies were filmed. All describe alternative routes for city visitors. His tours indicates the unusual, the often not seen and asks us to pay attention. In this he has something in common with Adaptive Actions (AA). AA’s temporary tent erected inside the Atocha train stationfunctions as a meeting point, as collection and exhibition site. AA intends to document the absurdities in the city such as illegible signage, incomprehensible rules, loitering, the strange, contradictory and often overlooked.

The idea of collecting, creating a meeting point and a place for sharing and belonging in your own community are topics explored by Susanne Bosch. Her initiative is to collect pesetas which went out of circulation in the New Year 2000. She is asking for a collaborative effort not only to collect remaining pesetas, but also to join forces and decide what to do with the money once collected and counted.  If Bosch’s work is about collecting old money, Gustavo Romano is issuing a new kind of currency. His performance based interaction operates from a converted tricycle equipped with wi-fi connection and a printer issuing Time Notes. These notes refer to an alternative currency ranging from 60 min to 1 year. It is a way of reimbursing people for their lost time while also questioning value systems embedded in monetary exchange. Making use of space in a most efficient way, counting its use by the minutes and converting the time into money paid for rent; Josep-Maria Martín have interviewed African immigrant living in Lavapiés in situations called ‘camas calientes’. Many people with varying legal statuses are all gathered in one apartment where they take turns to sleep. These beds are never cold. As soon as one is freed by one person, the next paying guest is waiting. Martín interviewed the people sharing these apartments and also left the video camera for them to document their lives. He conducted interviews with immigration officers and social workers. The resulting video is screened in the open air during the dark hours of the night.

Nights are cold in Madrid during February but Pablo Valbuena needs the darkness for his projections in public space. His discrete animations projected onto the façade of a building, track the outline of the architecture and bring new dimensions to an architectural reality which looks very different in daylight. While Valbuena works as a kind of architectural ghost writer, Teddy Cruz challenges a different façade, that of Casa de America for his intervention. In a parasite like manner, small room is positioned inside the hosting building and made accessible via ladders leaning against the facade. Part of Cruz’ project is also to invite Tijuana based Mexican artist Felipe Zuñiga in residency and to through education, establish links with immigrant children in the Madrid suburb of Puente de Vallecas. The façade of Casa de America will, in an amoeba like act of transformation, turn into a symbolic bridge that connects not only between countries, but also between periphery and centre.

It is my belief that the above projects, mentioned here only as brief summaries, carry the strengths to call for an initial awareness of contemporary cultural needs. How such needs may be accommodated in the future requires a longer commitment – projects that stretch over a longer period of time. The projects presented as part of this edition of MADRID ABIERTO gives shape to what is still unknown. As such they actively take part in defining the needs for tomorrow.


.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................CECILIA ANDERSSON Is curator and founder of Werk Ltd., a curator's studio in Stockholm. Her latest projects include Supersocial; a platform for events organised in different cities and On Cities; an exhibition at the Swedish Museum of Architecture, Stockholm. Curator of Madrid Abierto 2009-10.














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2005. Jorge Díez. MADRID - PARÍS - TAIPEI


The wide exposure of the first edition of Madrid Abierto in 2004 brought with it, among other things, an invitation to explain the project at the International Conference on Public Art, held last October at the National University of Taipei, organised by Dimension Endowment of Art (DEOA). I intervened, together with the General Delegate for Plastic Arts of France’s Ministry of Culture, Anne-Marie Le Guével, who centred her presentation on the application of part of the resources generated from the 1% assignation from public works contracts to cultural ends (as per the Law on the Historical Heritage) to interventions in the public space and in all kinds of public institution buildings, such as education and cultural centres, and even police stations. This is one of the lines of the continental cultural-policy model which, as we known, France has been championing for years and which, through the assignation of large sums of public funds by central, regional and local administrations to a common objective, has achieved significant advances in different cultural sectors, of which the audiovisual protection fund is the most widely known and the one which has reaped the best results, consolidating French cinema above other countries’ film-making industries now in clear decadence, as for example the once booming Italian and German.

In Spain, on the other hand, we have recently been able to see cases like the projects of the Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo or the Consell de les Arts de Catalunya, which are inspired on the Anglo-Saxon cultural-policy model. In this respect, there is a precedent, initiated during the term in office of the minister, Jorge Semprún, and followed in the period of the minister, Carmen Alborch, with the strengthening of the boards of trustees of a number of national museums in detriment of the role and decision-making power of the directors of those museums and the implementation of the policy promised to the public by the political parties winning the elections. This situation coincides with the growing demand by some of those museum directors and a significant number of curators, critics, gallery directors and artists for more management independence and less political “interference”. The discredited policy and the arbitrary acts produced on more than one occasion encourage this view and serve as an excuse, perhaps inadvertently, to reinforce a model inspired on both the above-mentioned Anglo-Saxon model and the neoliberal revolution of the decade of 1990 headed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

However, there is a clear distinguishing element in the above-mentioned projects which has to do with the level of representation held by, for example, the Unión de Asociaciones de Artistas Visuales (UAAV) or that which, in one’s private capacity, a specific curator, artist or director of a publication, not to mention a gallery director, regardless of how important it might be in the art market, wants to assert.

In a similar manner, we should distinguish the role of a trustee who finances a national museum through financial resources or artistic funds, as it occurs in the United States, from those who, in one’s private capacity, participate in the management body of a public museum. And in both cases for the simple reason that nobody on an individual basis is legitimised to exercise the decision-making function in respect of objectives and spending public resources, which corresponds to those who hold that responsibility in a democratic system. Because that is the crux of the matter, policy in any sphere, including culture, basically consists of employing funds approved by Parliament to achieve specific objectives and subsequently rendering account to the legitimate representation body, and later facing up to it in the next elections. This does not mean that the responsibility should not be shared in bodies like the above-mentioned Arts Council, but always with those who mediate for the interests of the different sectors through equally representative and democratic bodies, such as the UAAV.

The above is especially relevant when artistically intervening in the public sphere, as in the case of projects like Madrid Abierto. The first edition, despite the modest approaches and financial resources employed, had a more than acceptable national and international projection, as evidenced, for example, in Taipei by the enormous interest raised in teachers, students, artists and professionals of the different sectors of visual arts. Despite the distant cultural relationship between our country and Taiwan, and regardless of the degree of acceptance received by the individual artistic interventions included in the first edition of Madrid Abierto, which incidentally was very high, the model was particularly appreciated, which is based on an international call for presentation of projects, the ephemeral nature of the projects, the assignation of the vast majority of the budget to production and artists’ fees, as well as the collective work in the developing the programme. All this is even more appreciable in an artistic context like Taiwan’s, which is still centred on the public sculpture permanently installed in cities, roads, and the vicinity of museums and all kinds of institutions.

