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Magazine

19 October 2015
In El Palomar there are two pigeons

Pilar Bonet

But the secret is that there are thousands of pigeons in this performance space. Flying free over Barcelona. From this privileged vantage point they can re-read the urban landscape and the culture of queer genealogy, inundating the troposphere with fluorescent pink. This is the story of a refined and cultured subversion, the upward foppishness of gentle rain.

Rafa Marcos and Mario Páez (R. Marcos Mota-Mariokissme) are artists. They construct their own image, playing with identity and they are fans of being fan. They activate historiographic sabotages reading the back of documents by artist Ismael Smith at the MNAC, they offer musical experiments trawling the genealogies of pop, they work on line and also at a short distance, they celebrate the figures of Ana Mendieta and Sara Montiel. They soar over the representations of the Spanish pavilion in Venice this year and maintain their individuality without rejecting the creative community. They are the best hosts in the small attic that is El Palomar. This is a place of production and curatorial imagination.

At El Palomar there is an untagged family nest. We met in the classrooms of the Fine Art faculty in Barcelona and we meet again in the project of A*Desk. Now I am following their facebook trail Facebook and reading their intense political declarations. They are pigeons in free flight, true to the guerrilla against any form of margination. They are capable of a life dedicated to building pigeon houses in which to incubate a future for everyone.

¿Is El Palomar a queer nest, a space for flying above fears or the vantage point for imagining the future?

It is all that and more. Although it might be better to talk about non-future. Futures (plural) are always open-ended. It is important to fly above fears to open up futures and see them from above. From the start we named El Palomar not as an underground space but an overground one. It is just one vantage point among many. We take on the value and the weight of failure involved in telling a story that in itself has already failed. Talking of a future, unequivocal, official, is to talk is historical and patriarchal terms. The only future that institutions offer us does not represent that failure or contemplate the fears that we see from here in with the complexity that they deserve. We prefer to fly over all of that and prefer to have a global view of the matter to know where to place ourselves. A nest is a place of care and protection, a workshop for oiling the cogs that keep us moving.

Your personal and artistic dérive seems highly political. Is this a demolition of all duality of sex and gender? Where do you place yourselves in queer criticism?

Thank you for understanding our personal-aesthetic-political practice in all its intensity. We would say that it is the result of building bridges of spiritual and emotional connection, which come together in the El Palomar project and go beyond any individual aesthetic experience. We always try to give visibility to other trajectories, which also coincide with this critical – and precarious – ideology. Our own trajectory and vision are transgenerational. Many are those that should make a space for dissident experiences, which are art and part, for their self-representation before opening their mouths about queer theory and trying to illustrate a discourse that ends up being academic. We go beyond the rupture of sexual or gender duality: above all we propose other ways of doing things. We defend queer concerns as something that is applicable to any experience or parameter. Societies, groups, science, fashion, culture, social disciplines and even love relations become queer.

How importance is friendship and family in your personal manifesto?

We are built on an emotional base and that is something we have defended publicly from the start. We defend the right to establish ourselves as a family from our own personal links ad we do not believe that we need to justify that to anyone.

Is Barcelona a city where “pigeons fly” freely?

The Barcelona Brand is fed by bland politics, which are sold to us as alternatives and design but which are always made for and aimed at majorities. Take Ciutat Morta, or Barcelona mata, the Espai de l ‘ immigrant, what the PEI was, or El Palomar… Mobilisations organised like these are what– precariously – give this city true life and fight for its survival. In opposition to something as liquid as all these emotional and critical unions, the city council invests in static, and to an extent, funereal symbols which are labelled public sculpture. There are virtually no monuments referring to us: the bandstand dedicated to Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, a space that is too neutral and disaffected, or the square in homage to the LGT victims, which means another historical decontextualisation, too generic to be built as pure political propaganda, and barely visible. Meanwhile the pigeons are always seen by the city council as a corrosive threat to cultural and architectural heritage.

When the USA passed the homosexual marriage law one trans woman made her voice heard among the crowd http://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/Activista-Orgullo-Obama-detencion-inmigrantes-Jennicet_Gutierrez_0_404560241.html denouncing the situation of LGTBQ immigrants there. The most incredible thing was not Obama’s rejection of her demands but the general reprimand she received from the homosexual groups present. Well it’s the same here: everything is built from hedonism for hedonism, with no tolerance or thought for how corrosive critical hedonism can be. They are confusing the idea of queer and giving it a completely wrong meaning, placing it in the typical, Europeanised place of privilege which is that of a white, middle-class homosexual with high purchasing power who never renounces the status of power conceded by the miseries that the political institutions have ordered for systematic integration and which have been constructed as a false flag. There is a long way to go before Barcelona takes on the multicultural situation that it claims to support. How can they expect us to assume the concept of citizenship that the law still supports over the experiences of risk and vulnerability that we and many of our friends suffer? We know that beneath the so-called victory of freedom (more threatened now than ever) are the most refined forms, but not for that any less offensive and appalling, of homophobia, transphobia, sexism and racism.

Is going to try, once again. Writing about art and culture from the critical, organising production through curatorship or sharing knowledge about teaching are the working registers that enable Pilar Bonet to think about the political factors of artistic production and its social responsibility. Somewhat less glamorous than a professorship, than a certificate of excellence, or a prize, but something that in the end occupies a critical amount of time, with little return. She received the best applause from her friends, many of them artists, for making a paella for them all. She’s going to try and do it, once again.

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