The city and territory as the creative laboratories of resident artists
Adonay Bermudez

We are all tourists and artists are no less so. They travel and allow themselves to be moved by the territory they visit, requiring stimuli and searching for merchandising to take home once the (co)existence is over. As opposed to common tourists, who are eager to obtain a fridge magnet or postcard of the typical monument, artists attempt to conceive their own merchandising, which is simply the artwork dreamt up during their stay, seen through the prism of the object (placed in italics).

The object is representative of a space, that which defines it; but at the same time it is the justification for having travelled (and experienced) a new territory. And finally the artwork ends up concentrating the idiosyncrasy of the place.

As Estrella de Diego stated, “It is clear that scheduled trips are intimately linked to the power structure of dominant society: the system tells us how we should travel, what we should feel and what faces to pull when we are feeling what we are feeling.” (Rincones de postales. Ediciones Cátedra). But artists escape from this equation, they dictate to themselves how to travel, what to feel and what face to pull. Artists have the power to compose a different vision or to reaffirm that which has been established; they are capable of seizing the territory, of bringing about change or recording or documenting a series of incidents generated in space. “Freedom can go as far as the artist’s intuition reaches,” said Kandinsky (De lo espiritual en el arte. Ed. Paidós). Even though they start off with the same stimuli, pre-established before setting off on the journey and whose objective is the creation of the object (once again in italics), we cannot characterise them as typical tourists; they have freedom and intuition. And the new territory to be explored becomes the laboratory where intuition is found.

  • Whether consciously or not, the artist setting off on a journey to enjoy an art residency is closely associated with the figure of the tourist. They share the need to seize the territory and search for links which allow them to justify (personally or socially) that they have had a series of life experiences beyond their habitual surroundings. That is when the concept of object or merchandising appears.
  • territory, tourism, residence, object, merchandising, laboratory, art, intuition.