ART AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE EXCESS OF PLASTICS

We live an explosion of movements that try to raise awareness about the need to fight against climate change and the abusive use of plastics so damaging to the environment; we often tend to identify these initiatives with the activity of NGOs and other groups with campaigns seeking for a great impact on media. However, artists are also very aware of this problem and often include this theme in their works.

Mandy Barker, 500-plastic-piece composition picked up in a beach, 2018

A way to denounce extreme capitalism and overexploitation is by creating works with reused pieces or using the plastic itself as the main raw material, as well as creating pieces in idyllic landscapes, with the aim of emphasising the ephemeral survival of those places. The proposals are diverse: a multitude of techniques, disciplines and finishes; but the purpose is the same because undoubtedly the human being has a responsibility to the planet. On many occasions, artists associate with groups of activists to develop large-scale actions that boost the message and generate a global awareness.

Marcel van Es, drawing in Novo Sancti Petri beach, Cádiz, 2018

This is the case of Marcel van Es, a Dutch artist who for years cooperates with Greenpeace and Ecologistas en acción by creating drawings on the wet sand of the Bay of Cádiz. In April 2018 he carried out his third intervention at the Novo Sancti Petri beach in Cádiz, with a work over 25 meters in diameter that depicts a sea turtle surrounded by plastics. His vulnerable, short-lived drawings represent the fragility of nature and its impossibility to fight against the excessive abuse of natural resources and its capacity for regeneration.

Isabel Muñoz, “Water”, 2016

Other authors opt for proposals less linked to denounce movements and more focused on a personal discourse that highlights the problem within their own line of work. This is what happens with the project "Water" by Isabel Muñoz, who, true to her careful and exquisite photography, presents a series of images that underline the purity of the sea and the risk into which it is permanently put. With this underwater photography, the impact of the textures and the colours on the submerged bodies represents in an allegorical and elegant way the oppression and adherence of the plastics to the living beings in their marine environment, something against which they can not fight for themselves.

Maria Cristina Finucci, installation in the Island of Mozia, Sicily, 2016

Also, some artists devote their work almost wholly to deal with the problem of climate change and pollution by plastics. The project "The garbage patch state" has become the main leitmotif of Maria Cristina Finucci’s work. With a multidisciplinary proposal, which includes both performances, photography and installations, her production process is open to external contributions and international presence. It is an interactive and shared project that has already gone through Rome, New York, Madrid or Geneva. Because Maria does not conceive art if it does not fulfil a social function, and in this case, her educational mission is more than evident.

 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.