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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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Silence is. Lack of noise. An avoidance of speech (indeed, an avoidance of the voice?). A lack or an omission of something. A military roll. A school imposition. A musical pause. A chosen absence too. Sometimes silence is the resonance that reverberates and is prolonged, reaffirmed, repeated. It drowns and subdues, chokes.
When silence is imposed, it crushes and intimidates.
When silence is active, it signifies and signals.
These days, however, we’re seeing how the theme we chose for September makes us dance with silence. It’s not the first time this has happened.
Ever since we began with our monthly themes, reality has overwhelmed us. We proposed a theme we considered relevant, we assigned it a meaningful month … and this month and its reality took possession of it.
Yet seldom, very seldom, has this taken place with such intensity. We thought it necessary, imperious even, to speak of silence in a world in which everything is changing so quickly and nobody stops to listen and appreciate the void, absence, distance. Today, for very different reasons, there has been a volte-face in the way we speak of silence, which is now critical.
Here we criticise the silence of democrats. The silence of republicans. The silence of that other Spain. There have not been enough signs of support for a politically plausible project, either in the field of politics where it should have remained, or in those of culture or the lives of ordinary citizens.
Waves of retro-conservatism storm Europe and the Western world, and there is no need to return from it to this exploding state because it had never actually left. In recent weeks, Catalonia has been invaded by the Spanish Civil Guard (over 10,000 forces are strolling around our city, flying over our skies and stationed in our ports), a childish gesture that reveals their predicament before the central government’s inability to dialogue — a government that is unable to speak because it never learnt to listen.
Here we criticise this anachronic and cowardly silence. Silence as a lack of communication. As a detonator. A limit. Four years ago (four!) at A*DESK we felt the need to explain Catalonia (to ourselves)
Now, some time later, A*DESK chooses not to keep quiet on this day of silence and reflection.
We condemn attacks and repression. We are allergic to the security of the ignorant. We are disgusted by the hate against the other, hate like that we heard in the go for them chants cheered from that ‘there’ which wasn’t a ‘there’ until we knew that ‘there’ is different to ‘here’.
Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, A*DESK will continue to think critically from Barcelona out to the world. Whatever Barcelona (and Catalonia) may be and whatever the world may be.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)