We are at the end of summer, it has been a while since our departure from Madrid, where we spent two weeks participating as guests of the Sweet Home residency. What happened there, in the time that we stayed with our hosts, has served to visualize how they interact and apply synergies within the dynamics of collaborative practices. As if it were yesterday, we describe our experience...
Interlocked in Carabanchel, between the areas that comprise Oporto and Urgel, we discovered a new space for coexistence generated by the artistic community in this working class south Madrid neighborhood. We find here a new redoubt of the art that is being generated in the capital with a great diversity of creators, artists and people related to culture. Among the multiplicity of proposals we find a large range of studios and groups, some of them more veterans, generated in the period of recent years and others with a longer trajectory as is the case of Casabanchel¹.
Beyond the nomenclature that defines the Casabanchel project by its own founders as a center for reflection, creation and action, the space can bring together another, more specific definition; Casabanchel is a key extension of social interactions of the people who are part of and behind this project. In other words, defining the personality that this space emanates is the inexorable consequence of Jorge, Javi and Marko and their great family of friends.
It is evident, for anyone passing through Casabanchel, to see different kinds of promoted projects (developed in collaboration with other people), entities or proposals that start from the Casabanchel collective itself; But it is precisely here where I would like to stop and reflect on the Casabanchel collaboration model.
Sometimes we can define in a simple way the meaning of what it takes to speak about collaboration or/and participation, more specifically if the term we carry in the extension of what we can call collaborative practice in the artistic context. The Casabanchel collective has generated a community, but they themselves are a community and this is where I have found a rarity, since if you normally talk about collaborative practice as a tool that both artists and institutions use, it is not so common to find it used by the community itself.
Understanding that beyond their work, the people behind Casabanchel are carrying out collaborative practices that emerge from a social interest. Although there is a decalogue of definitions and approximations around collaboration, the Casabanchel collective is realizing a synergy around collaborative practices. Finding the maximum possible horizontality, since they are great mediators, at the same time combined with an author's vision, formalized in their concept of how they apply the resources of their own space, as well as a collaborative practice with a marked interest in encouraging a social change, which extends beyond the project itself.
All this is possible, since the members of the Casabanchel collective are great promoters of beneficial participation, great masters of ceremonies, where all their work revolves around their base of trust. In short Casabanchel is a congregation of accomplices for mutual interest in satisfying everything, ‘somewhere between the formal elaboration, political efficacy, and fucking fun’.²
¹ CasaBanchel is a 650 m2 square meters center for reflection, creation, and action; tightly related with the neighborhood of Carabanchel where it is located. Casa Banchel has actively participated in the development of the first edition of Art Banchel, an art festival that gathered 21 art studios of the area in 2017. Founded and run by Javier Muñoz, Marko Zednik, Jorge Varela. (extcert from their statement)
² Autonomía, Jordi Claramonte, published on-line by hablarenarte as a working material for ¿All together now? Conferences on collaborative artistic practices, on March 31 and April 1, 2016 in Medialab Prado. p. 8