2009-2010. Josep-María Martín. A DIGESTIVE HOUSE FOR LAVAPIÉS (theoretical data)


For years the artistic projects of Josep-Maria Martín have focused on creating new artistic intervention strategies to affect certain well established structures in our society, which, however, don’t lack weak spots. With a subjective and reflexive will, he questions and criticizes the reality upon which he acts. His pieces stress the idea of process, research, participation, implication and negotiation, transforming each identified agent of each project in true generators of a common plan.

He is interested in art which is committed to surpass the aesthetic realm: there is no denying the troubles we confront in the political, social, anthropological environment, of territorial structuring and urban planning.

He is interested in life which is transformed by art and the art of living transformed. To transform the space of life, and social life transformed by the experience of art.

The artistic and political process implies a subjectivity which enables us to critically deal with the complexity of the world. In order to do so it is essential to realize a change of paradigm that will be the source of new images in a process of constant analyses and ethical gestures. To achieve this it creates collective research and analytical processes in specific contexts, searching for fissures in social and personal systems. From that point on, it negotiates with a transverse and horizontal criterion and suggests prototypes that are inserted in reality, creating a revealing experience out of its use. In any case, to use aesthetics in gaining change and put connecting tools in the hands of people to deal with the future.

Josep-Maria Martin’s artistic projects, being multidisciplinary, may be interpreted from each and every area to which the identified agents or participants belong to. For example: to the artist it is a work of modern art, to the architect it represents an architectural project, to a social worker, it is a collective work, for a politician, a project regarding social policies, negotiation, housing, immigration, etc.

Josep-Maria Martin states: “I am curious and that makes these types of projects very interesting to me. I’m interested in:
- Opening up learning processes.
- Researching in specific contexts and finding new ways.
- Encountering people and realities.
- To question and to find new ways of seeing things.
- Seek and find images that have not thought of before.
- To identify ethical gestures.
- To develop collective processes to enter “unknown territories”.
- To develop new proposals, going from that which is specific and personal to something general.
- To go for innovation and suggest alternatives to achieve goals.
- To explore contemporary aesthetic forms.
- To create a possible participation in programs that may represent interesting challenges to me and may become sources of professional enjoyment, for being in my specific line of work.
- To meditate on the contemporary world and its artistic translation. The Digestive House/ Josep-Maria Martin/Presentation


A DIGESTIVE HOUSE. For the neighborhood of Lavapies.


Josep-Maria Martin was invited to participate in the collective exhibition “Habitat/Variations”, in 2007, in order to rethink the concept of habitat and different ways of life. To develop the project, the Genevan architect Raphaél Nussbaumer suggested a collaboration to reflect together on the spaces in which we live.

That first experience in Switzerland makes it very interesting to continue thinking on Madrid’s new project. Madrid Abierto’s open call 2009-2010 is a good opportunity to keep reflecting on how space helps us confront memory.


To question the space we live in and establish an analogy between the digestive system and the home, as an organism that digests personal and collective memory. It is a way to focus on the relationship between spaces that people live in and how it can help individuals manage and confront history, personal and collective memory with the cognitive realm of life and the well being of people. We intend to find answers to the relationship between habitat-memory:

- How can our own history, the one we contribute, coexist with the history we find in reality?
- Do we experience the legacy of a place’s memory?
- What do we contribute to the memory of a certain place?
- How do we face our personal and collective memory?
- What influence does the habitat have on the individual, the family, community…?
- How does space help us digest the events of our lives?
- What is a family’s quality of life?
- How do family members contribute to it?
- How does it affect personal and professional relationships?
- How do we face cultural displacement?
- How do we live with people belonging to other cultures and backgrounds?


- Propose the intervention of an architect to develop the project collectively.
- Identify a family form the neighborhood of Lavapies to carry out the idea.
- Open up a participation process.
- Identify and invite different interlocutors linked to the project.
- Research on how the habitat helps us face memory.
- Carry out interviews with each of the people identified as significant.
- Reflect on family life in Lavapies.
- Order the obtained information.
- Elaborate and conceptualize the proposal.
- Design the architectural project.
- Debate about the proposal with the family and other previously interviewed interlocutors.
- Design the executive project.
- Build and open the designed space.
- Evaluate the experience.
- Create a web site and a documentary about the project.
- Spread the project.
- Experiment for a period of 3 months with the prototype.