Jordi Mitjà IN RESiDENCE at the School Milà i Fontanals

Paraules clau 2015 [Keywords 2015]

Paraules clau 2015  [Keywords 2015], installation / Paraules clau [Keywords], publication (40 copies)

The installation, which is presented together with a publication of the same name, consists of different pieces made from waste materials, found both locally in the neighbourhood and at the school. Its purpose is to propose a meditation on the word and learning and about the history of this educational institution. The book gathers together all the different moments in the project development, both the artist's experience and thoughts and the different works created over the course of the academic year.


The culminating moment in the residency process took place in the school chapel. The presentation was made by all the pupils in the reception class, who also wrote the text together. Jordi Mitjà closed these presentations by describing the work presented and the experience of working with a group of pupils.

The event was attended by family and friends of the pupils, as well as by some of the teachers at the school and representatives from ICUB and Barcelona Education Consortium and other people linked to the world of culture. 

There follows the full text of the pupils' presentation:

“Hello and good evening, 

We are pupils from the reception class. We are going to present the IN RESIDENCE project. During the first days of class, our teacher gave us our timetables. I looked, and there were a lot of subjects: mathematics, Catalan, social studies, music and strange thing called IN RESIDENCE, which we would do every Tuesday for two hours. I remember I asked the teacher, "What is this?" And she told us they were art classes, but that they would not be drawing and painting classes; rather, we would take these classes with the artist Jordi Mitjà. 

We went on trips to see exhibitions with Jordi.

Firstly, we visited the exhibition Gyotaku at Barcelona Maritime Museum. There we saw a lot of fish printed in black ink on paper. Another day we visited MACBA and saw works by many artists who use cheap materials or things they find in the street. I liked an Italian artist. Her family had a bicycle factory and she made sculptures and pictures from bicycle wheels. It was this outing that gave us the idea that we wanted to work with cheap things.

Another day, Jordi took us to his exhibition at a gallery. There we saw his works, such as, for instance:a giant broom made from wood from trees;burnt papers hanging from the wall;pottery pieces that looked like a city, and snake skins in a small container.

That day we asked Jordi a lot of questions and we got to know him more. I asked him "Where do you get these materials?" and "Are these materials expensive?". He said, "They are cheap, because I find them in the mountains and in the streets and I recycle things.”

Jordi told us that we needed a workshop to do the project. At school, we found a place that no one used any more, the old radio studio. It needed a lot of cleaning.

There we found a lot of material that the school wanted to throw out. Jordi was really pleased and he said that we could use all those things. 

We found lots of old books. We made collages from photos from these books. There were also a lot of slides, and we worked on these, too, piercing them with punches and scissors.

The first day I went to the school was November 29. That day, one of my classes was the IN RESIDENCE project. We went down to the workshop with Jordi to make a film. Jordi talked Catalan to me and I didn't understand him. I understand it now. I moved some puppets and the following week I read a phrase on Romanian, my native language. Jordi recorded it on the computer. I told the story of how a robot found a treasure. My voice appears on the film.

Our film is called La princesa i el robot [The Princess and the Robot]. All the pupils at the school watched it on St George's Day, and we were very proud of our film.

A group of second-year secondary pupils had made some videos at craft workshops in our neighbourhood, the Raval. We watched those videos and visited the workshops over a period of three weeks. The videos are entitled Minuts Lumière / plans del món [Lumière Minutes/Plans of the World]… We wondered if we could get Marta to give them the correct titles. If they could also be called Cinema en curs, that would be great, but we imagine it would be complicated.

[Lumière Minutes is an activity on the Cinema en Curs programme, aimed at encouraging cinematic creativity.]

At the workshops we asked if they would give us material that they throw them away because we wanted cheap materials to make our art works.

Firstly, we visited a glass factory and a small printer. At the glass workshop we were given two boxes of glass broken. The printer gave us pieces of iron, sheets of paper and cardboard. Then we visited a shoemaker's studio and a leather workshop. There, we got a small wooden shoe and many pieces of leather.

We did a lot of work with the materials they gave us in the workshop. For example, we made an alphabet from glass and we wrote some phrases using strips of leather. We also made drawings and sculptures from iron.

The last thing Jordi did was to remove the Francoist name of the school “Instituto Nacional de Bachillerato Milà y Fontanals” and put it in Catalan. From the window, we watched Jordi go up on a crane to take the letters down.

Then he asked us to find new words from the letters left over. We thought of lots of good words, like Barcelona, acollida and acció [Barcelona, welcome and action].

The whole class enjoyed the IN RESIDENCE project. It's really interesting and lots of fun.

We learned a lot of Catalan words, such as, for example, cartró, project, pell, vidre and ferro [cardboard, project, leather, glass and iron].

Jordi is a really nice person and a bit of a joker. If we don't know how to do something, he helps us. This is the first time we have met an artist and Jordi is really friendly.

IN RESIDENCE will end quite soon now. We are very sad, because Jordi won't be coming any more. We want IN RESIDENCE to be a formal subject like mathematics and Catalan, but that is impossible, because Jordi is an artist, not a teacher of Catalan or social studies.

Thank you very much!”