It is a research project whose main objective is the analysis of social realities through specific themes. Working formats are transversal, dynamic and with participatory methodologies adapted to the venues and host countries of the proposals. In each edition lines develop critical thinking and experimental formats created adhoc for the project.
-is this Spain? began in 2009 with a first edition theme [stereotypes] a reflection on the current Spanish identity built on a stereotypical image of gypsy Spain. Through artists working with critical discourses developed from a political point of view, ironic and burlesque, turns off the bias assigned to Spain and society. Amending the reductionist view that is homogeneous in contemporary Spanish, showing the history of a society enjoying a recent cultural and social development well recognized.
-The second edition of is this Spain? addresses the social reality of a utopian land called [Iberia]. Spain and Portugal are two countries that have always been back to themselves and to Europe, which have been great imperial powers during their golden ages, who have long lived under dictatorships in the twentieth century, losing the train of progress and modernity, as stated by the historian and Hispanist Ian Gibson. Indeed, it was not until the 80s of the past century, when both countries were integrated into Europe.
-In 2010, artists living in Portugal were selected by a public call made in that country, and invited to reflect on this theme in collaboration with Spanish art collectives. Artists from Portugal: Frederico Diz, Marta Bernardes, Dalila Gonçalves, Vasco Costa. In this third phase of the project, there will be a curated program for each art center, with a selection of artists and groups involved in previous editions. Didactic activities in laboratory and workshop format will be organized with the participation of artists and local context cultural agents.
-The Instituto Cervantes in Milano hosted [Scusi] … Is this Spain?, from February 2 to March 10. It consisted in a videoart program with works from some of the previous participant artists that relate a critical and ironic view of the current situation in Spain. Artists: Maria Cañas, Left Hand Rotation, Greta Alfaro, Democracia, Carlos Llavata, Alicia Framis, Momu & No Es. It also showed the maps of UHF magazine, the Black Box project by CASITA and the Casas Tristes project by Derivart Collective.The opening day, a workshop was held on [Versus], a set of creation and reflection on the construction of the stereotype of other cultures. Students and teachers at the school and the Milanese public are invited to participate in the activity.
May begins with the two remaining openings of the third phase of Is this Spain? by its trip through Italy, in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute. On 3 May, the opening at the Napoli centre counts on with the works of Santiago Sierra, Greta Alfaro, Democracia, Maria Cañas, Carlos Llavata, Derivart, UHF and C.A.S.I.T.A. The activity program in Naples will be a workshop with the group CASITA, held at the Academy of Fine Arts of the city.
From May 6th to June 9th, the exhibition will set out in the hall of the Cervantes Institute in Rome, located in Piazza Navona, with the works of Maria Cañas, Left Hand Rotation, Busto Bocanegra, Derivart, Alicia Framis, Greta Alfaro, Andrés Senra, Democracy, the group UHF Momu & No Es and C.A.S.I.T.A. The exhibition will be enshrined in the official program of the 4th edition of the contemporary art fair in Rome (The Road to Contemporary Art) held from 5th to 8th of May 2011. The activity program for the See of Rome is [Dialogue] … Rome-Madrid. Output is the dialogue to 3 artists Is this Spain? with 3 Italian artists, through an exchange of letters monitored by the italian independent curator Sissa Verde.
In the spring of 2011 the Project travelled to several centers of the Cervantes Institute in Italy (Milan, Rome and Naples). In september the project will be presented in Brazil under the heading [E aí!] … is this Spain? Chronology of activities:
-Brasilia. Cervantes Institute Cultural Centre. Collective exhibition from August 31 to September 24. Works by Maria Cañas, Santiago Sierra, Derivart, Alicia Framis, Greta Alfaro, Andrés Senra, Democracia, UHF Collective Momu & No Es and C.A.S.IT.A.
-São Paulo. Matilha Cultura. Left Hand Rotation workshop on 6 and 7 September. Activity organized in collaboration with Matilha Cultural Association, as part of the event Setembro Verde 2011, a monthly series of activities which will address the various socio-environmental conflicts in Brazil.
-Brasilia. University of Brasilia. Left Hand Rotation workshop on 12, 13 and 14 September. Activity carried out in collaboration with UnB Universidade da Brasilia.
Published the results of the stay in Brazil during the month of September of the collective Left Hand Rotation. A documentary work about the gentrification process that suffers at the moment the Bairro da Luz in the heart of São Paulo, branded under the label “cracolandia” by the government, which makes a real state concession to private property for renovation. Profile complete with photos and video:
Left Hand Rotation is an artistic collective that works on different political and social issues. Gentrificação: colonização urbana e instrumentalização da cultura is their proposal to [E aí!] … is this Spain? focussed in the analysis of the different responses that the cultural sector can offer to the process of “gentrification” and change that are occurring in the large contemporary cities.
After passing through Brazil, the project returns and focuses on Europe. The first stop will be the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes in Dublin (May 10 to June 30). The heading for this occasion will be [Excuse me]… is this Spain? and it resumes the current political and economic issues that more concerned every day with the works of Maria Cañas, Derivart, Alicia Framis, Greta Alfaro, Collective UHF, Left Hand Rotation, Momu & No Es and C.A.S.I.T.A.
Derivart is a collective that works by combining art, finance, and technology. They are the invited artists to perform the workshop. Scheduled activity isHack your Bank, 8 may (18:00-21: 00) at the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute, with the mission to hack and alter the content of bank webs in an open and collaborative manner and giving a citizen’s response to the events that have unfolded in the financial world.
After passing through Brazil, the project returns and focuses on Europe. After Dublin, the last stop will be the headquarters of the Institute Cervantes in Krakow (December 13 to January 31). The heading for this occasion will be [Przepraszam]… is this Spain? and it resumes the current political and economic issues that more concerned every day with the works of Maria Cañas, Derivart, Santiago Sierra, Alicia Framis, Greta Alfaro, Collective UHF, Left Hand Rotation, Momu & No Es and C.A.S.I.T.A.
The artist invited at Krakow is Carlos Llavata, which has come to the performance from a generator experimental laboratory of existential experiences, always shared with the public. At Krakow he will perform the action ISpain full for her, highlighting one of the best-known gastronomic traditions of a zone of the Spain, the Valencia Community. Paella is indisputably one of the icons that reveals the Spanish personality, and is known worldwide as a famous dish, originated in a popular context. The proposed action is its ritual, custom and elaboration, leading later to a decontextualized ceremonial due to its location at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (December 12)