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23 October 2019

Embracing the sea, the last survival linkage

What happens when nothing happens? What feelings come to the surface? How to deal with drift, emptiness, nothingness?

The mere fact of floating often reminds us that we are vulnerable to the immense sea that surrounds us. A physical sea but also a social one, present and at the same time absent, finite and infinite. A sea that every day reminds us of who we are and who we should be. The simple gesture of listening to him is in itself a political act; it means that we are willing to abandon, for a few moments, the continuous murmur of our lives. But what happens when that sea tells us nothing? When its silence is so disturbing that it torments us and, unintentionally, entangles us once again in our dilemmas, decisions and forms of survival?

I come every day just in case  happens over certain gaps that are the fruit of the dialogue between Marc Vives and the sea. During a certain period of time, the artist adopted the habit of going every day to swim in front of the Club de Natació de Barcelona. From there he could contemplate one of the two sides of the Montjuïc mountain. Observing it became a ritual in which he whispered and sang to her, as if in some way that great surface could decipher everything that we as human beings ask ourselves. This is how Marc’s proposal avoids the recurrent approach to the landscape. When the majority of artistic proposals forcefully seek that dialogue between the spectator and the natural environment, in Marc’s dialogue is the fruit of an exercise in listening but above all of rebellion, causing a constant struggle between the two parties. Dialoguing with the mountain is both an act of submission and rejection, of listening and protest. A gesture that can be observed in the raw video in which we see the artist swimming and carrying out that dialogue with the mountain. A piece that places the spectator in the artist’s situation, sometimes tinged with a certain agony. An agony that persists throughout the guided tours that the artist organises through the Club Natació: it arises from the difficulty of fleeing from its narrow corridors, in the temporal bubble that is created when descending to the bottom of the swimming pools.

A certain oppression that is liberated when Marc sings to the mountain again, this time in front of all of us.

All this makes me think of the need we have to hold on to something in order to face certain situations. We embrace it, ready to let ourselves be guided by what it transmits, initiating a kind of journey in which there is space for dialogue, improvisation and frustration. We often adopt a certain routine as a form of survival, but the routine ends up reminding us that we are nothing more than vulnerable and easily guided bodies; even when we try to flee from it. No doubt we live incarnate in the rhythms of productivity, but generating spaces and listening times is in itself an act of protest and disenchantment. And it is even more so when our gesture has none of those purposes.

* I come every day just in case is part of the program Composiciones del Barcelona Gallery Weekend 2019, curated by Juan Canela. Photographs by Roberto Ruiz.



Writer and researcher. Graduated from Communication and Cultural Industries at the University of Barcelona, she is currently finishing the Master’s degree in Advanced Studies in Art History at the same university and working in her final project: the exploration between the public space, museum institution and identity through the relational art. She has worked in the department of exhibits at the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona (MACBA) and she is now part of the commission group On Meditation. She writes about art in Exit Express and has collaborated in Tentaciones of El País and PlayGround Mag.

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