More or less 10 years ago, we set off on an adventure called A*DESK. Working in Barcelona, we wanted to reach other places and felt the need to work through art criticism to open up new possibilities and to participate in the creation of critical awareness. During these years we have published our online magazine, held workshops in critical studies and writing in Catalonia, Spain and Latin America, established our program of independent studies, worked as consultants for various institutions, investigated the possibilities of online education and opened a space in Barcelona.
Spain is suffering an immense crisis. Barcelona is a political hotbed and on a cultural level, changes are on the horizon. At the moment we are in the calm before the storm. And these changes won’t just have an effect locally but also globally. For this reason we have decided, in the midst of a savage crisis, to take the plunge and publish everything on our web, including the magazine A*Magazine, in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English. We want to break down barriers, so that we can establish a more direct dialogue with other people active in the art world. There are still many barriers and the linguistic ones are irrefutable. Our aim is to generate links, to facilitate the exchange of information and to compare and contrast different viewpoints.
In this issue of A*Magazine we consider three major events: Sónar in Barcelona at the hand of Frederic Montornés, Art Basel with Montse Badia and the Venice Biennale in the company of Oriol Fontdevila.
The quintessential Biennale presents an edition not noted for the emotion. Some gestures: the addition of three Tintorettos as if it were a conceptual revolution, pavilions built for the occasion by trying to be a modification to the idea of curating, but above all, a maintenance of the status quo flies in Venice.
Art Basel and the Venice Biennale coincide in the calendar every second edition but also in many other ways. It seems evident that what separates art fairs from biennales is beginning to be very unclear. Venice is remarkable for its form of particular (non) financing. While Art Basel needs conceptual pieces, in order to remain at the forefront of the universe of art fairs. In the current edition of Art Basel, many of the pieces on show question the artistic context, the practice, processes… aspects that could easily be explored in the context of a biennale.
Sonar, this monster that even ten years ago they said was growing out of control, in the desire to group under the umbrella of its interest in the experimental, has come to encompass all forms of contemporary creation and has established itself, eighteen years after it was founded, as one of the paradigms of this type of cultural product; a well-oiled musical, social, political and cultural machine. That is to say one that functions in practically all areas.