Due to the current situation, programming in GRAF has been affected. Now, in phase 1, some spaces are open by appointment, check their websites and social media for more info!

December 2019
by Fernando Gandasegui

Anti-route: live arts

Sometime ago I received an invitation from GRAF to be in charge of the performing art spaces in the context of Barcelona. Either focused on exhibition or processes of investigation, each one in its way, the supposed experimental performing scene could be sum up in a map drawn by La Caldera, el Antic Teatre, La Poderosa, el Mercat de les Flors, Graner, L’Estruch y la Sala Hiroshima… but any map hides as well as it points out.

I take this opportunity to highlight a problem, the limits. Recently arrived in Barcelona, I come from another place where the audience community enjoyed a polyhedral nature. There was people coming from dance, visual arts, theatre, poetry, music, performance, architecture… When I arrived here one of the things that surprised me the most each week was the difficulty to see mixed worlds, open fields, in which different currents converge.

Two cases as examples of my experiences; a year ago Eva Meyer-Keller presented Some significance at Mercat de les Flors. A great creator whose work embraces a sensitivity and materiality very close to contemporary art. At the end of the work, when I looked around, it was hard to spot any people from other mediums who for sure would have loved the proposal. The same on the opposite direction. A few weeks ago Laia Estruch made Crol (seco) at Fundació Joan Miró. Estruch develops one of the most interesting performative works through her investigation between body, voice and work. No one from the scenic arts was there, with whom she shares many tools.

There are and there will be many counterexamples, less tight times, many people trying to enlarge the map or dissolve its boundaries. In recent years, in an institutional level, they say that Quim Pujol in Secció Irregular or Laurence Rassel at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies managed to gather works and audiences. Also the times of La Porta are remembered. Outside the institution, this year Saliva by Claudia Pagés has given us a new space to meet periodically, another of the problems of a city dedicated to major events. An in-depth analysis exceeds the aim of this small text. Everyone could make their own route, as somenoe once said, “let each eye negotiate with itself.” This atypical route, almost an anti-route, is an attempt to combine GRAF’s spaces in Barcelona that, regardless of the field to which they belong, contribute to the performative, the body or the gathering in their particular way. Faults and gaps will be found, moreover, this sketch should change every week.

The term we use to gather them, the label with which you can search for them is arts en viu. In English live arts, Patrice Pavis in his theater dictionary, like every cemetery dictionary says that “live arts is not a new genre, but instead hosts practices excluded from literary or visual theater.” Then we use live arts as a form close to speech, practical and quotidien, an inclusive formula that allows us to increase the flow, exceed the margins.

Thus, to the list above we add, in order to outline a kind of network of live arts in GRAF, Blueproject Foundation, Can Felipa, Centre d’Art Maristany, Cordova, etHALL, Fabra i Coats, FASE, Hangar, Homesession, L’Automàtica, La Capella, LA INFINITA, MACBA, BAR project, Salamina, Saliva, Sant Andreu Contemporani…

Hopefully this network loses its meaning, we find ourselves confused and it is not necessary anymore to distinguish, then this anti-route will destroy itself.