In our country, Madrid Abierto had a large following on the part of all the media channels, although admittedly most were from the general media, as the specialised media, either willingly or unwillingly, marked a civilised distance with regard to this first edition of Madrid Abierto, with the only exception of a categorically bitter and discrediting article published in one of the main cultural supplements. This is the biggest disadvantage of acting independently without any one backing you, except the sponsors, headed by the Fundación Altadis, and the collaboration of the City Council and the Government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, which acted with the highest respect for the required autonomy of the programme and with valuable support to experimental methods that act in the public sphere. We should also highlight the collaboration of the director of ARCO, who has boosted Madrid Abierto from its beginnings, despite the fact that some of the approaches of the Fair can objectively enter into conflict in some respect with those of this public art programme which, in this second edition, curated by Ramon Parramon, can make a great leap forward in its initial objectives.

From the start, what we have attempted to do in Madrid Abierto is to approach artistic activity as a practice which, in the current complex context, is capable of generating other symbolic imaginaries different from those imposed by the dominant society of entertainment.

Jorge DíezJanuary 2005







2007. CALL FOR PROJECTS (rules and conditions)

1 The aim of this summon is to select a maximum of ten projects for temporary or short-term artistic projects or ephemeral character, included two specific projects for the buildings of the Casa de América and the Círculo de Bellas Artes (characteristics of both façade in, which will join Madrid Abierto together with other invited projects and with sonorous and audio-visual works selected for its emission for Radio3 and for the circuit of the underground channel, Canal Metro.

2 The interventions will develop in Madrid, coinciding with ARCO, in February 2007 inside the axes of the Paseo de La Castellana - Paseo del Prado boulevard and Puerta de Alcalá - Gran Vía’s street.

3 You may enter individual or group projects (for group projects you must name a representative). This call is open to artists of any nationality.

4a) Each project must include:· Curriculum Vitae of no more than 2.000 characters and a photocopy of passport or an equivalent document of the author or authors’ of the project.· Description of the project with an extension not superior to 4.000 characters.· A maximum of six outlines or images of the project in jpg format with a maximum resolution of 72 ppp.· Description of the assembly system and technical requirements.· Approximate and itemized budget, including details of the concepts which may be able to be self-financed.· Each file have to be compatible with PC. The files that are sent from a MACINTOSH have to have the corresponding extension (doc, xls, pdf, jpg, tif...).· In case of not receiving all the information previously detailed the project will be misestimated.· Maximum funding for each selected project is 12.000 euros, including the travel expenses, housing, production, transport and assembly, author or authors’ fees (maximum of 2.000 Euros) and all applicable taxes.

b) The sonorous and audio-visual works must include:· Curriculum Vitae of no more than 2.000 characters and a photocopy of passport or an equivalent document of the author or authors’ of the project.· Description of the project with an extension not superior to 4.000 characters.· The audio-visual works for the circuit of the underground channel (Canal Metro) will have a maximum of 2 minutes duration, will be able to be sent in any digital format (AVI, MOV, WMW, SWF) for the selection and in format DVD, miniDV, Betacam SP or VCPRO the selected ones by the jury. The sonorous works will be broadcast in Radio 3, will have a maximum of 10 minutes duration and will be able to be sent in CD format.The selected ones will receive 600 Euros and a copy of the master will be part of Madrid Abierto’s public file, with a web location in, previous agreement with the authors.

Projects should be sent by e-mail to:, before the 31st of May, 2006 (or by standard post to: Fundación Altadis-Madrid Abierto, calle Barquillo, nº 7, 28004 Madrid, Spain).

6The commission of selection, presided by the programme director Jorge Díez, it will be integrated by: Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes (Madrid Abierto 2007 curator), Cecilia Andersson, Guillaume Désanges and Ramon Parramon. Casa de América and Círculo de Bellas Artes will designate a representative for the selection of the project that will shelter every institution.The commission will choose a maximum of ten projects, evaluating the quality and viability of the proposals, as well as the total reversibility of the projects. As we are dealing with projects that will occupy public areas, it will be essential to obtain the corresponding authorisation from the municipal authorities for their installation, that will be manage by Madrid Abierto.If the selected projects make any use of third party images, the artists must provide the express authorisation of the owners of these images for their use in the project.

7 Madrid Abierto reserves the right of publication and reproduction of the selected projects for all case relating to the promotion of the programme, and shall incorporate all generated documentation into its documentary resources and public archives. The projects and works selected shall be the property of the authors and the promoting institutions shall have a preferential right to their possible purchase.

8Participation in this call implies total acceptance of the rules.




































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2007. Jorge Díez. PRESENTATION

 MADRID ABIERTO is an international artistic initiatives programme which is held throughout the month of February in the junction Paseo de la Castellana-Recoletos-Prado since 2004. It is an avenue for approaching the interpretation and comprehension of how the public space is constructed from the sphere of art. Since its first open invitation announcement it has received more than 1.200 proposals. Out of all the projects presented, 29 were exhibited in the previous three editions and 13 will be exhibited this year, selected by different juries comprised by international experts.

Organised by the Cultural Association MADRID ABIERTO, the 2007 edition of the programme is promoted by the Altadis Foundation, the Department of Culture and Sport of the Autonomous Community of Madrid and the Governing Department for the Arts of the City Council of Madrid, with the collaboration of the Telefónica Foundation, La Casa Encendida of Obra Social Caja Madrid, the Ministry of Culture, ARCO, Radio 3 of RNE, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Canal Metro, Cemusa, Centro Cultural de la Villa of Madrid, Remo, Mediazero and Metro.

For this fourth edition, which will be held from the 1st to the 28th of February, a total of 658 projects were presented; 471 for the general invitation, 61 for the façade of La Casa de América, 28 for the façade of Círculo de Bellas Artes, 74 works for Canal Metro and 24 sonorous initiatives for Radio 3. The breakdown by countries of the projects presented is as follows: Spain (174), Italy (46), USA (46), Mexico (40), Argentina (33), Germany (28), Colombia (28), France (25), Brazil (18), Canada (16), Cuba (16), Ecuador (14), Chile (13), The Netherlands (13), Portugal (12), Ireland (9), Sweden (9), United Kingdom (9), Venezuela (9), Japan (7), Austria (6), Yugoslavia (6), Australia (5), Peru (5), Belgium (4), Costa Rica (4), Finland (4), Norway (4), Poland (4), Turkey (4), China (3), Croatia (3), Slovenia (3), Russia (3), Switzerland (3), Uruguay (3), Bulgaria (2), El Salvador (2), Georgia (2), Guatemala (2), India (2), Iceland (2), Israel (2), New Zealand (2), Czech Republic (2), Cyprus (1), Denmark (1), Estonia (1), The Philippines (1), Greece (1), Hungary (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (1), The Dominican Republic (1), Serbia (1) and Singapore (1).

The selection committee was comprised by Juan Antonio Álvarez-Reyes (curator of Madrid Abierto 2007), Ramon Parramon (director of Idensitat), Cecilia Andersson (director of Werk) and Guillaume Désanges (co-ordinator of art projects in Les Laboratoires D’Aubervilliers, Ille de France). We declared the project for the façade of Círculo de Bellas Artes unfulfilled and pre-selected thirty projects, from which the curator finally selected Fernando(We were young. Full of life. None of us prepared to die) by the collective Discoteca Flaming Star; proyecto_nexus* by the collective [nexus*] art group; I Lay My Ear To Furious Latin by Ben Frost; Rezos/Prayers by Dora García;Pictures by Mandla Reuter; Guantanamera by Alonso Gil and Francis Gomila and Short Circuit/Cortocircuito by Dirk Vollenbroich. In addition to these seven selected projects, the current edition is complemented by other projects from artists invited by the curator: Dan Perjovschi, Susan Philipsz, Johanna Billing, Leopold Kessler, Oswaldo Maciá and Annika Ström. Through this mixed selection model our intention is to continue to make progress in our objective of broadening each annual proposal of MADRID ABIERTO.

In this year’s edition, for the first time, two specific invitations for audiovisual and sonorous works were announced, which were selected by the curator, myself, Arturo Rodríguez and José Iges. The following 11 works were selected for projecting on Canal Metro: Rothkovisión 3.0 by Daniel Silvo; Mierda de caballos y príncipes by Fernando Baena; Rest by Carolina Jonsson; Every Word is becoming by Alexander Vaindorf; Alpenflug (Alpine Flight) by Juan Carlos Robles; Himno by Cristian Villavicencio; PlasmaLux06-7 by Tanja Vujinovic-Zvonka Simcic; Mis Quince by Alfredo Pérez; Lucía by Pere Ginard and Laura Ginés; Candy by Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi and The Toro’s Revenge by María Cañas. For broadcasting on Radio 3, the following 8 works were selected: Am I walking by Jouni Tauriainen; Bendicho juez de la verdad by Eldad Tsabary; Reiterations (Elizabeth Street) by Sonia Leber and David Chesworth; Postal Densa. Postal Sonora. Madrid-Bogotá by Mauricio Bejarano; Alkaline by Paul Devens; Funkenspiel by David Halsell; Poema Jazz (a Clara Gari) by Luis Eligio Pérez and BihotzBi by Zuriñe Gerenabarrena.

Likewise, following on with the work of the previous editions, E451 continues to develop the graphic image and web page and, for the second year running, together with various debate tables on public art, the selected artists will present their work in La Casa Encendida on the 1st and 2nd of February.

We are continuing the process of creating an initiative of a scale manageable by a small team without a permanent or continuous structure, based on an open invitation announcement geared towards the production of ephemeral or temporary projects for the public space of the city of Madrid.

Jorge Díez















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2004. Jorge Díez. PRESENTATION


Art Interventions in Madrid. MADRID ABIERTO is a project framed within so-called Public Art i.e. interventions and performances derived from an artistic concept and developed preferably in a public and open context. Interacting with social and political processes, these works are aimed at the active or passive protagonists of such processes, i.e. all those people who, directly or indirectly, regularly or occasionally, live together in a specific physical, communicative, social and symbolic space, in this case, the City of Madrid.

The aim of this first edition of MADRID ABIERTO 2004 —to be held from 5th to 22nd February— is to act as a prototype or model for future editions, which will be extended to the rest of the City and Community of Madrid. The intervention will be restricted to the area comprising the Plaza de Colón (Jardines del Descubrimiento), the Plaza de la Independencia (Puerta de Alcalá), the junction of the Calle Alcalá with Gran Vía, and the Paseo del Prado —though a site-specific work will also be produced for the Depósito Elevado (Water Tank) in the grounds of the Fundación Canal in the Plaza de Castilla.

The international MADRID ABIERTO competition received 234 projects from 316 artists, with 57 projects for the site-specific installation for the Water Tank at the Canal Foundation. The competition had an extensive reception worldwide, with the following distribution of projects per country of residence of the participating artists: Spain (129), Italy (16), United Kingdom (11), United States (10), Argentina (10), Mexico (7), Germany (7), Brazil (7), Cuba (5), France (4), Holland (4), Colombia (3), Switzerland (3), Belgium (2), South Korea (2), Chile (2), Australia (2), Portugal (2), Greece (2), Austria (1), Peru (1), Japan (1), China (1), Turkey (1) and the Dutch Antilles (1).

The jury -Paloma Blanco, Ramon Parramon and Jorge Díez (programme director)- has selected the following projects: house-Madrid by Wolfgang Weileder (Munich, 1964), a synchronized process of construction and deconstruction of two identical, front and rear façades, in the form of a sequential choreography in which two different buildings appear on the same site on the Paseo de Recoletos; Silent by Elena Bajo (Madrid, 1972) /Warren Neidich (New York, 1952), a plexiglass acoustic sculpture to be installed on a section of the Paseo de la Castellana close to the open-air Museum of Sculpture as an ephemeral gesture limiting the noise pollution in the City; and Emancipator Bubble, an inflatable dwelling in the form of a bubble, which permits a high degree of independence without leaving home. A product of Bubble Business, S.A., based on an original idea by architects Alex Mitxelena and Hugo Olaizola, directed by Saioa Olmo and produced by Amasté, the Bubble will be installed in the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid. To these three will be added the proposal from Sans Façon -Charles Blanc (Saint Etienne, France, 1974) and Tristan Surtees (Leeds, England, 1977)- for the raised Water Tank in the Plaza de Castilla: by playing with the architectural quality of the construction -the pillars will be covered with acrylic mirrors- a different perception of the object and its surroundings will be generated.

Together with the above projects selected from the international submissions, MADRID ABIERTO will contain interventions by El Perro, Maider López, etoy, Diana Larrea, Fernando Sánchez Castillo and 451. We shall thus encounter interventions alluding to normal urban communication systems like that of Maider López (San Sebastián, 1975) on the municipal advertising supports, the appropriation of a mythic image from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds by Diana Larrea (Madrid, 1972) on the façade of the Casa de América, via the most overtly political by Fernando Sánchez Castillo (Madrid, 1970) which, with the collaboration of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, will make one of the most emblematic monuments of the capital -Pietro Tacca’s equestrian statue of Philip IV in the Plaza de Oriente- accessible to pedestrians. Other projects with a more active participation are also included: the El Perro group who, after a public vote, propose the virtual demolition of some of the most representative buildings in the Paseo de la Castellan area, and etoy, a Swiss group who will instal the offices of their data-processing corporation in the Plaza de Colón to research the art market and initiate their own collection. The 451 team has designed the image and web-page of MADRID ABIERTO and is developing a specific project on all the applications and graphic identity of the programme.

