Tuesday, 14 September 2010

there is beauty in the city flew to spain

this project, since its re-incarnation last november has gone from strength to strength. images are coming in from as far and wide as new zealand, usa and hong kong. we have grown from being an online blog project to a fledgling exhibitive extravaganza, with our first show taking place in Stoke-on-Trent in April '10 and our 3rd show presently showing in Leiden, Netherlands. (details sure to follow very soon!).

The summer saw the project's 2nd show open in the northern Spanish coastal city of Gijón and for the first time become a collaboration. Susana lopez fernandez had been an enthusiastic contributor to the project for several months - submitting numerous beautiful, funny and evocative images of her home city at the time...berlin. After a few weeks of talks and with the offer of a free exhibition space firmly in place, we set about advertising the show through word of mouth and fly postering. i selected 14 great images from the project,

printed them up at A2 size and sent them out to susana. from there, she curated the  2 week show There Is Beauty In The City: Gijón which she describes below. A massive thanks to susana for all her efforts.


I have to write some lines to finish this project we are working on since last march, although this trip began nearly seven months ago when I was living in Berlin and one morning I found my magnet “ThereisBeautyintheCity” was in my post box.

Gijón  is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the region of Asturias, in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history. The name was originally applied to a small peninsula presently referred to as Cimadevilla, literally "top of village" between two beaches, one of which has a recreational port today. The main port, one of the largest in the north of Spain, is called “El Musel”

Ezcurdia, 30 _ bajo is an alternative, art space which was born two years ago. It is not a  business art gallery, it is a cultural space which open its door during the summer.

I would like to thanks Glen, Anna and all the people who made possible the opportunity ThereisBeautyintheCity travelled to Spain last august.

Gallery front - showing FELICITY FORD in the doorway, the film of all the project's images is on display in the main window and was shown 24 hours a day for the 2 week duration

The opening was last friday, July 30th. The photos arrived a week before I did, and the work started on wednesday, July 28th.

It was an easy task, because Glen gave me clear instructions before, so in two days we hang up the photos and got the TV ready on the window where it was seen from the street, as you can see in the below photo.

Inside there was the reproduction of a dark room. From outside you could not see what there was inside so this got people´s curiosity and they wanted to get into the space to find out what it was.
Once you got inside, there were dark curtains that made you go to the back of the room, where the photos were on the walls and where people could find something to drinks and also a computer showing the same film that could be seen outside.

Everything was ready on thursday evening, but on Friday morning we hang up the photos in the window, so people could see them from the street and at 1pm the first reproduction of ThereisBeautyintheCity in Gijón started. At 8pm we opened ThereisBeautyintheCity, the film has been running for seven hours it was on the whole night afterwards.
The first people started to arrived and their reactions were diverse, but I think everything  that night and the other 15 days can be summarize in just one word: SURPRISE. They were surprise about the concept of ThereisBeautyintheCity. They were attending an opening that was just a small part of a global project that is being show around the world,   something that it is still live and is growing. They were also impressed in the initial idea was a blog and the whole project is being created by anonymous people on the internet.

In 2001 when I was still in the University I worked in a project about Marshall McLuhan and his Global Village. It was nearly 10 years ago and It was difficult for me understand those ideas, but now I think that ThereisBeautyintheCity, could be an excellent example of Marshal McLuhan´s Global Village. I think that people was talking about that that night always in a colloquial mode.
Some were surprise because they were expecting a conventional painting exhibition where you can buy the pieces and when they arrived they realised what a different kind of exhibition it was. The focus was in the street and it was not possible to buy the work. They were also surprised because it is rare to find this kind of events in a small city in northern Spain.

At 10pm we closed the doors, the video was still working but we need a break before the next 10 days. The photo exhibition was opened till the 10th of August, It was possible to watch the film from the street where it was working day and night and we filmed the reactions of people in the street. I am happy about the success, every night I had to watch and edit the video, but I enjoyed doing it, it was a satisfactory experience.

I think the success of the project was due to the fact that people could watch it from the street, they were part of it.

On Monday, August 9th, we took the decision to move the computer from the back of the room to the window with the TV. This change caught one more time the attention of the people, who after a week started to feel bored of the TV.

I would like to finish talking about the people who were unable to go because of the distance, but all them know about the project and follow us through facebook,  ThereisBeautyintheCity blog and the photos and videos I sent to them. They did not feel so surprise because they knew about the project before but they all have a favourable opinion about ThereisBeautyintheCity.

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