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Serafín Álvarez IN RESiDENCE at the School Milà i Fontanals
> INITIAL CONTACT AND INTRODUCTION TO THE PROJECT
1 October: Introduction of Serafín Álvarez
8 October: Introduction of the students
15 October: students' portraits
22 October: creation of masks inspired by Pokémon
29 October: role playing. Card game (2).
5 November: role playing. Card game (2).
12 November: screening of the film Dark Cristal / Cristal Oscuro and commentaries.
> PRE-PRODUCTION / CREATION OF A FICTITIOUS WORLD. PROPS AND COSTUMES
19 November: commentary on the film. Designing the planet and three moons.
26 November: coming up with the name of the planet and the three moons where the fiction will be set.
Screening of the film Labyrinth.
10 December: starting the costume design
17 December: visiting MACBA with Jordi Ferreiro
14 January: making the costumes
25 January: presenting the project to teaching staff
11 February: making the costumes
18 February: making the costumes
25 February: making the costumes
> PRODUCTION/FILMING AND CONCLUSION MARCH 2019
7 March: “La mazmorra del tiempo y del porvenir” [The Dungeon of time and the future]. Team A: filming at the MUHBA's Refugi 307 [air-raid shelter]
12 March: “La mazmorra del tiempo y del porvenir” [The Dungeon of time and the future]. Team B: filming at the MUHBA's Refugi 307 [air-raid shelter]
18 March: “Painting dreams”. Producing the background using sketches worked into the fiction.
25 March: team A: filming at Capella del MACBA
1 April: team B: filming at Capella del MACBA
8 April: going over and rehearsing “La melodía que protege de las tres lunas”
29 April: filming at Eramprunyà Castle
6 May: assessing the filming
13 May: no session
20 and 23 May 2017: Hangar (chroma key) recording. Teams A and B
27 May: assessment
3 June: guided tour to Refugi 307 [air-raid shelter]
17 June: rehearsal of the project's presentation
18 June: presentation of the project and the creative process at the Meier Auditorium at the MACBA.
The final editing of the final piece was carried out in the months of July and August 2019.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN AUDIOVISUAL WORK OF FICTION IN A RECEPTION CLASSROOM
The activity in the centre was carried out in two spaces: the library, above all in the first few sessions — from October to December 2018 — a space that enabled all the students to share a large table which they all sat around. And the art room on the third floor where, from December onwards, most of the sessions — for making costumes and masks — and some of the rehearsals would be held.
In the classroom, from the outset, boys and girls were divided into two groups according to gender. For this reason, the proposal to work in two mixed groups with slightly different roles in the film would be very interesting. As would the fact that the costumes chosen for the characters would be generically undefined.
1. INITIAL CONTACT AND INTRODUCTION TO THE PROJECT
The first sessions presenting the artist and the students clarified one of the special features of the reception class: many of the newcomer students were learning to speak Catalan or Spanish. That led to the artist's having to reconsider the initial planning. At first an attempt was made to introduce them to the world of role play as an introduction to a project that would be based on the ideation and creation of a fictional universe. Serafín Álvarez decided to start by creating masks inspired by the Pokémon universe, to promote the experience of becoming a character, and later proposed a simple role play game based on throws of dice.
In the following sessions, to continue working around this idea of understanding a fictional universe and, in a certain way, an immersion in the fantasy genre to which the final creation would belong, the students watched two films: The Dark Cristal (Jim Henson and Frank Oz, 1982) and Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986), following which the artist posed a few simple questions to stimulate a brief discussion on the films.
2. PREPRODUCTION: CREATION OF A FICTITIOUS WORLD. PROPS AND COSTUMES
Before the Christmas holidays, the universe in which the fiction would take place was defined. First they created and chose the name for the planet (CHRYSTAR) and its three moons (DARKWAY, DUB and KOOC). After the planet had been created, Serafín Álvarez suggested that some of the students from the class sketch it out based on the book Fantasy Art & RPG Maps. In addition to these classroom sessions, the artist Serafín Álvarez had also been meeting up with writer Victor Tur since the start of the project to write the script for the fiction.
Once the plot’s setting had been created — a new world where the story would unfold — the long process of designing the costumes, masks and ocarinas got under way, which would be carried out from December to March. The artist established two groups, who wore quite different masks and costumes. One of these, the “geometrics”, created a mask with geometrical motifs and very bright colours; their costume was a kind of tunic where these motifs were repeated in a pattern. The other, the “organics”, made a kind of hood with different applications of fabric that would cover the head while their costume consisted of a grey frog with different applications of fabric.
Stapling, sewing, painting, cutting and glueing... The entire process was carried out in the art room. In addition, the two groups created ceramic ocarinas as part of their costumes, together with a scarf bearing their group name: “orgànics”.
3. PRODUCTION/FILMING AND CONCLUSION
The filming process was the most stimulating part of the whole process for the students. The filming took place in various locations: the refugi 307 air-raid shelter; the Capella del MACBA; Eramprunyà castle, and a film set in Hangar where a chroma key was installed. In the case of the Refugi 307 and the Capella, they were visited by the two groups but on different days, while the other group stayed in the classroom. The filming in Eramprunyà castle took up an entire Monday, with everyone having lunch outside. The last filming took place in Hangar, carried out first by one group and then the other.
Each location, which was experienced as though it were a live role play game, transported the students to a fictional space where they came across several characters and gradually solved the mystery posed from the start: how can the sleeping goddess be awakened? So, Refugi 307 became a dungeon where they stumbled across the “Old one who sees everything”, and the Capella del MACBA was turned into a map maker's house where a mysterious character would give them three slides which they would later discover were the map of Chrystar. Before the students went to the next space, Eramprunyà castle, they had to rehearse the Dansa de les tres llunes and the Melodia que protegeix la son. And the day of filming at the castle, the culmination of the narrative, was the day for filming “Día del ojo en el cielo”. Along the way, the two groups, having started the excursion from the Ermita de Bruguers building to the castle, came across the “Ghost of the Present” and the “Ghost of the Past”.
The presentation of the process and a teaser of the film were given on 18 June in the MACBA’s Meier Auditorium. The post-production process continued over the summer, so the project was still under way... And the film finally premièred in September 2019.
PERFORMATIVE VISIT TO THE EXHIBITION “IN THE OPEN OR IN STEALTH”, WITH THE ARTIST JORDI FERREIRO (17 December 2019) FILMING AT THE REFUGI 307
The first visit to the MACBA was to the exhibition entitled “Al descobert o d’amagat” [In the open or in stealth], with Jordi Ferreiro. The artist did not give a conventional guided tour but proposed various dynamics within the exhibition rooms. This was their first-ever visit to the museum for many of the students. As this took place during the first few months of the school year, not all the students had mastered Catalan or Spanish; for this reason, the fact that Jordi mobilised them from a place that had little to do with language was one of the highlights of the experience.
After he had let the students explore the exhibition on their own, Jordi Ferreiro then suggested they meet up inside one of the works, from where he invited them to think about what contemporary art was about.
Afterwards he suggested a screening of a work that would offer them an immersive experience in complete darkness. They finished the visit amazed and fascinated. The first taste of contemporary art under the guidance of Ferreiro was a success.