There are also four associate projects: Luciano Matus (Mexico, D.F.,1971) will intervene in various interior and exterior spaces of the Casa de América; NEO2 magazine will include in its February issue a Madrid Abierto dossier that can be used as a programme for the event; in the audiovisual field, Metrópolis, broadcast weekly on Spanish Television’s second channel (a pioneer programme in Spain on contemporary culture specialized in the research and diffusion of the new artistic languages), will produce their own monograph on MADRID ABIERTO. This autonomous piece will then be presented in ARCO 2004 together with all the art interventions in the framework of Bulevares ARCO: Fragmentos de una ciudad interior, also produced as an associate project by the Sociedad Estatal para el Desarrollo del Diseño y la Innovación (D.Di).

January 2004Jorge Díez







2005. Interview by Ramon Parramon. ROSINA GÓMEZ BAEZA

 Your contribution to and participation in Madrid Abierto is undoubtedly based on your point of view of director of ARCO, but also as a member of the selection committee which a few months ago proposed a series of projects to be produced in Madrid Abierto. In this respect, in this interview I would like focus on issues relative to both the Art Fair and to the city, on which Madrid Abierto bases its structure and raison d’être.

What are the current functions of ARCO? (From the social, cultural and market point of view and other relevant aspects).

ARCO’s current function is the result of a work in progress which began several years ago, when Spain had no real infrastructure in place for contemporary art. From its condition of Fair, and its ephemeral nature, ARCO had no other option than to become a meeting point for this country’s contemporary arts. Today, Spain has in place a real network of centres which promote cultural programmes which ARCO has always been willing to collaborate with, going beyond its function of Fair, and always aware of the importance of creating a work context.

Normally, the media tends to analyse ARCO's success by sales volume and number of visitors. In your opinion, what aspects should be taken into account when measuring the outreach of the Fair?

It is obvious that sales and number of visitors are a priority when talking about a market structure, but it is also important to consider how the necessary atmosphere to generate this is created. ARCO has concentrated on, and I think that we are pioneers in this, distinguishing the visitors to the Fair through specialised programmes for collectors, gallery owners, theoreticians, journalists etc. addressing their needs and ensuring connecting links between them. No doubt, one of ARCO’s main achievements, which I consider fundamental when measuring the outreach of the Fair, is the increase in the number private collectors in this country, a sector which was inexistent a few years ago. Giving a voice to collectors is crucial if we want to build a contemporary art heritage.

Let us imagine a situation that has already occurred on more than one occasion: a minister comes to ARCO and buys a work of art. What is the message given? What should be the role of institutions with regard to ARCO? (I am referring to institutions whose work is associated with contemporary art, whether programming or organising a collection) What do you think should be the role of the institutions with regard to contemporary art?

To establish the base for a solid contemporary art heritage, institutions and their representatives should and must get involved in the process.  For several years now ARCO has been engaged in a programme called Proyecto Salas, with the participation of some of the main institutions of this country, to ensure a real link for interchange and a common exhibition space. We have also seen a progressive increase in the number of institutions that come to ARCO to purchase art, enriching the national heritage and ensuring that the fabulous architectural spaces that have proliferated in Spain in the last twenty years house international collections and that they establish an itinerant circuit of exhibitions with other foreign institutions. These spaces also contribute to the public’s appreciation of and education in art.

“Neither ARCO nor any other international art fair reflects what is currently happening. Because the primary objective of the galleries that come to these events is to sell as many works of art as possible. This commercial vision of art often goes against current creative proposals. ARCO is an event for visitors to go and see the work of well-known and consolidated artists, those highly valued in the market, but far removed from a space for promoting or launching new talent.”

This comment by Rafael Tous, published in the magazine, Lateral, I think underlies various aspects that you could perhaps explain, comment or challenge:

ARCO has promoted artists that are now already part of the international mainstream as rising talent. Yes, art is sold in ARCO because it is a Fair, but it is also a very diverse exhibit of what is happening in no less than thirty-five countries. ARCO organises a series of programmes curated by some of the most important international curators, apart from the general programme of galleries, where there is room for different kinds of projects with alternative supports, highlighting the Fair’s interest in current creations.

This combination and display of commercial activity and cultural activity; how do you think it is perceived by the community of gallery owners and artists who participate in the Fair?

ARCO strives to ensure that the cultural activity that necessarily surrounds the Fair is directed and approached with the highest respect for the gallery context by ensuring that it interferes as less as possible with their commercial activity and that the space which they undoubtedly are the stars of is a quiet space and lends itself to their activities. However, we are also aware that the more attractive the Fair’s cultural programme, in harmony with what is happening in the city, the more professionals and collectors of contemporary art will be attracted by our cultural and commercial offer.

For artists it is of course extremely positive, given that ARCO tries to make sure that all its special guests, from curators to gallery owners and museum directors, become familiar with this country’s production and that a cultural interchange is activated to facilitate the promotion of artists abroad. Because, let’s be honest, one of this country’s main pending issues is the qualified promotion of the image of Spanish contemporary art outside our borders. Everyone knows that the majority of our artists are forced to leave Spain to promote their work. This is why ARCO seeks to become a window for tendencies with own names, displaying this country’s immense artistic panorama, and the persistent efforts of Spanish gallery owners, who have taken on a role that should rightfully be shared with government institutions.

Let us go one step further with regard to the activities included in the scope of ARCO. In relation to the city, how do you think Madrid’s socio-cultural activity is affected by the event?

February has become the cultural month par excellence in Madrid, and this circumstance is directly associated with the action process initiated by ARCO. In just a few days hundreds of outstanding persons of the art world arrive in Madrid and find themselves involved in an endless number of activities and inaugurations of the highest level, which transform the city into the cultural capital desired by all.

It has sometimes been suggested that ARCO absorbs so much energy that the city of Madrid becomes a cultural desert the rest of the year. This image of desolation continues to be mentioned in art circles. How would you rate the city’s activity after ARCO? To what extent does it revitalise or burden the activity of the city over the year?

Indeed, ARCO’s pulling power as a brief event and an important meeting space gives rise to inaugurations and cultural programmes of great magnitude taking place that month, but this frenetic activity leads to agreements being clenched, people getting to know one another, and co-operation links being created between different institutions for possible future collaboration.

The initiative Madrid Abierto, headed by Jorge Díez, emerged a year ago with the aim of working within the real context of the city, but associated with this energy field generated by ARCO. What does Madrid Abierto mean to you? To what extent is it associated or disassociated from the Open Spaces that used to be organised inside ARCO’s exhibition site?

