Banquete nodos y redes, Spanish media art
The Banquete project is a series of exhibitions which promote the Spanish state-of-the-art scene. This year’s installment (the third) took place at the Laboral in Gijon. The project is very well organised and succeeds in bringing people from disparate places together. The thirty artists selected by curator Karin remains the development of a synergy inclusive of art, science, technology and society. Also important to Banquete are the most recent expressions of Spanish digital art and the concept of networks as human networks using computers as interface and not and not to computer networks strictu sensu. The phenomenon of social and cultural networking is looked at from a variety of perspectives, beginning with urban and territorial networks. Significant artists working in these areas include the Hackitectura and Escoitar collectives and Clara Boj and Diego Díazt’s “Observatorio” project. The latter consisted of an installation placed on a tower which overlooked Laboral University which allowed for comtemplation of the city’s landscape while also juxtaposing a vizualization of the Wi-fi nodes located there. The assumption is that free Internet access is a characteristic of the geography of a city. Marta de Ponzalo and Públio Pérez Prieto’s video installation, Dora García’s micro-stories and especially Platoniq’s “Banco Común de Conoscimiento” are all based on educational and sharing networks. The latter is a platform for the mutual exchange of knowledge that borrows from the net some of its procedures (social Ohlenschläger will be next be seen at Karlsruhe’s ZKM in March 2009. The main focus of the project tagging, the feature of crossing supply and demand typical of some commercial software, etc.). It is performed at workshops organized all around the world. Daniel García Andujar’s “Technologies to the People” is very fond of social goals: at Banquete he distributed copies of X-devian Linux OS, pushing his spectators to embrace the free software philosophy. Works exhibited at Baquete interweave different branches of knowledge. This is especially evident in Pablo Armesto’s “sequencias”, which investigates the relationship between twenty-four chromosomes, and in the poetic installation by José Manuel Berenguer, which represents the typical synchronisms seen in the audio-visual communication of fireflies via a set of self-constructed artificial insects. Going beyond the single ideas offered by the many exhibited works, Banquete impresses because of its anthropocentric approach to digital art and its facilitation of systems analysis. The interdependence of the network nodes makes the single-node analysis impossible. The dismissal of microanalysis results in the dismissal of a sterile approach – the single-node analysis is unable to grasp the complexity that is brought to the network by each individual node. At the LABoral exhibition, Spanish New Media art becomes a significant element to be investigated, and properly frames the relations between the Spanish and the international scene.