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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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Half way through last year, coinciding with my move to Mexico City, I received an invitation from Antonio Ortega to form part of the Summer University organised by the Yaxs Foundation, a new organisation in Guatemala City that prioritises education, research in the field of art and culture, and the recuperation or conservation of historic artistic practices within above all the context of Central America. This initiative, led by Paulina Zamora, is located in an old, restored house in the centre of the city, a privileged site, given that the district has the capacity to transmit the specificity of Guatemala City to a visitor. I was immediately enthusiastic about the invitation, as much for the opportunity of getting to know a new context, as for the possibility of spending three months with a small group of artists and cultural agitators of this city.
My first visit, in the month of August, was spent participating in a seminar dedicated to artistic research alongside the artists Raimond Chaves, Gilda Mantilla, Raqs Media Collective and Stefan Benchoam, as well as the organisers, in a series of closed workshops, that aimed to think about how to carry out research in the field of the arts without losing the specificity of the context. The time shared with Esperanza, Manuel, Nora & Jorge, Mario and Spanky was fundamental for the elaboration of the pathway to be developed after the encounter: each one of the participants would continue the research they’d already initiated, and the space produced by the Fundación Yaxs would foment their growth. As such, over the following months, the exercises we pursued consisted specifically in carrying out one single idea that would contribute substantially to the development of a greater project. My role resided in carrying out the task of accompaniment. Emails and phone calls were our tools, with each one imposing their own rhythm on the conversation. What we see in the following is the result of this exercise each one of the presentations represents a snippet or incision in the research and practice of each one of these artists.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)