Street art is no longer the transferral of the museum to the street as exhibition space but a means of interacting with the public/passers-by to establish reciprocal reflection. It is a way of relating to everyday spaces and offering different points of view of our own existence in the city. It proposes that what is public is not just confined to what we can see but it also forms part of that abstract space of public domain. In this respect, Madrid Abierto is set out as a question mark directed at the space of the city, a city like Madrid, which makes daily efforts to become more habitable, within the complexity of a growing metropolis.

The Open Spaces developed during the different editions of the Fair have been the detonating factor and the initiative that have inspired intersections between the artistic object and the city.

The majority of the projects selected for this second edition require some explanation to understand their meaning and their position or relationship with the mechanisms of the city, i.e., transport systems, advertising devices, etc. In fact, they evidence a certain dematerialisation or deobjetivisation. How does this fit in into the framework of a fair that is based on the sale of art objects?

I think that we must understand that contemporary art is plural and diverse, and cannot be subject to a single category. In the Fair we try to ensure that all these possibilities are contemplated from different standpoints; for example, in the International Forum of Experts in Contemporary Art we have a session that specifically addresses the Collection of previously uncollectible art, which will address the ways art fairs will have to assume, among other things, that new quality of contemporary art within the dematerialisation of the artistic object. However, the traditional circuit will clearly continue to exist because, as I said earlier, the Fair is and seeks to continue to be a window for illustrative options of contemporary aesthetics.












Meeting place in the garden (after Patrick Geddes) 2005 by Apolonija Šušteršic.Photos: Apolonija Šušteršic.


Garden Service by Apolonija Šušteršic and Meike Schalk. Photo: Apolonija Šušteršic     Ebenezer Howard and the three magnets


For cities to thrive, to be communicative and alive, and to function as catalysers of public life it is necessary to stimulate civic participation and community involvement. This at a time when denizens face increased social control, violence, alienation and privatisation of what was previously public. Simultaneously, cities are run as if they were corporate entities driven by profit and urban environments can become more about devising branding advantages to entice investors than about providing adequate conditions for its inhabitants. Manuel Castells, Bernard Tschumi, Paul Virilio, Richard Sennet and Edward Soja, among others, have all commented on the changing meaning of the city and on the fragmentation and dislocation of the urban environment. At times of conurbation, sprawl and megalopolis, even the word ‘city’ itself needs attention.

By temporarily intervening in the urban context, by reorganising memories and by temporarily taking on visionary and hybrid roles, for example as roles of designers and urban planners, artists participating in Madrid Abierto think about and relate to the city in innovative ways. As an annual platform, Madrid Abierto facilitate updated and situated accounts of what public art can be today. It challenges ways in which to plan and stimulate social interaction in Madrid. And for those who are curious definitions of public art, one attempt at describing it would be as an interdisciplinary practice involving, among others, artists, architects, designers, planners, writers, dancers and more. Or, as Jane Rendell characterise it “If there is such a practice as public art….then I argue that public art should be engaged in the production of restless objects and spaces, ones that provoke us, that refuse to give up their meanings easily but instead demand that we question the world around us” [1]. As it stands today, public art comes with massive agendas. Cultural theorist Malcolm Miles describes what he sees as the two main pitfalls of public art: First in its use as wallpaper to cover over social conflict and tensions, and second as a monument to promote the aspirations of corporate sponsors and dominant ideologies[2]. It is also worth noticing, as Jane Rendell eloquently points out, that traditionally the word ‘public’ stands for what is good; for democracy, accessibility, participation and egalitarianism. Set against an increasingly privatised world where ownership, exclusivity and elitist networks rule, it is quite possible the expression ‘public art’ need some attention as well.

Given the current framework, where society fails to negotiate the challenges of increased privatisation and where urban developments falls prey for dominating developers, how can art and artists work in order to present alternatives that looks at the situation differently? How can inertia and nostalgia be substituted by visionary and creative tools acting as catalysts for change? Madrid Abierto makes use of provocative and innovative ways to actively contribute to the debate. 

With the intention to assist as background information, and to feed a discussion about works that intervene in the city, what follows is a compiled and brief overview of historical initiatives and view points. Using mainly references stemming from city planning, my modest intention is to create a bridge between disciplines, hoping it may benefit art and artists and others involved.

In the beginning were the Viennese architect and planner Camillo Sitte (1843-1903). He is often cited as the founder of modern city planning, something he considered to be art[3]. In the mid 19th century Sitte toured Europe and tried to identify aspects that made towns welcoming and that succeeded in maintaining a friendly atmosphere. His conclusions, published under the title “City Planning According to Artistic Principles” (1889), marked the beginnings of a new era of city planning. Here, emphasis was on irregular structures and spacious plazas. “Squares and parks should be catalysers of public life, social condensers able to re-propose the way of life regarded as absent”[4]. Many of his ideas were similar to those of the British Garden City advocate Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928).

The Scotsman Patrick Geddes (1854 – 1932), geologist, botanist and later city planner, developed a classification scheme for planning around three components: Place, Work and Folk. In this he concluded that human society could be looked upon in similar ways as animal and plant societies. Geddes perceived of himself as a gardener who ordered the environment for the benefit of life. The difference between creating gardens as places for plant life, and cities as places for human life was, according to Geddes, only a matter of degree: “My ambition being … to write in reality – here with flower and tree, and elsewhere with house and city – it is all the same” [5]. For Geddes, the region was to become the visual expression of the order he detected in nature.

Geddes was not concerned with the training of experts. He was far more concerned that the ordinary citizen should have a vision and comprehension of the possibilities of their own cities and actively participate in city planning. His vision included a Civic Exhibition and a permanent centre for Civic Studies in every town. These centres would make efforts to reveal the correlations between thought and action, science and practice, sociology and morals. For this purpose, Geddes bought the Outlook Tower in Edinburgh 1892 and transformed it into a dynamic meeting place[6].

Following ideas outlined by Geddes, and now as part of Edinburgh Garden Festival 2007, artist Apolonija Šušteršič worked in collaboration with architect and theoretician Meike Schalk. Their project titled Garden Service was installed as a public art piece along the Royal Mile where Geddes himself lived and installed public gardens. Garden Service consists of benches and a table, flower pots and programmed sessions in the format of Sunday afternoon tea talks. In Geddes’ legacy, the discussions were open for all and focussed on architecture, urbanism, city planning, environmental activism and of course on Geddes himself.  This is the second project Šušteršič and Schalk produces about Geddes. In 2005 they mounted a glass house along the river in Dundee, the city where he held a position as professor in botany for 30 years. The project was an acknowledgement of Geddes’ idea of a meeting place set within a garden. The glass house was equipped with plants, books and other material in order to support meetings and talks held in the house. When the exhibition period was over, the house was donated to an activist group concerned with the future developments of the city.

