• Author: Pep Fargas
    Written: Barcelona
    Date: January 2009
    Topic: Metamembrana Catalog
    Work: Metamembrana

In my opinion, contemporary creation should help to clarify doubts, provoke reflection on burning issues and address questions that shape our daily lives. By taking emotion as the raw material of art, creation should be inspiring and it should move us by creating a link between the creator and his or her fellow citizens. Unfortunately, this ideal rarely occurs, and therefore it is all the more noteworthy when this desideratum is clearly reflected in an artist’s work.

Connecting fifteen cities in Catalonia, Transversal is a network of cultural activists that share goals and reflections that can be closely identified with Marcel•lí Antúnez’s work Metamembrana.

The first consideration which arises from this installation deals with the relationship between centrality and the periphery, and this involves the claim made by any city, depending on the context, to play an active and central role. A large mural is projected in all the exhibition spaces. However, there is no central exhibition which radiates out to subsidiary exhibitions. The main projected image is common to all the spaces, and so is the content generation with live and recorded feed from all the connected points, so that any space can be central and preeminent depending on a particular context.

Another element that Transversal would like to highlight is the need to facilitate qualitative access to culture for all citizens rather than just passive access, as the receiver of the ideas of others, regardless of how excellent these products are. In Transversal we are committed to enhancing cultural activism as the best way of approaching and identifying with art. In this way widespread involvement will enable art and culture to be understood as an element of collective communication.

The work required prior to Marcel•lí’s installation, and the production team’s work, was a manifestation of this goal. The involvement of different groups from each city - “Blancs i Blaus” and the IES Celestí Ballera in Granollers, the Diables of Reus, the Escola d’Art d’Olot, and L’Aula? de Teatre in Lleida - created synergy with a large number of citizens who saw Metamembrana as a projection of their own artistic expression. They became, in part, co-creators of a portion of the final work.

But that is not all: the artist’s intention of actively involving people also embraces the audience who are invited to interact with the installation by operating the interfaces which have become an integral part of Marcel•lí Antúnez’s performances. And in this way the open circle, which might better be described as a spiral of connections among the creator, art groups, cities and the public, is closed.

The last theme is the building of a utopia. The fulfilling of dreams, or the aspirations of almost all groups of people, could be defined as a utopia. However, going beyond the meaning of utopia as defined by Tomás Moro, in Marcel•lí’s work we could talk about the literal meaning of utopia, that is to say “u-topos, that which has no place”.

The final performance, the product of distant images in real time, of previously recorded actions, of interactions provoked by the visitor or induced by external effects, form a new landscape that effectively has no place and is therefore utopos. But the construction of this new territory which has been shaped by all these simultaneous and asynchronic layers, with multiple origins that are all real, could better be described as a pantopy, or a pan-topos, literally a place for everything.

The concept of territory, which all too often is used by the central power to define all that is peripheral, has probably been used by Marcel•lí Antúnez drawing on his experience of Moianés, a county which is so peripheral that it is really only a sub-county.

From the Transveral network we would like Metamembrana to reclaim the sub-county, the sub-territory and the sub-country as the Pantopos of the future.

Pep Fargas
Transversal, Network of cultural activities.