In the Open or in Stealth


MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2018)

A realignment of resources, technologies, and energies is taking place. The intimationof this emergent ensemble, however, is faint and tangled.The exhibition is a fabricatory tracing indeterminate spaces and moving between tenses, all of which murmur at each other like distant lovers. We eavesdrop on this chatter.

Notes on the Exhibition:

The curatorial marking of a stretch of fabric cutting through space inside the building enacts a threshold and a crossing. There is a shift in space and luminosity—in the awareness of perception itself. The alteration in the quality of light and the filtration of air generates a particular condition of walking, listening, resting, of encountering works, and each other.

The curatorial sources are a constellation of protagonists drawn from an erotic print, a turn in a magician’s repertoire, a juggler’s joyous dexterity, a sequence of tones in music, a mathematical equation, among other things. They create a somatic and cognitive force field. They configure a spell and become an envelope, which we are drawn towards but also transform.

21 Personae in Barcelona extends the curatorial pulse of the exhibition In the Open or in Stealth to activate modes of sensing—of the shifting grounds, dispositional sediments and potent scenarios of life—out into the city. A group of curatorial practitioners associated with MACBA’s educational program have crafted a specific Barcelona—expressed on the streets, in the squares, with public spaces and among public secrets. A range of personae—roles, places, positions, practices, persons, ports and monuments—are invoked. We encounter permanent inhabitants, transients, travellers, beings who come alive at dawn, midnight, at siesta time or at twilight. They traverse fluid constellations across actual spaces, desired inhabitations and imagined cities. Together, they concert an activation analogous to an “entourage effect” (a debated concept in therapeutic pharmacology around cannabis), which argues that components act much better in a relational field of interaction and in combination with others than in isolation. In nature, nothing acts in a pure state.

Curators: Raqs Media Collective

Curatorial Collegiate: Sabih Ahmed (Asia Art Archive)

Hiuwai Chu (MACBA)