El borde de una herida curated by Juan Guardiola, as a co-production between Centro Centro and CDAN could be defined as a “poetic and political reflection on the migrant’s journey from the perspective of contemporary creation.” The exhibition opened on February 16, at CentroCentro in Madrid and stayed open through June 4 2017.
The exhibition design of OSS supports the curatorial discourse and facilitates the tour of the exhibition. One single element of the intervention is perceived and concentrates function and meaning: it is a fence made with scaffolding and greenhouse fabric, which describes a slightly zigzag path, located in the central section of the exhibition. In a first level, the function of the fence is to guide the visitor in a space that is confusing as well as to separate an area of light from a darker one in which audiovisuals are shown. This contrast in light levels also makes a reference to the dramatic play of darkness and visibility at play in the most controlled borders. A second reading may reveal that this fence guides while forcing the visitor to navigate a narrower and more delineated path. It looms threatening and uncomfortable between the room’s walls and reduces the personal space of the visitors and their movements. The materials used refer to two sectors of the economy where most immigrants usually work in Spain: construction and greenhouse agriculture.
A prototype for the general invasion of rooftops and other residual spaces with high biodiversity, redemptive ecosystems, USS-s serve as seeds, catalyzing a natural recuperation of the city’s surfaces. Their uses range from scientific and educative to recreational, while they capture carbon emissions and generate oxygen. ETFE’s double skin allows for the structure to be lightweight and creates a heat exchange. Rainwater accumulates in underbelly bags, while the texture design of the structure itself helps channel the airflow to generate electricity. Secondary use as ultra-fine particulate collector has demonstrated capable of passively cleaning street-level air near host buildings. A 40% of this prototype (USS 1.0) was built and tested within the exhibition Souls & Machines, Digital Art & New Media, held in 2008, at the National Art Museum Reina Sofía in Madrid. In 2016, a 1:1 prototype was built for the Art Triennial Emscherkunst. Placed on top of an existent building, docked onto the air conditioning of the surrounding buildings, it created a cleaning circulation; the building’s waste air and warmth were filtered by the USSs plants, cleaned, and enriched with oxygen before it was led back into the building.
Factoría Cultural is the adaptation of a hall in Matadero Madrid to house an incubator of creative industries start-ups. We used very few, cheap, and easy to install materials, and we tried to achieve with them as many different and distinct work areas as possible, adapted to different needs. Three volumes near the entrance organize the space, folding and compressing the circulations around it. This creates a gradient, from compact to expansive, from busy to silent, that helps achieve variety in workspaces. In a little less than one month we built a reversible, vacuum-packed, 105-eur/m2 work, adaptable to the multitude of situations the client asked for.
To house the needed 120 workspaces in a 399 sq. m. floor area (that needed to be further reduced to 340 sq. m. in order to maintain a public pass-through) was impossible, unless we found more space using the height of the hall. This created additional problems since there was not enough money to achieve the construction of a second floor by traditional means. We decided to use very simple building systems: the cheapest local pine lumber, all in the same standard size, which simplified the supply and construction of the structure, and multi-wall polycarbonate, very lightweight and in large sheets, which allowed for the walls to be finished in just one day. We were able to achieve 85 more sq.m and crucially to split functions in two levels, which allows for more flexibility in use that the client is now making very good use of.
At the exhibition Spanische Spione everything is dominated by a capsule which can be reached by going up the stairs. This capsule raises over the usual level of artistic enjoying, playing with the idea of the art as an instrument of elevation or social ascent, which is what gives the name to the piece: AAAEE (Art As An Elevating Experience). The position of the capsule turns the directors of the art gallery into pieces of their own venue, since one can watch them in their office trough the methacrylate. AAAEE was first shown in 2004 at the International Art Fair ARCO Madrid, where the installation converted the art fair into an art work, by the appropriating of the general view of it.
This generative public art installation was assigned to us by Abalos & Herreros, architects of the Barcelona Urban Waste Treatment Plant, which was the main facade of the Forum de las Culturas de Barcelona in 2004. It seemed interesting to use the opportunity of the large waste treatment machine to produce a prototype of a new contemporary façade that would interact with people and allow them dialogue in a public space. Visitors to the Forum de las Culturas could write messages with their mobile phones live, in a size of 55×16 meters, which made them a public mode of communication. Another board would be located in the moving urban landscape that constitutes the Barcelona ring-road, providing a fleeting show to thousands of drivers: 440 blue LED bulbs would serve to monitor the plant’s sensors, making visible environmental data related to their own garbage to the citizens of Barcelona or any other type of information in a graphic, fast and intuitive way or even retransmissions of the sea that is behind, blocked by the same Waste Treatment Plant that serves as support thus becoming sort of a huge X-ray screen.
The AAAEE (Art As An Elevating Experience)’s second version was developed with a similar concept to the one we had designed for the 2004 edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair ARCO Madrid. It was another opportunity to convert the art fair into an art work, trough appropriating a general view of the fair. The visitors were elevated over the ground level. Art is converted into AAAEE, in a literal way, physically, into an elevating experience. This is also a fairground and a journey. The piece turns the fair’s space into a “Playtime” with a Mars orange tone, into a colorful landscape that contrasts with the extreme clarity of the object’s perception and the people inside.
The director of the International Art Fair Madrid ARCO asked a chill-out space. The purpose was to produce a rest space where you had to do more exercise. In first place, the rest was produced by forcing the body to leave the horizontal movement and to climb onto to the back of an object 6 meters high. The object is an architectonical element, an out of place stair leading to nowhere. Depending on the moment and the height, the stair changes into a viewpoint, a meeting point, bleaches from where to see a show, a fashion runway, a place from where to look out and a place where to be seen. In second place, the rest was for the eyes and the sight under. The void of the pavilion was recovered and used in order to see from above. Art seen from 6 meters up.
The assignment was to devise a strategy to make the music festival Festimad easier to install and nicer and more interesting to enjoy in its new location. The idea was to produce a series of “infrastructure plugs” that would allow for different space tools and gadgets to be connected depending on necessities. These “plugs” would be easily activated or deactivated. This proposal reduced the Festimad need of yearly expenses on infrastructure, while offering urban services in a large area of previously dejected public space. Around these “plugs”, different uses are distributed according to distance and required density of services.
Using the Battle of Princeton as a point of departure, we proposed to design a museum for the purchase and enjoyment of justifiable violence. This battle marked a turning point, where the American ‘Revolutionaries’ first gained on the British troops, which concedes it a halo of ‘just’ aggression. The museum visit simultaneously extends in ‘actual, physical’ space, that of the city and its surroundings, and another, superimposed, ‘virtual, digital’ volume. In order to visit the latter, it is necessary to use the Augmented Perception System (APS) provided. Each visitor’s precise location is known with utmost precision by means of an ad-hoc Local Positioning System (LPS). The ticket purchase gains you access to both physical and a virtual space that is marginally different for each tourist. The APS gear gives information about their location and the surrounding area. If the tourist leaves the individual space he/she has bought, which roughly correlates with the area of the Battle of Princeton, the system shuts off.
The spatial organization of a fair is a monotone, dreary affair; for a celebration like Juvenalia (a youth fair in Madrid), then, it can be a problem. We tried to intensify its basic features: displays and attractions are concentrated as much as possible, while at the access we leave a large eventless space. To the mandatory streets, a diagonal is added. Contrast between crammed and labyrinthine space and another one that is free and open. Spatial organization as entertainment: combined with a location system, the entire fair becomes the site of a game of hide and seek. The façade of the exhibitors and attractions overlooking the open space is full of projections, the biggest one being the location panel of the hide and seek game.