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Last Sunday we published an article that invited you to occupy MACBA. We’ve had a few messages and calls asking why we picked on MACBA and not those politicians responsible, sorry to repeat ourselves, for the suspension of artistic programmes such as that of Can Felipa in Barcelona or Can Xalant in Mataró, amongst others. Our answer is that one doesn’t remove the other.
We began last Sunday calling for explanations from the powers that be in the Barcelona Town Council. Last week a book of signatures, demanding a moratorium on the suspension of the programme at Can Felipa, was handed, personally, to the Councillor for Culture at the Generalitat of Catalonia; Ferran Mascarell received it with a gesture of support, reaffirming his support of Can Felipa. We’d like to think that that, given his position and responsibility, he will take measures in this respect. Measures that would mean that any budget cuts would respond to a plan that implies continuing to back and more so, the needs of the sector that have supported spaces such as Can Felipa. Jaume Ciurana, in charge of Culture at the Town Council of Barcelona, says that Can Felipa is the responsibility of the district councillor. Aside from the confusion between administrations, any suspension of a programme that has an annual budget of 30.000€ requires explanations and solutions. The mayor Xavier Trias said in a plenary session on Friday that: “This programme won’t just go away, if everybody agrees for it to be moved somewhere else, it will do so”. Where is this other place? Is there a plan to fill the gaps that its closure, and that of other programmes, leaves?
Last Thursday, in the final opening at Can Felipa that became an act of support and defence of the programme, there were artists, critics, curators, those responsible for other institutions and museums, journalists and the odd politician but none of those in charge of MACBA. Therefore we reassert the need to demand responsibility from the largest institution dedicated to contemporary art in Catalonia for the context that it forms part of. Vital in a situation of crisis where artists, curators, gallerists and the multiple agents of contemporary art see themselves thrown beyond precariousness, into desperation. We would highlight a comment that Jeffrey Swartz sent us, “embrace a reading of the proximate present as an act of bravery”, and we insist on the need to go that bit further and demand a commitment to the context, they might even discover the interest of many proposals.
To all of them we recommend talking to different agents, detecting the needs and recognising value. Meanwhile it is necessary to ask for explanations and demand responsibility from all concerned.