In the 1960s, especially in the US wherepre- and post-war housing shortage and heavy-handed urban renewal strategies resulted in urban crisis, a revival took place in the discussions about city planning. People like Gordon Cullen, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch and many more contributed ideas and developed methods that fed alternative ways to think about the city. Urban design professor Donald Appleyard, for instance, developed a special interest in the psychological effects of traffic that led him to device social network analysis methods which made room for people’s own perceptions and values. These techniques allowed Appleyard to bring the inhabitants of cities into the centre of the urban planning process. By devising his own tools, Appleyard took issue with the power conflicts inherent in mainstream urban planning processes.[7]

[1] J. Rendell, Art and Architecture. A place between. London, NY: I.B. Tauris, 2006

[2] M. Miles, Art, Space and the City. London: Routledge, 1997

[3] P. Rabinow, French Modern. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1989


[5] Boyd Whyte, Ian and Welter, Volker M. Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002

[6] P. Geddes, Cities in Evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1950



.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................CECILIA ANDERSSON is curator and director of Werk Ltd., a curatorial agency established in Stockholm. Werk collaborates internationally in the organisation, production, promotion and publication of contemporary art. Her recent projects include SuperSocial, social events set up in different cities; On Cities, an exhibition organised in Stockholm’s Museum of architecture and an itinerant programme of Chinese video.











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2007. Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes. SONOROUS PROMENADE

 If every exhibition is a complex act, every artistic intervention programme in public spaces is even more so. If many actors and intervening factors are involved in every exhibition, in every public art programme those participating actors and produced intertwines of intervening factors make the complexity innate to every artistic process and to its public exhibition multiply. If in every exhibition opposing interests and conflicts are very present, in every artistic intervention in the public sphere those opposing interests and conceptual and development conflicts rise to the surface with more intensity. Complexity and conflict should therefore be recognised as fundamental and constitutive parts of every public artistic process, but also – as an inevitable element- the contradictions with which it is constructed. MADRID ABIERTO is, in this sense, a complex programme where inevitably one must work with conflicts and contradictions of varying nature, ranging from aesthetics to political, urban to social, artistic to audience, ultimate meaning to materialisation. And because contradictions must be assumed, one must inevitably part from the stance of recognising them.

Public presence today is, first and foremost, a presentation for initial circulation and distribution. The temporality of the projects and their immateriality speak from an activity that has lost all centralism in the composition of dominant discourses and, like traditional ideas relative to the museum inherited from the Enlightenment theories, simply remain there, at discourse level, given that a shift has been produced as a result of the application of advanced capitalist formulas. The artist and the public ceased to be antagonists a long time ago to both become mass-actors within a supra-structure which they both work for as mediators. Michael Fried –in Absorption and Theatricality- has traced an antagonism between works that establish a theatrical relationship with the spectator and others that ignore him, that treat him ‘as if he did not exist’. In his essay he holds a theory on French art of 1800 which is worth hearing to subsequently contrast it with others relative to the same historical time in the composition of modern political and aesthetic theories: the artist “had to find a way of neutralising or denying the presence of the spectator, of establishing the fiction of his inexistence as such before the painting”. This situation is termed by Fried as paradoxical, given that “the attention of the spectator could only be captured and maintained fixed on the painting through that denial”. On his part, Thomas Crow –in Painters and Public Life in 18th-Century Paris- studied a fundamental occurrence in that period: “the birth of a public space”. Crow stops to study the Parisian Salons and the emergence of a new artistic genre, ‘the public one’ (and inseparably attached to it, ‘the artistic press’), which mediatises the aesthetic experience and its dissemination. Prior to that, Crow observed something of obvious relevance to an event like MADRID ABIERTO: the relationship between ‘the Salon and the street’, initially investigating street exhibitions where paintings were exhibited on the walls of Place Dauphine. That is, contrary to Fried’s theory that painting in that period sought to deny the existence of the spectator, Crow investigated and defended that that was precisely the period when the concepts of ‘public’ and ‘public space’ emerged. However, those theories are not conflicting, but they work on different planes that are somehow worth bearing in mind within the complexity and contradictions inherent to today’s public art space and in relation to this edition of MADRID ABIERTO.

Robert Musil –in The Man without Qualities- wrote “cities can be recognised by their pace just as people can by their walk”. In this respect, the proposal of this year’s MADRID ABIERTO is essentially a promenade that goes from the Metrópolis building – on the junction of Gran Vía with Alcalá- to the Colón monument –on the square that bears his name, inaugurated in 1892, on the fourth centenary of the ‘journey’ and six years prior to the ’98 Disaster’-, along Paseo de Recoletos. Furthermore, it will mainly be a sonorous promenade, though with some exceptions. A promenade along the centre of a city is a journey through a distinguished place which, as such, also has its artistic tradition (from flâneur to situationism, from land art to Alÿs, through initiatives that hold similarities with conceptual art). In this sense, the contextualisation of the proposals of MADRID ABIERTO 07 is the result of a history that makes reference to a specific period: the Enlightenment Thought period and its expansion, with its consolidation and the resistance to which it was subjected in the 18th and 19th centuries (Paseo de Recoletos, as a prolongation of the Prado Salon, one of the main Enlightenment projects of Carlos III), following which, the ultimate fall of the Spanish Empire was produced, symbolised by the loss of the last colonies (Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines). Therefore, the promenade between the monument to Colon and the French-aesthetics Metropolis building is already full of powerful images. No other images need to added, although indeed some sounds to accentuate them: they alone talk to us about our history and our present, about power and its representation in buildings and monuments that symbolise and house it: banks (among them, the Bank of Spain), insurance companies, the Army Headquarters, the Palace of Communications, etc., but also cultural and artistic institutions like Círculo de Bellas Artes, the National Library and the recent Centro Cultural de la Villa, given that, as Edward W. Said studied in detail, “the relationship between imperialist politics and culture is surprisingly close”. This promenade with its emblems needs and excludes the public on a daily basis in a similar way to that previously recalled when quoting Michael Fried and 1800 painting. In addition- and in relation to that studied by Thomas Crow- the ‘democratic’, ‘competitive’ and selected open call for presentations to MADRID ABIERTO is heir of the idea of the Parisian Salons; besides linking up with the street exhibitions – mentioned by Crow as stemming from the Salons- and urbanism as clear precursors of what is termed today ‘public art’. A term and a concept already fully extended which has broken its previous specificity, as in the case of sculpture – from which it generated into a concept-. In this latter sense, our intention is not to question ‘public art’ but the recognition of its expanded specificity, its contradictions and problems, have been overlapped by another specificity that is different and more widespread among the interventions that make up this edition: voices, songs, music and sounds. Added to this is a curatorial decision: the possibility of a stroll through a space distinguished by the ideas that underlie the composition of its history, heirs of Enlightenment Thought and of the concept of Empire –something that is also entirely associated with a ‘global coloniality’ present, to use the term employed by Walter D. Mignolo-. Therefore, a detour was preferred, a sonorous promenade, precisely running in the opposite direction to the ‘Art Promenade’.

Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes









2007. Guillaume Desagnes. ART IN PUBLIC SPACES

2007. Guillaume Desagnes. ART IN PUBLIC SPACES



"In the museum you can decide how close to be to the art. But in life you can’t control the art."1


Elise Parré, Sans titre (photographies), 2001    Elise Parré, Sans titre (photographies), 2001


The basic question that every artistic project in public spaces raises is: can art exist outside the places enshrined for it? Can it exist without losing, spoiling or deactivating itself? And even, what can it ultimately gain or pledge in this qualitative mutation transfer? In the sixties, investment in the street on the part of artists responded to a large extent to an anti-institutional need: the museum, sclerosed in its exhibition methods, suddenly appeared maladjusted to the explosion of new creation methods. Today, knowing that the museum can absorb everything, validate everything - for better or worse - art no longer has the need to invest in public spaces in a reactive manner but, rather, in an active manner. That is, in the case of specific projects where a confrontation with reality seems necessary and pressing. It is under this perspective that it becomes fascinating.

The following observations, voluntarily expressed in an assertive manner, without justification, are hinged on four concepts fundamental to me in apprehension in the public space: space, time, ethics and passion2. These often evident ideas were inspired in me by different experiences, which have been exemplary to me in the challenges that the presence of specific works of art in public spaces entails:

- Domaines publics: an exhibition that I organised in 2001 in collaboration with Aurélie Voltz and François Piron, which consisted of inviting ten young artists to intervene in the district town halls of Paris in the heart of the public space: waiting rooms, halls, registration offices, corridors, etc. Considering the architectural, political and symbolic nature but also absorbing the ordinary activities in these places, these specific pieces all reacted in a different way in this area of direct contact between the democratic ideal and reality. (Some of the photographs that illustrate this text come from to a project by Elise Parré. They are interventions inside the town hall of the 4th district.  They have been disseminated in the form of edited photographs.  The project was cancelled at the last moment on the decision of the committee.)

- Musée Précaire Albinet: a work of art in the public space by Thomas Hirschhorn, produced on the invitation of Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers. Built at the foot of a group of buildings, the Musée Précaire Albinet presented major works by Duchamp, Malevitch, Mondrian, Dalí, Beuys, Le Corbusier, Warhol and Léger during a period of eight weeks and revitalised them on a daily basis to the pace of exhibitions, conferences, debates and literary workshops, children’s workshops, ordinary outings and lunches. The Musée Précaire Albinet, which needed 18 months of preparation work, was built and has functioned with the help of the residents. The works of art came from the Musée National d’Art Modern and the Fonds National d’Arte Contemporain.

- The work of Ben Kinmont often takes the shape of surveys and recompilations of testimonies.  The work of the American artist directly explores the possibilities of anticipating social action as an artistic practice implicating a solicited local public in his reflection. It involves questioning with acts, methods and words the undefined borders that separate artistic practice from political and social action, opening beyond art’s structural sector and basically remaining focussed on artistic problems.

Thomas Hirschhorn, Musée Précaire Albinet, 2004. (c) Thomas Hirschhorn / Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers    Thomas Hirschhorn, Musée Précaire Albinet, 2004. (c) Thomas Hirschhorn / Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers



- The public space is not the space of art.- It should not be considered as an extension of the museum or the gallery.- It is therefore not a place to invest in, to inhabit, and even less so, to occupy. It will always continue to be a space for «sharing».- The public space is basically incompatible with art, given that it belongs to everyone as opposed to the sphere of the subjective (art), a space cohabitated by everyone as apposed to the space for an individual’s decision.- A work of art in the public space will always perturb an existing situation and question its own identity as a work of art.- The public space is a difficult and unrewarding space that holds up a resistance.- It will never be a neutral and passive territory. - The public space is not nature; therefore, it cannot be the support of an urban ‘land-art’, mute and dehumanised.- The public space, due to its life energy, is the best and also worst place: a space of discomfort, the unexpected and chaos. One never feels at home. Every intervention remains out of control.- In the public space one has to accept the exceptional possibility of an unprecedented, wild and spontaneous confrontation with art, although also and simultaneously, rejection, indifference and disdain.- Challenging art within its frontiers is a fascinating place.

2 – TIME

- The time of a project in the public space is not art’s time.- A project in the public space should remain ephemeral.- Nevertheless, it requires attention and a significant amount of preparation time. - The public space requires knowledge of the terrain, which is not acquired from a map, but from the place itself.- This preparation time is unrewarding, in the sense that it is necessary but never enough, given that, come what may, the reality of a project in the public space will contradict all pre-established logic, both in terms of set up and reception.- Given that it comes face to face with reality, an ephemeral artistic project in the public space can have very prolonged consequences, which are not measurable.- It is dependent on the experience, it is an undetermined adventure: one knows how it begins but never how it ends.- In the public space the work of art is mobile and dynamic, challenged and, therefore, alive.- In this respect, art in the public space is always a performance art.- Its force will also reside in its capacity to resist disappearance.


- The ethical issues of a project in the public space are more acute than in the world of art because it intervenes in the space of the real.- The methods employed and their consequences engage the responsibility of the artist and also that of the curator.- Executing a project in the public space should not depend on an opportunity, but on a decision.- Nevertheless, such a project should not go as far as being effective other than artistically. That is its priority. - Its irreducibly artistic logic can ultimately disconcert the social, political or economic ethics of a given situation.- An interesting project is always badly received; it is never expected and should often be tolerated.- It often requires dialogue and explanation (but never justification).- The artist should know how to adapt himself to a context without yielding to it; understand it without responding to it.- A good project in the public space should always be subversive, but this subversion is two-fold: against art and against the public space.- It is a question of preserving the autonomy of art there where everything contradicts it.


- To organise projects in the public space, it is necessary to find artists who have a special interest for these places.- The public space requires an exceptional engagement on the part of the artist and the curator.- In the public space the artist does not have any obligation to obtain results, but an obligation to the means.- The public space should not be more than a possibility among others, but a need and an urgency for the work of art- A project in the public space should avoid occupying an area restricted to a specific environment.- It should engage an unprecedented relation with its chance or solicited spectators.- A good project involves a passion for experience, immediate confrontation and risk.- A good project in the public space never ‘works’ and therefore requires certain humbleness.- It requires special lucidity, but also a determination that leaves little room for doubt. - A project in the public space can be very simple in its objectives, but its consequences will always be extremely complex.

