Place of residence: Hangar
Territory of Action: Barcelona during 15 M events
How can protesters and artists understand and even deconstruct the syntax of demonstration slogans and actions? Interested in creating a database of "efficient" protest gestures, Irina Botea arrived inBarcelonain June 2011, right in the midst of the 15M protests. The urgency of the moment demanded a response that shifted her preliminary project. Initially, she wanted to access documentation of past demonstrations as well as the broader social negotiations that have taken place inBarcelonato "articulating" a database, a source-list of spoken words and body gestures that could be available for appropriation and use.
Since the protest was already happening in Plaza Catalunya as well as on the web (the gestures and words themselves were already in play again), a new set of questions that needed to be addressed came to her mind:
-How can one participate in a collective protest and insert his/her particular agency in it?
-What constitutes a new form of protest? What is the relationship between occupying the main square of a city and the web interaction and visibility?
During her residency inBarcelona, she divided her time between participating in the protests (streaming live the actions/ demonstrations, participating in group discussions) and conducting interviews about the movements. She also collaborated with 2 artists (Anita Serrano and Merce Ortega) in creating a video-performance response to the 15M moment. They used Augusto Boal's exercises to rehearse and remember the protests. They created lists of words and gestures that they remembered. Together they attended protests and meetings with the thought in mind that later they would articulate a list of remembered gestures and words. "If it happened only once, it is as if it never happened" was the title of an exhibition by Arthur Zmijewski. They used reenactment to create distance and to eradicate the distance between the protest act and the present moment, to create a necessary space of critique and translation of the present.
She realised 3 videos:
A performance based on creating lists of words and gestures remembered from participating in the 15m movement protests and meetings. The 2 performers and the artist went together in various meetings, marches, protests that took place in Barcelona in june 2011.
Conversations on the15 mmovement that place outside of the main protests action's space (square, street, etc) with Jacopo Succari, Jorge Luis Marzo, Cristina Riera, Daniel G.Andújar, Jeffrey Swartz
Animated QR codes of web links to accampadas, occupy wall street, and other 2011 protests and other older movements that have influenced the present political movement
Irina Botea was born in Ploiesti, Romaniain 1970, and is one of the most interesting exponents of contemporary Romanian art scene. She studied at the Universityof Fine Artsin Bucharestand in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently teaches. She presents her work in many galleries and museums in Europe, USAand Asia.
She works in different media such as video, photography, performance and installations. In her work, Irina Botea draws on her personal experiences with the Communist regime under Ceausescu as well as with the 1989-90 revolution as part of the collective political heritage ofRomania.
She explores architecture and urban structures as living evidence of history as well as symbols of the burden of the past. Casa Poporului – the House of the People, which is now the seat of the Romanian parliament (which has been a museum for contemporary art for a few years now), is the theme of her video work of the same title.
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