April 11th, 2021 - ∞
AQUÍ is a site-specific intervention taking place in an abandoned building in Gamboa, Panamá. The structure has been losing parts of its structure with time, becoming an open space and therefore a venue that is safe to receive visitors during the outbreak of COVID-19. Aquí, meaning here, promotes conviviality, community and social exchange through art, specifically at a time where the scarce cultural offer and cultural centers in Panama were limiting art exhibitions and other programs to the virtual realm.
Aquí exists because of the need to look at art in the presence of others: looking at art and attending exhibitions is far more than a mere aesthetic experience. We believe that it is also a deeply social and spiritual experience that artists and other exhibition-goers actively seek in their downtime.
This intervention brings together the works of artists, architects, landscapers and designers based in Panama. Throughout the show, different formats are explored by creating pieces that survive to – or are activated by – the passage of time. The interventions keep in mind the symbiosis between the work and the space, taking into consideration the socio-environmental context of the exhibition site. At the same time, they interact with the space consciously, being mindful of the environment and other living beings that exist there. Every piece considers a way of inhabiting the structure, with a particular focus on being, by way of leaving behind a souvenir or a subtle evidence of presence within the space.
Together, the works leave behind a kind of semi-permanence: objects and images out in the open within or surrounding a structure that detaches itself from the territory over time. Artists and thinkers from the local context plant new narratives in a site mostly known for being the former Panama Canal Zone with a strong colonial past, now the lush home of expats, Europeans, and prestigious American institutions in the present. Although not much goes on in a cultural level, the intervention seeks to change the imaginary of an otherwise neglected site.
The show will remain here indefinitely.
Curated by Ana Sofía Camarga, Mónica Fonseca, and Mana Pinto.
Una Intervención única. La Prensa. Panamá
'AQUÍ', el colectivo artístico que reclama espacios para la memoria cultural. La Estrella de Panamá. Panamá
Behind the scenes video made by César Othón
Text about the project written by Maia Alfaro Samos (originally in Spanish, translated below), participating artist in the intervention:
Y Aquí, la brisa misma. Todas las brisas, representadas por una sola brisa imaginaria, inspirada por una foto de una ruina musgosa y hermosa como lo sería la ciudad entera si la dejáramos ser por unas décadas. La brisa de mis fantasías cuarentenales, total y completa, que quizás siempre le ha hecho falta al arte. Siempre en toda la existencia de esta tierra. O más calor. Al arte le hace falta mojarse en el calor, pasándose de mano en mano secando frentes. Si existe posibilidad de estar juntos, cuerpos orgánicos en un espacio orgánico, pues que el arte sirva de excusa.
El arte encharcado de lodo, el arte incendiado sin querer, forzándonos a alejarnos en reverencia (aunque espero que esto no suceda). El arte de aceptar a la vida misma como curadora. El arte de rechazar historias y futuros del arte que, por más glamorosos que sean, no son nuestros. El arte de crear comunidades creadoras.
Artistas juntos en un espacio materializando esencias, compartiendo intimidades de color, sonido y geometría, rodeados de una suave reconquista (el concreto, que una vez aparentó dominar el espacio, abrazado por plantas hasta ser restaurado a la tierra), ignorando la infinidad de rompecabezas digitales para lograr aterrizar lo más posible, no en código, sino Aquí.
And Here (Aquí), the breeze itself. All the breezes, represented by a single imaginary breeze, inspired by a photo of a mossy ruin as beautiful as the entire city would be if we let it be for a few decades. The breeze of my quarantine fantasies, total and complete, which perhaps art has always lacked. Always in all the existence of this earth. Or more heat. Art needs to get wet in the heat, passing from hand to hand drying foreheads. If there is a possibility of being together, organic bodies in an organic space, then let art be the excuse.
The mud-soaked art, the art unintentionally set on fire, forcing us to walk away in reverence (although I hope this doesn't happen). The art of accepting life itself as a healer. The art of rejecting histories and futures of art that, as glamorous as they may be, are not ours. The art of creating creative communities.
Artists together in a space materializing essences, sharing intimacies of color, sound and geometry, surrounded by a gentle reconquest (the concrete, which once seemed to dominate the space, embraced by plants until it was restored to the earth), ignoring the infinity of puzzles digital to land as much as possible, not in code, but Here.