Real Estate

Israel/Palestine 2006-2007

Curator: Nirith Nelson

Wooden structure with sign, printed material and four DVDs.
Publication: Real Estate.
Free printed material, unlimited copies, 20 pages. Black and white, 23.5 x 33.2 cm.
4 DVD: Real Estate #1. 23’41’’, Real Estate #2. 8’01’’, Real Estate #3. 10’37’’, Real Estate #4. 5’45’.
Tel Aviv Artists’ Studio, Tel Aviv, May 2007 and La Capella, Barcelona, September 2007. Espai Zero1, Museu de la Garrotxa, Olot, December 2008. Produced by JCVA and ICUB.

 

Real Estate is the result of a long process of delving into the Israeli/Palestinian problem and began in late 2006 following an invitation from the Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts (JCVA) to carry out a period of residency in Jerusalem and was continued in subsequent visits in 2006 and 2007. The Real Estate installation is presented as a pretend real estate sales office which offers a series of materials (photographs, videos, interviews, free printed material…) which attempt to be visual proof of the complex, problematic relationship within the territory and housing in this context and to show how architecture and urban planning are part of a war strategy staged by the state of Israel within the context of Palestine occupation and these in fact these become one of the most effective systems of domination. An advertising supplement for “Real Estate” can usually be found in Friday’s editions of the country’s newspapers. In these colourful supplements it is quite common to find advertisements for affordable apartments and suburban houses; it is often only after reading the small print that one notices that these houses lie within the Occupied Palestine Territories and are in fact illegal buildings according to international treaties. This project’s ironic use of the title Real Estate aims to highlight the colonial relationship of “property” which the State of Israel and part of Israeli society holds regarding the Occupied Palestine Territories.

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Here/Nowhere

Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland
March–September 2005

Intervention on the ferries that connect Baltimore fishing port with two of the many islands that make up the profile of south-eastern coast of Ireland and wich are used everyday by their inhabitants to go to work. Thousands and thousands of emigrants left the ports of this region heading for America during the famines of 1846-1848. Construction and placement of two signs on the roof of the two ferries with the words Here and Nowhere. Moving text writtten on the landscape.

see video:

https://youtu.be/u0ZAU3iMnNw

Unité Mobile (Roads are also places)

Marseille, 2005
Curator: Martí Peran

Modified Remote Controlled Truck (160 x 64 x 19 cm), The trailer has been substituted for a scale model of the Unité d’Habitation of Marseille (building designed by Le Corbussier in 1947).

Video projection (DVD, 10′ loop), 2005.

Intervention in the interior of the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, February 25, 2005. Video recording of the remote-control unit circulating freely in the corridors, elevators and roof of the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille.

Video cameraman: Laurent Malone
Video editing: Rafa Ruiz

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The video has been exhibited at places such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Rotterdam Architecture Film Festival and at the Vladivostok Film Festival.

*The piece belongs to the Museo de Teruel.

Sostenere il palazzo dell’utopia

Photo series, Roma, 2004

Photo Series (11 photos 45 x 60 cm)

The Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, built by Le Corbusier in the 1940’s represents the beginning of a series of architectural projects concerning social housing with clear Utopian inspirations and a radical attempt to transform the common ways of life. We can state that Corviale —inaugurated at the beginning of the 1980’s— is, with all its complexity, one of the last conceptions of this transforming spirit which has finally been left to one side by the dynamics of market forces.
The Sostenere il palazzo dell’utopia (Holding the Building of Utopia) project consists of a series of portraits of Corviale’s inhabitants holding in their hands the model of the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, recreating a type of democratic and egalitarian version of medieval imagery (where the powerful: popes, bishops and kings were represented holding the city they had founded), in a modest poetical attempt to re-found the possibility of Utopia.

Zwalm Mailbox Project

Rozebeke, Zwalm, Belgium, 2003

This proposal formed part of the exhibition “Kunst & Zwalm 2003”

The region of Zwalm has an urban structure based on detached houses with gardens, in which there are no examples of the modern architectural tradition. Strangely enough, many of these houses have a mailbox which reproduces an idealised traditional cabin, like those in children’s storybooks.

Wanting to introduce an ironical commentary in this context, Domènec substituted some of the traditional mailboxes with scale models of rationalist constructions, like the Vila Savoia and House no. 13 of Le Corbusier, the Steiner House of Adolf Loos and the Bolle House of Eugeen Liebaut.

