Mar 10

Art, nature and the city: Sitesize at the Institut Poeta Maragall secondary school

The connection with the National Art Museum of Catalonia expands the horizon of the iN RESiDENCE creation process.

Elvira Pujol Masip and Joan Vila Puig form the Sitesize group, which is dedicated to research and artistic creation on the contemporary metropolis. This year they are iN RESiDENCE at the Institut Poeta Maragall secondary school with a proposal based on the urban reality and the relationship Barcelona’s inhabitants have with their city.

On 24 February, a number of the youngsters involved in this residence shared some of the moments and situations they have experienced during the creation process through an online ‘contamination’ session aimed at the 4th-year teaching team. Marry Fhearl Barba, Greta Beltran, Emmanuel de Castro, Dominic Luengo, Juan J. Males, Olivia Roig, Dorian Ruiz, Anita Schiappa, Katherin Silang, Alexis and Antonella Virzi, reviewed some of the research and explorations they have carried out in the last few months, aimed at looking at the city from an active position.

The session opened with sounds from nature, to evoke the three core features of the work: art, nature and the city. Linked to this sensory introduction, the students referred to one of the first experiences, in which they visited Vallvidrera. The youngsters described how being surrounded by nature and their sounds made them realise that the city’s population normally lives far away from these spaces, even though they are really very close and accessible.

The creation process also revolved around observation, analysis, and conducting interviews about the secondary school’s spaces set aside for rest. In doing this, the student group realised that there is a lack of quiet places to spend their break times and the huge encroachment the streets suffer on a daily basis (noise, lack of space, dirt, etc.). At the same time, this made them ask themselves how these spaces could be improved.

The group’s investigations have also been developed around the Montjuïc mountain (with a unique discovery, such as the Santa Madrona hermitage, in the Albèniz Palace grounds) and in spaces such as the Historical Botanical Garden, a space from which the stone used to build the Eixample district (where many of the participating students live) was excavated. A special connection has been formed by the group with the National Art Museum of Catalonia, which is supporting this residence programme (together with A Bao A Qu). Various teams from the National Museum, its collections, its spaces and its surroundings already form part of the context of this creation process. For example, the exhibition dedicated to Gaudí, has allowed the youngsters to gain a new perspective of the city through their work and help them understand the role of nature in modernism. Finally, the culmination of the residence will take place in the Educart space, in the National Museum itself.

The Sitesize creation process, iN RESiDENCE at the Institut Poeta Maragall secondary school, with the participation of the teachers Pilar Domènech and Mariona Sanchez, also involves the joint mediation of the National Art Museum of Catalonia and A Bao A Qu. You can follow its development in the project’s blog, which documents its situations, explorations and experiments.