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22 June 2020

Concert for the Biocene

We need reminders, constantly. The first days of confinement, after the start of the pandemic, all were good wills: “we will be better”, “this will make us more aware”, “we will take responsibility”… and just after the “new normality” (what a dangerous terminology), we see that things have not changed much. More or less contained the health crisis, there is a rush to open borders and mass tourism and encourage consumption. And the experts are warning us. A second wave may come that also finds us tired, the health professionals exhausted and without adequate investment to recover the public health system.

We need gestures, continuous and punctual, that reconcile us with the world. A few days ago, Eric Holthaus published in The Correspondent, climate change is a civil rights battle and, in the end, any action against climate change is an action for justice.

Blanca de la Torre has been exploring these issues for some time and proposes to replace the name Anthropocene, which recognizes human beings as responsible for the degradation of the planet, with Biocene, which places life at the center. This has been joined by the initiative of the Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona to collaborate with the artist Eugenio Ampudia in an ambitious, pertinent and necessary project, which tells in another way all the experiences we have lived these months, to make us reflect on the need for change and the claim that perhaps it is artists and cultural professionals, whose creations have accompanied us so much during the confinement, who should lead this process of change.

Concert for the Biocene is a concert designed for plants, for the 2,292 plants that occupy all the seats in the Liceu, the stalls and the boxes, in which a string quartet will play “I Chrisantemi” by Puccini, a composition that is “delicious and at the same time melancholy”, in the words of Ampudia, to communicate to the plants the situation that we have experienced. Eugenio Ampudia explained the project in an interview with Rosa Badia for the programme Tot és comèdia on Cadena Ser.

Another gesture: all the plants will be donated to health professionals, caretakers par excellence, as a sign of gratitude. The concert, which can be followed in streaming today, June 22, from 5 pm, can be shared by our plants at home. And be very attentive at the end of the concert, at the moment of the applause.

Montse Badia has never liked standing still, so she has always thought about travelling, entering into relation with other contexts, distancing herself, to be able to think more clearly about the world. The critique of art and curating have been a way of putting into practice her conviction about the need for critical thought, for idiosyncrasies and individual stances. How, if not, can we question the standardisation to which we are being subjected?

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"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)