The short description of "Hola. ¿Cómo estás?" is that it was a 1 day exhibition of my work shown on Sept 19, 2009 in Madrid. Friends, that's a real, real short description. Because "Hola. ¿Cómo estás?" is best described as the "El fucking Niño" of exhibitions.
I arrived in Madrid, was picked up by the super great Ignacio Andreu, went to the pequeno apartamento where I was put up for the month, slept for about an hour and then headed over to La Casa Encendida to choose applicants for the taller. The class I taught was a curatorial class, here's a summary of the taller:
"This curatorial and exhibition production workshop will culminate with the participants producing an exhibition of the artist Zoe Strauss’s photographs, to be opened on September 19th, 2009. Ms. Strauss will be showing a digital slide projection at La Casa Encendida and participants will help create a site-specific exhibition outside of the gallery space by engaging with neighbors in the area surrounding the art space. Storefronts, public and private spaces, outdoor projections, a walking tour of photos...everything is up for consideration as a potential exhibition space. Participants will also be making their own photos of the neighborhood as part of the workshop."
I can barely remember the process of choosing the applicants because I was so fucking out of it, but there were 20 spots and 50 people trying to get in. Folks had to submit of letter of interest and their resume as part of the application and I remember that my only standard criteria was that I didn't want people who listed "good for my resume" as the main reason for why they wanted to be in the taller. I mean, try and disguise that a little! Jesus!
So people got picked and I had no idea who the hell was getting in the mix because even though Lucia and Ignacio translated for me I wasn't able to speak, read or understand any language that day.
I had a week before the class started to get to know Lavapies, get over jet lag and make some work and went right the hell at getting to know the neighborhood. Because my Spanish was so limited it was extraordinary difficult to make portraits. Alright, I'm trying to write a jaunty travelogue and recount a whole fucking thing and I'm asleep. Why am I writing this?
Thank god there's a recording for some of what happened in the class.
In the Hola Como Estas blog there's no reference to how Tila went to Mundo Fantastico everyday for a week to try and hook me up with Lili or how Aitor cooked dinner for me.
There's also no reference to the work that I was cracking on for the exhibition outside of the class, or the budget stuff or the work that Lucia put into getting the Solar to use for the night. Holy fuck, a lot went into this.
Here's something I noticed the first week in Spain.
Chicago, IL USA
Wildwood, NJ USA
Camden, NJ USA
Philadelphia, PA USA
For this show
1. I had to feel out the neighborhood structure and then figure out an exhibition that made sense there.
2. Propose and produce the exhibition with a huge number of variables. It involved an outdoor exhibition, being unsure about the budget until the last few days before the show, making new work and folding it into my existing body of work, teaching a curatorial class, learning and using Spanish.
3. Create a structure that allowed the students in the taller to see how I edit my work, then curate from some photographs produced for the show... this ended up meaning that I created a layout for the street exhibition with specific placement for about 2/3rds of the photos and then the rest of the photos were placed at the discretion of the class curators... they knew a lot about my work and we had walked around the neighborhood and I was completely comfortable with the participants placing those images.
Once I got the basic idea and structure down for the show, it was figuring out the ideal show and pairing it down and considering all possibilities for a successful exhibition while all the different components were in flux until literally the day of the show.
What ended up happening was a fucking awesome show and one that I'm very proud of... a few days before the exhibition I found out that the Spanish Ministry of Equality kicked in 5000 euros and that went to the street exhibition, the billboard sized images and the lighting for them... Ignacio Andreu took care of the whole production and installation of the 4 meter images. La Casa Encendida footed the bill for the inside and outside projection and Lucia secured the Solar, which was an amazing and massive space where the 3 billboards hung, a slideshow was projected HUGE on the side of a building and smaller images went up for people to take at the end of the night. Newspapers that Carolina designed and Ignacio and Lucia cooked up were distributed that whole night. It had a pretty ridiculous photo of me on the cover, 7 double spread fold outs of my photos, like posters, text about my super neighbor Ms. Conti and photos by the students in the taller. I had nothing to do with the paper, but I loved it.
The inside projection at La Casa Encendida was slightly different than the outside one. I am rambling, I don't even know how to talk about this whole thing there was so much going on.
Inside projection at La Casa Encendida
Angela and Laura putting up photos