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A*DESK has been offering since 2002 contents about criticism and contemporary art. A*DESK has become consolidated thanks to all those who have believed in the project, all those who have followed us, debating, participating and collaborating. Many people have collaborated with A*DESK, and continue to do so. Their efforts, knowledge and belief in the project are what make it grow internationally. At A*DESK we have also generated work for over one hundred professionals in culture, from small collaborations with reviews and classes, to more prolonged and intense collaborations.
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I believe it was the summer of 2021 when David Armengol, who just a few months earlier had won the director’s competition at the La Capella Art Center, explained to me that within the framework of the new programming for this space he wanted to promote lines of research around certain themes and traditions that he believed were relevant to understanding emerging artistic production at the local level. David talked about topics such as activism, performance and textuality, and he proposed that I take on the curatorship of this last area of research, the one linked to texts and writing in relationship to artistic practice. As the relationship between image and text, the use of storytelling and narration in art, and the spaces of intersection between literature and artistic and curatorial practice are issues that have greatly interested me as a curator and that I have explored in many of my projects, David’s invitation really interested me. Sometime later, we began a long process of work with Laia Estruch, Enric Farrés, Marc Vives, Jara Rocha and Daniel Gasol, the people David had invited to develop the other lines of investigation that would make up this new program, to debate how these research proposals should be articulated within the framework of La Capella.
We realized that we all wanted to develop a study program, a proposal that distanced itself from conventional academic formats, that was experiential and imaginative (and also free of cost), and that could adopt different methodologies and temporalities depending on the needs and requirements of each line of research. This is how the Schools of Context were born, which include five schools and study or work groups. I am in charge of the School of Textuality, which in its first edition takes place from October 2022 to September 2023, and which is part of a program called Branch, Root, Sprout, Stem. This is a program for artists and creators in the field of visual arts, performing arts and literary and essay creation, especially those who are still in their formative period or at an initial stage of their career, as well as people who are interested in issues related to textuality and its integration into the processes of artistic creation. The course is organized in trimesters, with one or two intensive classes per month, which I teach in collaboration with artists and other invited guests, and with the active participation of the registered students.
Branch, Root, Sprout, Stem is a practical, theoretical, and poetic program that focuses on texts, words, and writing in artistic practice and their intersection with curating and literature. The program invites people to think about writing and a way of relating to the text and the word that is connected to seasonal changes and to the cycles of growth, death and rebirth that take place in nature. The course’s goal is to propose forms of reading, textual production and orality that are not indifferent to the natural transformations of the world of the senses and that establish an attentive and receptive relationship to seasonal changes.
Each term of the title of this course evokes a season of the year: Branch refers to autumn, Root to winter, Sprout to spring, and Stem to summer. These associations identify a specific textual element or form that describes the work sessions of each trimester, the references to the artistic works we analyze, as well as the exercises carried out. Thus, in Branch we have taken as a theme the improper or reappropriated word, the idea of writing based on already existing texts. In Root we use reading, the act of reading, as a reference element. Sprout is associated with orality, with the spoken word, with breaking silence and speaking. And Stem, which will take place during the summer and will be mostly remote, will be associated with the idea of correspondence and epistolary exchange.
Within the framework of a collaboration between A*Desk and the La Capella School of Textuality, the June issue will be dedicated to making visible some of the work processes and exercises that have been carried out during the first three quarters of the course, that is, Branch, Root and Sprout.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)