Abandoning the architecture: Preliminary materials for the new urban person

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He lives between Europe and America. He is a researcher, curator and writer, dedicated to the study and the implementation of visual cultural programs, based on local rationality. The scope of his research focuses on the prevalence of institutional thinking’ – as applied to the arts, architecture and museums, among others – for the creation and decline of contemporary communities. *Dr. Roc Laseca* holds a PhD in Art Theory and Cultural Prospective.

As Director for the *Denkbilder Conferences* – a biannual experimental artistic exchange program in Spain – he has developed initiatives with Chris Dercon, Director for the Tate Modern and Nicolas Bourraud, former Director de la École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. His guest curatorial work Bill Viola at the MOCA North Miami in 2013, obtained the *New Times Best Museum Exhibit Award* and his book _The Unstoppable Museum_ (El Museo Imparable) – an interesting essay about the current role of museums – was published last year.

Naturally, _Living in Peru_ took the opportunity to maintain a friendly conversation with this “unstoppable” Spanish art scholar, during his pleasant stay in Lima to present his last guest curatorial project within the Peruvian Contemporary Art Fair frame. His conceptual art work, “Abandoning the architecture: Preliminary materials for the new urban person,” has been remarkable for the delicate but objective interpretation of a sensitive and present subject, achieved by the talented selected artists who developed this successful project.

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_(Photo: Adriana Lazo B.)_

_LIP:_ Your last curatorial art project formulates 21st century concerns like inhabitation and the close relationships between artistic practices and architectural thought that, beyond the artistic values such as creativity and innovation, could be consider an important legacy to think over the present ways for coexistence. Could you elaborate in this proposal?

_RL:_ When I received the invitation to participate in this project, my intention was not only to present a good artistic work but to give practical meaning to it by providing motivational suggestions that will lead to the proposal of better social and ecological ways of coexistence. This work addresses pressing issues, like the *reinvention of nature* after its exploitation as an inhabitable environment and new forms of constructing subjectivity in the midst of the post-industrial city that has turned its back on its position in relation to the common good.

The rapid population growth and the migration flows have created urban cores that coexist without sense or direction. According to the ONU, *Lima is one of the 30 most populated cities in the world.* Not only do I believe that we have to strive to imagine new forms of cohabitation, but also that we cannot conceive the collective project of the 21st century – whatever it may be – without them. This project is based on the designing of an environment by means of six juxtaposed projects, in order to mark a designation tied to the mutation of our current ways of thinking and of living.

_LIP:_ Each of the six installations for this integral project contemplates a subjective aspect neglected by postindustrial cities, which is an interesting challenge for an artist. Could you tell us about the selection of the international artists that worked with you, and how they materialized these perspectives in their creations?

_RL:_ I considered the artists selection in a way that each of them – from their own background and experimental field – would be able to propose a specific articulation, encouraged by those disciplines in which the arts plays an incentive role like contemporary archaeology and anthropology. Topics like nature, space, timelessness and individuality are present in this work.
The arts must not only be collaborative but integrated in focus groups from other fields considering the fact that, in several cases the arts anticipate social transitions.

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_(Photo: Adriana Lazo B.)_

*André Komatsu* is a Brazilian artist who develops his proposal from an explicit construction process perspective that generates social violence, as the appropriation of materials. Waste makes these materials display elements. For his work he introduces such construction materials as steel cable, steel tensor, acrylic matte paint and graphite on the wall.

*Mar Vicente*, is a Spanish artist that considers her work from a space dimension reducing architecture to spaces. Actually, individuals only inhabit within the free spaces that architecture leaves to us. Here, the individual space becomes very clear and thus we discover the critical conversation between the individual and the space. The space turns into an object too…

*Diego Lama*, is a visual artist whose installation is addressed from a temporal dimension perspective. In his video-sculptures the object traverses in a bi-dimensional sense. Shots and landscape sequences are projected continuously in the video and we do not know when it starts and when it ends. The landscapes and surrounding territories are vulnerable to land speculation.

