Cristian Herrera IN RESiDENCE at the School Institut Bosc de Montjuïc

Els Agonistes [The Agonists]

The artist Cristian Herrera and the second-year secondary pupils created a video installation titled Els agonistes [The Agonists]. Full information about this work below:

Els Agonistes [The Agonists]
Cristian Herrera and the Bosc de Montjuïc school second-year secondary pupils Abdul Ahmed, Adrià Díaz, Alejandro Fernández, Alexander García, Fernando Asensio, Gino Benetti, Hostyn Gonzáles, Iker Sánchez, Iris Giménez, Javiera Beltrán, Pau Guijarro, Paula Campoy, Arnold Gonzáles, Roman Terimov, Sara González, Sergi Martínez and Shiomara Jaramillo.

HD video, colour, sound, 3 min.
Video wall or multi-screen projection.

Els Agonistes [The Agonists]

The video installation was generated from the video recording of an action or performance that the pupils carried out.

Over the course, the artist and the pupils explored the nature/culture dichotomy in human behaviour. The focused their thinking process on the metaphor of sports competitions and fighting games, which can be seen as ways of channelling, with rules, protocols and limits, some of most our primary instincts. The class also discussed the idea of ​​the enemy, and also the relationships of confrontation or competitiveness that sometimes occur between friends, even with our best friend.

Based on this discursive framework, the artist suggested that the group could create an action or performance in pairs, in which each pupil came up against their best friend in the class. To perform this “combat”, Cristian and the pupils designed and built special armour: plaster pieces that, placed over different parts of the body, provide protection, forming a kind of padded suit or fighting costume. They also designed and made iron tools or weapons, which were used to smash these protections.

In pairs, dressed in this armour and each carrying a tool-weapon, the pupils took part in ritual combat according to rules. The objective was to break the armour of their friend without hurting them, and always according to the rules. During the performance, a soundtrack – an adaptation of the audio of a fitness test – directed and regulated the moments at which each performer should perform their "attack" movements, which had been previously established and regulated by the group as a whole.

The combats were all recorded on video, and these recordings were used to create a video installation that simultaneously presented all the fights on a screen subdivided into nine smaller screens (this video wall, which was shown at the Joan Miró Foundation, could also be presented as a multi-screen projection).

On the day of the presentation at the Joan Miró Foundation, attended by members of the education community, the video was shown and two pupils also gave a live demonstration of the combat performance. A small exhibition featuring materials and documentation illustrating the pupils’ work process was also installed in the workshop space at the gallery.