Irene Schaap is a visual artist from the Netherlands. Her artistic practice has evolved around the different uses of painting, sculpture and installation art. During the last years she has further develop her artistic career by approaching photography and video as the mediums that most fit her interest in documenting everyday life and memory. Her most recent project ‘Silencio’ focused on the documentation of the traces left by Herman Scheerboom the last surviving ‘brigadist’ from Holland that fought during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) helping the lost cause of the Republicans. This three years project was developed through an in-depth archiving research in the main institutions of Holland and Spain specialized on that topic but most importantly by interviewing local elders that had gone through the Civil War and documenting the different places where Herman Scheerboom was sent in his Spanish adventure. All the documentation of the project, photographs, interviews and texts, has been exhibited in different institutions of Holland and is now part of the archive of the University of Amsterdam.
Between April and May 2013, Irene Schaap has been an artist in residence at CeRCCa. The aim of her residency in LLorenç del Penedes has been to continue with her research on the memories of the Spanish Civil War, now not focusing as much in the experiences of the international ‘brigadist’ but in the everyday consequences and micro histories that the local inhabitants of the village could remember, with an special focus on the women perspective of the war. With this aim in mind and with the support of CeRCCa’s team, Irene Schaap interviewed Jaume Cata de Cala Angelina, a fighter in the republican side against his will that was sent to Southern Spain, the area where Herman Scheerboom was also fighting. She also interviewed Paquita Ferrer de Cal Ploraire, a woman that experienced the precariousness of life during the time of the Civil War in the small village of Llorenç. Her stories where complemented by those of the elders of the village, mainly women, participating in the weekly ‘Memory Workshop’ organized by the municipality of Llorenç.
Furthermore, during her time in CeRCCa, Irene Schaap interviewed Marta Coll and Marc Morales, both of them young historians that are part of ‘El Pou del Comu’ a local research group on the micro-histories of LLorenç del Penedes. The experiences on how the dramatic events that took place between 1936 and 1939 are explained was complemented by interviews to Ramon Arnabat, president of the Centre d’Estudis Penedesencs and Queralt Soler, professor at the Contemporary History department of the Universitat de Barcelona.
The combination of these different points of view: the experiences and memories of the Civil War by the elders and of how this event has been neglected form our collective memory as explained by the younger generations has developed into a reflexive exercise of rediscovering what has been silenced, voluntarily or involuntarily, for too long.
Through her innovative methodology, that in fact blends the approximation of the expert and the trustfulness of a friend, Irene Schaap achieves something that is in fact one of the main challenges of documentary making, the erosion of the boundaries between the researcher and her object of study. Her peculiar conception of spending time with others by mixing herself in the everyday routine of the locals together with her natural enthusiasm for what is normally overseen becomes the perfect approximation to a topic that is by definition still a taboo.
The final result of her time at CeRCCa will be a documentary that is now being edited and that will be shown in LLorenç del Penedes as well as in other locations in Catalonia and beyond.
Neja Tomsic (www.ne-ja.com) is an artists, curator and project coordinator from Ljubljana (Slovenia). During her residency she has been working in her Phd Research on documentary film in gallery context in the past ten years, the so called documentary turn in contemporary art, especially documentary film and video. As she says:
‘By means of interpretation, subjective speech, displacement and camouflage, they transform concrete and real events and creatively intervene in the documentary structures. The narrator and subjective experience, often including fiction, is underlined and the work transits between actual information and fictions narrative. By this means it favors subjective experience instead of factographic’
Her research attempts to answer the following questions: Which elements separate art documentary film from other video art in gallery context? What is the position of the author in documentary film: is he the narrator, the commentator, the interpreter, is he active or passive and how are these statuses related to concrete sociopolitical contexts that the film addresses?
Apart from this she will be editing a book for a project she is leading named ArtistTalk. ArtistTalk is a project developed together with CIANT from Prague and WRO from Wroclaw. The aim of the project is to build an online platform for interviews with artists that conclude with a collection of interviews in the form of the book ‘Outerviews’. ‘Outerviews’ is comprised of 17 interviews with artists, selected from the archive of the artisttalk project. Outerviews presents authors active in a variety of artistic fields , which challenge the common conceptions of art. The conversations included illuminate the processes behind the making of ground breaking works .
From the foreword: »OUTERVIEWS presents a mosaic of different personas, hailing from different backgrounds and active in a large variety of artistic fields, some very hard to pin down. But we claim that what unifies these artists in their very different approaches, is a drive to contribute to social reality in a highly critical, yet constructive way. Our approach in these conversations was therefore in looking for world views – the underlying observations and individual positioning in the world, which is a prerequisite for any socially engaged artistic practice.«
Included artists: Zbig Rybczyński / Eyal Sivan / Harun Farocki / Piotr Krajewski / Jorge Rodriguez Gerada / Arjan Pregl / Societe Realiste / Zimoun / Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen / Emptyset / Plaid / Burnt Friedman / Julian Oliver / Roy Ascott / Joe Davis / Ion Sorvin – N55 / Biennale de Paris
As a resident at CeRCCa Marina Saura has been developing a research on the use of internet as a creative tool in the performing arts scene of Barcelona. Her research has comprehended literature review and field study as well as interviews to different cultural operators, artists, curators and representatives of the most important companies and spaces working today in the performing arts in relation to internet in Barcelona. Her project will be presented as the Dissertation for the MA in Critical Arts Management at London South Bank University in early 2014. Marina Saura is the main coordinator of MUTIS.
MUTIS was born as participatory platform for communication between the contemporary performing arts communities of London and Barcelona. Its objective is to create a channel for communication where to talk and to create cultural actions, related to the contemporary performing arts and to the culture of both cities. Further on, it intends to introduce artists, companies, spaces and festivals from each city and to publish useful resources for promotion, investigation and/or diffusion of shows. The idea of building a bridge comes after having met many performing artists in one city who have shown interest in going to work to the other. Collaborations empower art works. Artists need to experiment and we think that collaborating with professionals from other countries and performing in other places is an experiment. Not all the shows work the same way everywhere and it is for this reason that working abroad challenges the artist in finding the way to engage with his/her new audience.
Barcelona and London embody two different realities in the European cultural scene and this difference can be an interesting point of investigation for the professionals of each city. In this space, we intend to give the possibility to communicate, collaborate and to learn about the other city. What are the current trends in performing arts, problems and solutions of the current situation and what are the professionals doing in one city that may be applied to the other one are some of the matters that want to be discussed.
MUTIS started at the end of 2011 and it still is on the development phase and it is on constant evolution. As a participatory platform, MUTIS hopes to be molded by the professionals. It intends to implement a management system in which the professionals are listened and to create actions according to their needs, using the platform as a working tool.