*Cecilia Jurado Chueca’s* installation sets a booth within a booth space. Her proposal articulates three tile decaying walls. Each of the tiles has been made for this installation. Inside these walls, we find a room-like space and we can glimpse the story of the person that lived there by the trash he left…cigarette butts, drinks cans, etc. These elements become art category pieces, as a memorial to the sub-standard housing.

*Edi Hirose’s* photographs have been made possible thanks to the three fieldwork days and nights that he spent at the Sillares in Arequipa. He tracks the damages caused by erosion made to these lands that have been inherited from the pre-Columbian period. His photographs depict the main source of raw material for construction. The wired sillar blocks are an allegorical sculpture that defines and sustains the tension of the fragile balance for the construction process.

*William Cordova’s* composition entitled Labyrinth’ is actually a labyrinth made of vinyl folders, making a comparison between the era of vinyl records and the times for the boom construction, without limits. This piece is an edition of three pieces and the other two have been acquired by collectors and institutions.

The four artists mentioned above are Peruvians.

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_(Photo: Mirella Moschella Coello)_

_LIP:_ In modern times, the most developed societies have shown that the incorporation of artistic and cultural elements in communities that involve a close coexistence – as well as in urban development projects – gives excellent results for convivial harmony. The inclusion of actors such as museums, libraries, galleries and art workshops on declined districts, not only make them flourish but helped them become tourist districts, like the examples of Wynwood in Miami and Southwark in London. The district of Callao in Lima is following this tendency. Are you aware of the remodeling urban project?

_RL:_ Certainly. Personally, I have not had the chance to visit Callao, but I am aware of the innovative projects that are being made for a thorough improvement of the district that will have a positive influence [for]all. I certainly applaud the projects and initiatives that have been happening for the redevelopment of the area and social regeneration. Art is a powerful dynamic.

Actually, in my book _The Unstoppable Museum_, I mention the current position for museums, which are now seen as a global and multicultural corporate phenomenon, playing the important role to anticipate positively to life. It is important to position the museums, and art institutions, in a critical place, so that they can imagine the unimaginable and do not allow them to be instrumentalized.

_LIP:_ After having articulated the engaging projects which we have mentioned in this conversation, and after your personal and professional experience in Lima, we would like to know about your coming proposals and whether some of them could involve bilateral projects in Peru, a country with a large and important history and an open field for innovation.

_RL:_ For sure, there are some interesting ideas for local cooperation that are being studied. I enjoy the results of close bilateral collaborations, because being in touch with ‘the other’ allows us to be aware of the fiction of speech ‘ours.’

Concerning [recent]events, on May 12th the SaludArte Foundation in Miami, an institution that promotes access to the arts for everyone and positive social transformation, [inaugurated]the 7th Art Series, “Arquitectura del Desarraigo.” A Solo Exhibition of Lydia Okumura, where Miami is analyzed from the artists’ point of view. I am the curator for this project.

Likewise, on June 24, I inaugurate a retrospective exhibition from Eugenia Espinoza at Tea Tenerife, the Cultural and Arts Center for the Canary Islands, displaying drawings that have never been exhibited outside Venezuela.

_LIP:_ _Living in Peru_ thanks you for your time and wish you unstoppable success, see you soon.A close conversation with an international art curator in Lima, Roc Laseca.

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Jessica de Pomar

Jessica de Pomar is an Art Consultant for Art Institutions. She has studied Art History at Sotheby’s in London and Art Valuation, at IART in Madrid. She has worked for The Art Newspaper (UK), The Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale (USA) and the Museum of America (Spain), as well as for La Molina Borough Council (Peru). As collaborator for The Art Newspaper, she has participated at globally recognized art shows such as Arco Madrid (Spain) and Art Basel Miami Beach (USA). Jessica also writes on the international fine arts for Living in Peru Magazine.