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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.
At A*DESK we believe in the need for free and universal access to culture and knowledge. We want to carry on being independent, remaining open to more ideas and opinions. If you believe in A*DESK, we need your backing to be able to continue. You can now participate in the project by supporting it. You can choose how much you want to contribute to the project.
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August is a strange month. A holiday month for most people, there is a tacit agreement to slow down a little and forget the routines and hyper-connectivity that characterise the rest of the year. At A*DESK we find it very difficult to disconnect, but for a few seasons now we’ve decided to devote the month of August to taking a retrospective and analytical look at our archive. A couple of years ago we realised that this gaze could be endogamic and decided that a certain distance was required. That was when we began inviting professionals we admire to delve into our files, giving them carte blanche to select texts as long as they wrote a short introduction to explain their choice.
It is always rewarding to see what others highlight and discover how texts published a while ago are still valid and withstand the test of time, as we corroborate each year.
This summer, 2018, we’ve had four special guests:
Marta Gili, who for a number of years has been director of the Jeu de Paume in Paris and is now back in Spain to work on new projects, chose a Martí Manentextpublished in 2009 in which he spoke of the gap betweenreal time and institutional time. This essay is absolutely modern now that institutions are still trying to find a way to establish a synchrony between what goes on ‘within’ and ‘without’ them.
Natalia Valencia, associate curator at Estancia Femsa Casa Barragán in Mexico City, called attention to a text by de Peio Aguirrepublished three years ago and dedicated to the presence of screens in exhibitions and, of course, to the implications of this presence: la smooth transition between different formats, the specificities involved in the spatial design of exhibitions and, above all, the increasing attention deficit in spectators.
Martha Kirszenbaum, curator and writer based in Los Angeles and Paris and curator of the French Pavilion at the next Venice Biennale, chose an essay by Alexandra Laudoon feminism, capitalism and how to approach these subjects in Swedish education. A*DESK had already published Alexandra Laudo’s, text but Martha Kirszenbaum decided to revisit it, considering it representative of a convulsive year as regards the defence of gender and feminist issues (against the backdrop of recent movements like #metoo and #notsurprised) and because of the precision of Laudo’s observations.
And we close the month with the contribution of Aneta Szylak, curator and writer based in Poland and currently responsible for defining the conceptual framework of NOMUS New Art Museum in Gdansk/Danzig. Aneta Szylak highlights the text written by Lars Bang Larsen and SØren Andreasenon mediation. The essay was originally written in 2002 for a very early version of A*DESK, when A*DESK was a work committee within the Catalan Association of Art Critics (ACCA, for its initials in Catalan) and reproduced in 2006 when A*DESK began to appear as a magazine and an independent platform. Aneta Szylak revisits the text and updates the reflections on what it means to be an intermediary and mediator, and on the natural development of the role of curator, from exhibition maker to institution maker.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)