Perhaps precisely because of the open-ended and experimental nature of The Artist and the Stone, the work has generated a wealth of activities and lent itself well to the sphere of pedagogy. And though the pieces produced through the process, be they videos, photographs, objects and so on are suitable for exhibition formats, the more discursive aspects thrive in the knowledge generated and shared by the participants of the workshops, classes and cycles.
EL PUIG COOPERATIVE SCHOOL
Our serendipitous encounter with Escola Cooperativa El Puig is emblematic of The Artist and the Stone’s desires and course of action and reflection.
It all started when teacher Anna Sala, read a newspaper article in El Punt d’Avui about The Artist and the Stone. For the academic year 2015/16, the experimental school located in Esparreguera had set themselves the challenging task of working on the theme of refugees. Together with other teachers from the program and The Artist and the Stone team a moving collaboration was born involving 28 first-grade children.
Beginning with three incredible encounters with the children – two in Esparreguera and one in Barcelona at Pla de Palau, and at the Fundacío Suñol – in which the theme was developed through an artistic approach, the students finally met Ibrahim Jawabreh – the artist they had been following via Facebook for many months – in March 2016. What ensued was an exhilarating cycle of workshops in which The Artist and children created elaborate and delicate works based on pattern, concentration and repetition.
FILMS SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SPACE
Cycle of projections on the theme of desires and constraint, citizenship and mobility with the framework of the public activities of The Artist and the Stone. In collaboration with OVNI archive and coordinated by Ayla Pellicer and Aina Dorda, a selection of short documentaries were projected onto the wall of Escola Massana in the newly renovated Plaça Gardunya in the heart of the Raval (Barcelona). The public programme included works by Bouchra Khalili, Haitam Al Katib, Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders, Avi Mograbi, Rashid Masharawi and Khaled Hourani.
IDENTITY AND CONTEXT
Ayla Pellicer and Aina Dorda Duch kicked off The Artist and the Stone pedagogical sessions at Escola Massana on October 22, 2015 within Antonio Ontañon’s class on Theory of Context.
The main objective was a double brainstorming session in which each student could create a group feedback environment based on questions concerning the politicization of art, context, identity and subject.Small printed text-based works were produced hinging on an analysis of the main conceptual axes of the project in relation to the course. The aim of the activities was for the students to develop a theoretical essay, including reflections and questions concerning the individual process of the construction of Artistic Identity.
RAZON DE PESO [Compelling Reasons]
An 8 kg sample of Jerusalem stone, having previously travelled to the Faculty of Fine Arts in Porto, arrived at the Escola Massana to become the central relational element for performative actions during a workshop in the class dedicated to the topic of Representation.The process was explained as was the work of Ibrahim Jawabreh, The Artist who, unlike The Stone, had not yet managed to reach Barcelona, triggering a discussion on how art has not been suppressed by the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Rather, the desires generated by constraint can be strong enough to move mountains or, in this case, stones. Investigating their own desires and the Razones de peso, compelling reasons, of each student were completely different and distinct: some were physical, others simply words – concise and direct – yet sometimes just as heavy as the block of stone. Curiously, in the beginning, instead of speaking of their ‘compelling reasons’, many spoke of their ‘reasons for being’.Eight kilos of stone moved around among the participants, increasingly gaining consistency and presence. A huge diversity of words, metas, aims, concepts and personal emotions were placed on the table. Meanwhile, a true counterweight to the workshop presented itself: one student was extremely contrary to the process insofar as she could not conciliate the role of art with the current refugee crisis. The charged friction she brought forward necessarily led to a fertile equilibrium in relation to the intangible aspects that were being developed. Finally, the students were asked to create an emotional map concerning all that had been shared. Each student developed a personal interpretation of the The Artist and the Stone, using their own language, be it performative, graphic, analytical or poetic. Each interpretation brought a new fold to the construction of meaning of the double movement realised by the subject and the object –the artist and the stone– contributing to its multilayered reading.
PLEASE BE MORE SPECIFIC
On the evening of February 8, the installation at Pla de Palau hosted an activity within the framework of the 2nd ENCURA curatorial residency –Lightning Studies: CTCCCs at Hangar. This 4th Footnote, headed by curator Renan Laruan and with invited guests Xavier de Luca (Jiser, Fundació Suñol), curator David Armengol and the selected Encura artists hinged on an informal discussion around the topic of context-specificity.
THE ARTIST MEET STUDENT OF ESCOLA MASSANA
Ibrahim Jawabreh, Giuliana Racco and Matteo Guidi met the students of Escola Massana – important partners of the project – for an indepth discussion and presentation of The Artist and the Stone. By now the project had become well known in Barcelona, and this moment provided the opportunity for Ibrahim to share, with the students and teachers of the school, his reflections on his role in the project focusing on his own artistic practice and initial desire to come to Barcelona to do a residency.
Aimed at providing a tool for developing audio-visual language among the adolescents of Raval’s Casal dels Infants, The Artist and the Stone team members Ayla Pellicer and Aina Dorda – in collaboration with Tania Cearreta – proposed a workshop on borders/limits in everyday life within the specific context of the Raval neighbourhood. Starting with a visit to the OVNI video archive at the local CCCB, the group was introduced to the audio-visual language of documentary videos. Moving from this, questions were posed in order to open reflections on the 4 cardinal points of the project – citizenship, desire, mobility and restriction.
This was followed by a practical workshop lasting several weeks in which the participants produced short autobiographical videos based on the students own experiences which were recorded with everyday tools: cell phones, tablets, compact cameras. Watch video 1 – Watch video 2
A final presentation of the participants works, Projecting Us, took place at the Arts Santa Mónica centre’s Sala d’Actes, a moment of dialogue between the local adolescents and the major art centre in the heart of the Raval.