Guillaume Désanges, December 2006


1 From a conversation with a participant in a café. Project Moveable type no documenta, Ben Kinmont, 2002. 2 On another front, they refer to the famous formula of Charles Baudelaire on "l’epoque, la mode, la morale, la passion"


Ben Kinmont, Moveable type no documenta, 2002    Ben Kinmont, Moveable type no documenta, 2002










2009-2010. Nelson Brissac. URBAN INTERVENTIONS

2009-2010. Nelson Brissac. URBAN INTERVENTIONS


 MADRID ABIERTO is becoming one of the few projects, all over the world, able to face a crucial question about contemporary art: the relation to the urban space. As a contribution to a discussion about its strategies and process, we present here a short balance of a project of urban interventions -Arte/Cidade- carried out in Sao Paulo, Brasil (1) .   The proposal consisted of taking Sao Paulo as a field where questions about the city and art were being played. The contemporary metropolis as a complex and dynamic space, in constant change, creating new and unusual spatial, social and cultural configurations. When the new urban policies of revitalization and the established forms fail before the complexity and scale of the proceedings of globalization, we must discuss new urban and artistic interventions in megacities. The project tried to promote interventions able to transcend their immediate surroundings and refer to the vast territory of the megacity and the global reconfiguration of the economy, the power and the art. To attract our perception towards situations which only show with the exploration in loco, the visual scrutiny. Interventions, which would take into account the process of metropolitan and global, restructure but would be opposed to the institutional and corporative appropriation of urban space and artistic practices.

Jose Resende 2002


How to consolidate the result developped by the most recent projects for the urban space? It is essential, to be able to operate on an urban scale, to create aesthetic and technical instruments and processes appropriate for the development of the proposals from the artists and the presentation of material, structural and political questions (relationship with communities and public authorities involved) put forward to be introduced.

Each edition of Arte/Cidade was prepared in three stages: a large urbanistic survey of the region, a selection of sites and the development of the projects of intervention. The survey, focussing on the social-spatial dynamics of the megalopolis is completed by a survey of the possible situations of intervention. Those areas were visited by all the participants, who contributed with important suggestions of readings and new sites, enriching the map proposed in the beginning.

How to take into account, on the occasion of preparation of the projects of intervention, the multiple and complex decisions which affect those urban situations? How to make possible for the participants, many of them foreigners, to operate with those factors? A group of support, including architects and engineers, took part in the development of every project, trying to stress to the limit their structural and technical potentialities and their urbanistic and social scope. The possibilities of intervention on urban areas and building, the problems of structural support and the use of materials were studied, in each case, having in view the experimentation and the transgression of conventional functions.

The complexity and the scale of the proposed situations do not allow a process of work that is not based on technical projects and the right operational supports. So it was sought to avoid an intuitive adequation with regard to the sites. As well as breaking the process, nowadays crystallized in projects for a specific site. To avoid the locations serving only as a context, as a background, for works, hardly allusive, simple commentaries on the situations.

How to assess the device created by the interventions as a whole? The urbanistic, economic, social and political effect the project caused? The fast process of global integration of the cities has basically changed the conditions and principles of urban interventions. Megaprojects of redevelopment and an important transnational institutions are carrying out a deep restructure of the cities on a global scale. Demanding a new technical, aesthetic and institutional list and new strategies for the action in the urban space. Which were the results, strictly aesthetic, of the interventions carried out by Arte/Cidade? In which way the principles and proceedings set up by the projects had an influence on the artistic initiatives that, since then, had the urban space as a parameter? In retrospect, the different interventions may be seen perhaps as involved in part with sculptural strategies on a large scale.

Wodiczko 2002    Vito Acconci 2002

In other cases, not always they succeeded in mobilizing the social groups they were intended for. Other different conceptual and operational parameters needed to be introduced in this artistic practice with the aim of their effects being more intensive and inclusive. Strategies which will permit to face the institutional, discursive and economic apparatus characteristic of the city and the "world of art". To prove how a product of the urban space and culture -as well as the reception of this process- have become more and more submitted to economic relations and of power. A way to approach this subject would be to analyse the future of the sites where the interventions took place, some of them converted into cultural centres, shopping centres and large projects of urban development with housing and office towers. Other areas became favelas or are used now for informal activities. The new uses of these sites are, therefore, of very different nature, as well as the part which the project may have eventually had in this process. In front of the new relationship between art and urban development, which are the alternatives open in metropolies in process of global restructuration? Our option was to emphasize the large areas, extraordinarily complex and dynamic, excluded from the projects of urban development. To point out programs which relate the dynamic indetermination of these intersticial territories. To promote interventions which would potentialize urban situations linked to communities resistent to the existent design of the city and to the prevailing economic and social interest. A possibility of introducing new urban strategies.

In the last few years we have watched a phenomenon which has absolutely changed the parameters of evaluation of the urban space and the extent of the interventions: the global integration of the largest cities, with the appearance of great urban architectural projects promoted by international capital. Closely related to that process we see the tendency to the mega-museums, which tend to subordinate the production and the aesthetic perceptions to the same global spatial logic. A monumentality that steers the city and art towards the spectacle and the cultural tourism.

It is no longer possible to conceive projects for the urban space without taking into account that new large scale. Given the growing spatial, institutional and social complexities of urban situations, every intervention has to take into account that intense process of restructuration of the cities. That means the need to develop strategies in opposition to the spatial area, the architectural shape and the institutional or corporative instrumentation of art.

Interventions in megacities place the matter of the perception of large urban areas which escape completely from the mental map of their inhabitants, from the parameters established by urbanism and the grammar of the art for public spaces. Which are the subjects related to the perception, by the public, of interventions on this scale? When the cities are adopting strategies of concerned with marketing, housing development and cultural tourism, artistic practices must avoid the speculation inherent to those processes.

Could projects of artistic interventions on the urban space become a field of discussion about the processes of urban restructuration? Is it possible in the present scenery of administration of cities and culture, dominated by corporative and institutional operations with a great economic and political power, to create a public space of debate about the alternatives of urban development and artistic production?

(1) Arte/Cidade teve quatro edições, a partir de 1994. A primeira ocorreu num matadouro desativado, na região sul da cidade. A segunda, no centro, em três edifícios e na área por eles demarcada, cortada por um viaduto. A terceira, ao longo de um ramal ferroviário, na região oeste. A última, em 2002, na região leste da cidade, antiga área industrial, num recorte de cerca de 10 km2.

....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................NELSON BRISSACIs a philosopher whose works is related to art and urban-planning issues. Since 1994, he is organiser and curator of Arte/Cidade, an urban interventions project in São Paulo.

















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