Madrid Abierto 2010 with Teddy Cruz

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The haudenschild Garage supported the project Vallecas Abierto: How is your art going to help us?, a public art intervention by architect with and Iago Carro at MADRID ABIERTO 2010.

MADRID ABIERTO by Cecilia Andersson

This first edition of MADRID ABIERTO is a biennial with the theme of collaboration. The ten commissioned artists probe into terrains that often remain in obscurity and/or silence. The open call for works spans across disciplines and for artists who situate their work within the social realm of art practice and audience participation.

For this MADRID ABIERTO, directed by Jorge Díez and curated by Cecilia Andersson, ten artists and groups have initiated a multitude of processes engaging a broad range of participative collaborators that currently are being carried out in various locations around the city: Time Notes by Gustavo Romano (Buenos Aires, 1958), Torre by Pablo Valbuena (Madrid, 1978), Unofficial tourism by Iñaki Larrimbe (Vitoria, 1967), Huert-O-bus by Lisa Cheung (Hong Kong, 1969), Ghostown by Laurence Bonvin (Sierre, Switzerland, 1967), Una Casa Digestiva Para Lavapiés by Josep-María Martín (Ceuta, 1961), Campo AA-Madrid by Adaptive Actions, Hucha de deseos: ¡Todos somos un barrio, movilízate! by Susanne Bosch (Wesel, Germany, 1967), Bajar al subterráneo recién excavado/Going down to the recently excavated underground passage by Lara Almarcegui (Zaragoza, 1972) and Vallecas Abierto: ¿Cómo nos van a ayudar con su arte? by Teddy Cruz (Guatemala, 1962) with M7Red and Iago Carro.

Vallecas Abierto: How is your art going to help us?
Text by Teddy Cruz with M7Red & Iago Carro
From the global border to the borderneighborhood

Architectural investigation by the artists at the border between Tijuana (Mexico) and San Diego (California) has focused on observing the trans-border urban dynamics between these two cities through the current politics of surveillance and immigration , the conflict between formal and informal urbanisms and economies , and the tensions between enclaves of mega wealth and the rings of marginality and poverty that surround them. These critical issues, they argue, characterize the contemporary metropolis everywhere.

The multiple dividing vectors that operate at global scales between geopolitical borders, natural resources and communities end up inscribing themselves locally, at the scale of the contemporary neighborhood.. It is here where global conflict takes on a particular specificity, becoming local crisis characterized by the lack of affordable housing, jobs and public and social infrastructures.

This is the way in which Cruz’ work has focused on the micro scale of the urban neighborhood, understanding it as a site of production, where new conceptions of economic and social sustainability, housing and density may be amplified. This process has motivated the artists to question the role of architecture and art as producers of new interactions between physical space, alternative programs, institutions and communities.

The façade of Casa de America as a production site

The artists’ proposal for MADRID ABIERTO intends to extend this investigation and adapt it to the context of Madrid and the façade of Casa de America. Beyond a singular and only visually protagonist intervention, their proposal has to do with facilitating triangulations across institutions, social actors and networks, economic resources and a specific neighborhood of Madrid. Instead of intervening upon the façade of Casa de America, their interest is to work inside of it, literally activating it with a work-program, a platform of collaboration with other Spanish and Latin American artists, architects and social activists. Their main intention is to transform the façade into a site of production, within which to conceptualize and generate a parallel project that will be enacted once MADRID ABIERTO ends. To produce and event after the event.

A collaboration

Teddy Cruz proposes to activate the façade by producing a critical, interdisciplinary collaboration. This project is developed mainly by Cruz in collaboration with the collective M7Red, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, led by architects Mauricio Corbalan and Pio Torroja. Teddy Cruz conceives this initial collaborative process as an ‘artist in residency’ program inside MADRID ABIERTO (a program inside the program), transforming this intervention in Casa de America into a platform for cultural exchange, facilitating and promoting the presence of Latin American architects and artists in order to create contact with local dynamics inside a neighborhood of Madrid.

A neighborhood: Puente de Vallecas

The artists have chosen Puente de Vallecas as the neighborhood to operate because of its history as a critical threshold in the margins of the urban structure of Madrid, with a significant amount of immigrant population and because of its associative and activist network. Inside this neighborhood, they have selected a series of agencies and social actors that will be part of the project, including Vallecas Radio, Asociación al Alba and Asociación Cultural de la Kalle.

The open façade

The elements that constitute the physical intervention of the façade are minimal: a text and a ladder. 1. The text contextualizes the intervention in an emblematic way, by posting on the façade a question that was made by a Paraguayan immigrant to a group of artists during a dialogue in Villa 31, an informal settlement inside Buenos Aires, in which Teddy Cruz and M7Red participated. “How is your art going to help us?” is the question they have decided to bring from Buenos Aires to place it on the façade of Casa de America and making it the background for their project during this edition of MADRID ABIERTO, suggesting the necessity to investigate a more functional relation between research, artistic intervention and the production of the city. 2. The ladder is the physical element that enables the artists to ‘penetrate’ the façade while activating it internally, using theInca Room as the scenario for a series of working meetings between different publics and activists from the neighborhood.

The architecture of a Conversation

The working meetings will be orchestrated and conceptualized by Teddy Cruz and M7Red, who will suggest a criteria that can give shape to the conversation and, eventually, to an alternative project towards the neighborhood. These are some of the initial topics related to the content and general parameters of the event:

– Questioning the role of artistic practices in relation to the current real estate crisis and the shortage of socio-economic resources and public infrastructure.

– Putting forth the question of the Participative Budget: The idea of generating a seed economic capital that can emerge from MADRID ABIERTO’s budget to support an artistic intervention in Puente de Vallecas, while connecting it to other public resources, processes of action and urban imagination, inside and outside the State.

– Creating a process to locate dispersed resources, without a previous idea of their application, so that the different actors and the public can together configure critical relations between these resources and diverse spatial and temporal dynamics, using the façade as an interface between this way of thinking in ‘real time’ and the city. .

– Apart from the scheduled meetings that will be held inside the façade among the social actors (activist practices) of Vallecas, who, in turn, will generate the intervention in the neighborhood, the artists will also choreograph exchanges with the general public. During three separated meetings, the Inca Room will be opened from the façade in order to invite a group of people, some of them chosen by the actors, others institutionally affiliated and from diverse sectors. During these three meetings a ‘mini-performance’ will be elaborated inside the Inca Room where actors and M7Red will create a public update of the conversation and the diverse mappings of the neighborhood.

-The façade of Casa de America will potentially ‘double’ on the Internet, and in some strategic site inside the neighborhood. The artists are interested, for example, in the possibility of duplicating the façade several times.

– For the artists, an essential part of this project is to leave an institutional trace, once MADRID ABIERTO concludes, the foundation towards an architecture of collaboration among activists groups in a critical Madrid neighborhood. It is then when the actual project of MADRID ABIERTO will begin.

Click here for more information about this project and Madrid Abierto

About Teddy Cruz

Teddy Cruz was born in Guatemala City. He obtained a Master in Design Studies at Harvard University in 1997 and established his research-based architecture practice in San Diego, California in 2000. He has been recognized internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, and in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations such as Casa Familiar, for his work on affordable housing in relationship to an urban policy more inclusive of social and cultural programs for the city. In 1991 he received the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture and in 2005 he was the first recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture On The City Prize, by the Canadian Center of Architecture and the London School of Economics. In 2008 he was selected to represent the US in the Venice Architecture Biennial and he is currently a Professor in public culture and urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego.