Artistic Encounters. Sociology meets the Visual Arts

Wednesday 25th, 17.30-19 pm

Link: Conference Room 1

Access to videos (password required)

This proposal brings together the work of two artists, Fito Conesa and Mireia Sallarès, through two projects in video format that delve into complex personal and collective experiences as well as the social and political implications of sex and love respectively. Their videos will be accessible for all conference participants and, moreover, both artists will discuss their approaches and their work in a conversation moderated by Mariona Moncunill-Piñas.

The video Midgard (Fito Conesa, 2016) is the result of a failed attempt to bait a truck driver on (a website for gay sexual encounters between truck drivers) and shoot with him a road movie where to share intimacies and sexual anecdotes, Fito Conesa embarks on a virtual journey down the Internet’s depths. The habit of surfing through gay dating websites and Apps, thus, takes the form for the artist of a deliberate exploration of his digital self, and of a simultaneous investigation of how sex is constructed online. While it appears that the very social structures that affect our way to understand gender, pleasure and dependence are somehow replicated on the web, the question about our virtual existence remains open: are we vigilant users and conscious of the artifice, or are we just dormant avatars disconnected from our bodies? Is the Internet only a ‘gateway to adventure’ or does it open the possibility for users to experience other layers of realness? 

The film Informativni Razgovor (Informative conversation) (Mireia Sallarès, 2019) represents a fictional interrogatory between the artist and a policeman who asks her about her research about love in Serbia, a research -and a concept of love- that is entangled with the conflictive and complex recent history of the country. The conversation allows her to go through many of the reflections that arose from her project Kao malo vode na dlanu (Like a Little Water in the Palm of the Hand). What is the amorous thinking we have incorporated, who exploits it and who abuses it? What inequalities does it generate and what withholding of recognition does it entail? Is love, when all is said and done, a passion of domination or of emancipation? Does it contribute to the reproduction of inequalities or can it subvert them? Can it be a productive force or only reproductive? Is it a simple passion or a democratic passion, with libertarian roots? As a way of relating to these questions, in the film-conversation in which only two people seem to be talking, many voices from different places are heard: the interpretation of the Yugoslav Wars, the transformation of ownership since communism and the transition to capitalism, the critique of romantic love, the anarchist legacy and feminist anthropology, the condition of the stranger and the tragedy of the refugees, psychoanalysis and the fiction of a police interrogation in which art calls into question the meaning of its practice.

About the artists

Fito Conesa has a degree in the Fine Arts from Barcelona University. He has given and designed workshops for the Education Department of Fundació “la Caixa”. He worked as an art director on the “Green Santo Domingo” campaign for Santo Domingo City Hall (Dominican Republic) and was part of the tutorial team of Sala d’Art Jove (2012).

His work has been shown at various museums and festivals such as the Oslo Screen Festival 2010, Barcelona Loop Fair 2009-2012, Barcelona International Poetry Festival, the Centro Cultural Español in the Dominican Republic, Matadero Madrid and Caixafòrum (Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona).

He has contributed to publications such as Zeitgeist: Variations & Repetitions (Save as… publications, 2010), Unique Window Display (Loft Publications, 2009) and Suite for Ordinary Machinery (Save as… publications, 2008), with the latter being included in the holdings of the Tate Modern library (London), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Reina Sofía and the MACBA.

Mireia Sallarès (Barcelona, 1973) is a visual artist graduated in Fine Arts at University of Barcelona and guest lecturer at ISDAT Institut Supérieur des Arts de Toulouse, France. She lives between Barcelona and other foreign cities in which she carries out her artistic research projects because foreignness is an essential register in her artistic practice.

Her works are the result of long research process that refer to essential subjects such as violence, pleasure, legality, truth, love or work. Her methodology generates trans-disciplinary projects concerned by non-fiction and political problematics that are formalized with films, books and also site specific interventions. The notion of The lived life is the axis on which her artistic practice is articulated and she states: “What is truly monumental is the life who has been lived. UNESCO should declare it a world heritage. A right that can not be individual and that links us all, both the living and the dead.”

Her projects have been exhibited internationally and they have received grants and awards. His latest project, Kao malo vode na dlanu, a research on the concept of love in Serbia, has received the Barcelona 2019 City Award and it is the second chapter of a bigger and still ongoing project: The Trilogy of trash concepts (truth, love and work).