*The piece belongs to the Museo de Teruel.

Taquería de los vientos

Los Vientos taco stand

Mexico DF, 2003

Iron, edition of sheets of paper to wrap the tacos in, poster and DVD

A production of Laboratorio Arte Alameda with the collaboration of Arte In Situ / Torre de Los Vientos

Torre de los Vientos (the Wind Tower), the construction with which Gonzalo Fonseca represented the presence of Uruguay in the avenue of sculptures of countries participating in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico

(…) One direction in which it radiates is towards the Torre de los Vientos (the Wind Tower), the construction with which Gonzalo Fonseca represented the presence of Uruguay in the avenue of sculptures of countries participating in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Finally, the project took the form of a scale construction of an exact replica converted into a mobile taco stand. For one day, the taco stand opened beside the Torre de los Vientos and, for the exhibition period, it was installed in the environs of the Laboratorio itself.
Domènec usually works with archetypal architectural references of the Modern Movement always with the same intention: to stage the breakdown of modern utopias by converting these constructive referents into domestic, sometimes banal, mere utilitarian scenarios. On this occasion, the Torre de los Vientos, built as a vantage point that was to rise to heights that would offer a view of the future becomes a simple instrument for the sale of foodstuffs, a simple device for a domestic experience, anchored in the real. However, this ousting of the utopian body converted here into a mere object should not be regarded as a melancholic operation; almost quite the opposite, it is more like a celebration of the very possibility of recycling into a true value of use what was previously bathed in an aura of refinement and useless abstraction (…).
In the Los Vientos taco stand, this operation of critical revision of modernity acquires an especially acute register in minor details that could go entirely unnoticed by the consumer of tacos, but which are there to provide a more precise reading of the project. The paper provided at the taco stand to wrap up the food reproduces absolutely significant images: scenes of the massacre in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in 1968. It is important to remember that 1968 was not just the year in which the real Torre de los Vientos was built, it is also the emblematic date marking an irreversible inflexion in the modern process. (Martí Peran)

*The piece belongs to the César Cervantes Collection (Mexico).

Existenzminimum

Girona, 2002

Replica (in a smaller size, recycled as a basic housing unit) of the monument in homage to Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht, leaders of the German Communist Left assassinated by parapolice forces in 1919, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1926 and destroyed in 1933 by the Nazis. Installation in the Parc de la Devesa de Girona, October 2002, then at the Fundació Espais d’Art Contemporani de Girona, November 2002.

In 2009 the project was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona MACBA, as part of the exhibition Modernologies.

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Glass Door

Apartment in Ferran Street, Barcelona 2002

This intervention formed part of the project Pis compartit. (Shared Apartment)
Organised by: Eduardo Pérez Soler

This consisted of mounting a temporary installation inside an apartment shared by students of architecture. For a month several artists intervened in different areas of the flat interfering with the day to day life of the three residents. The general public were invited to visit the interventions.

The Glass Door project consisted of an ironical game using the limits of transparency in modern architecture, by substituting a wooden bathroom door for a transparent one. The most private of all places became public, seen by everyone. Transparency suddenly became exhibitionism.

Sans Domicile Fixe

No Fixed Abode

Digital video in DVD, loop, 2002

The camera follows and records the journey made by a truck transporting a prefabricated house along side roads.

Domestic

2000

Serigraph edition of a photograph of the wooden model of «l’Unité d’habitation» in the middle of the forest.
Serigraph edition, 170 x 124 cm. 70 exemplars.

20 of each used in the intervention in several advertising panels (bus shelters and billboards) in Mataró, Other 20 used in the intervention several advertising panels (bus shelters and billboards) in Banyoles.

 

An architect’s model always stands for a proposal for the future, a promise, a wish, the representation of an idea built to scale which one day will become a tangible place that is both real and liveable.

In Domestic the model of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation is featured, this emblematic building from the modern movement, this perfect place for dwelling with the promise of a better life for the lower classes left abandoned in the middle of a forest; weeds have begun to smother the building.

The sign is eloquent: the Unité, a modern architectural paradigm for living happily in the world, devised as a universal solution based on a number of excessively predetermined and utopic suppositions which has now become a simple derelict building. The proposition presented thus expresses a dual intention: a game that subverts the illusory pretensions of modernity, in which an abandoned, vulnerable wooden house takes the place of dreams of building a solid foundation in the world, yet one which is only renderings and photo-montages of the new urban planning projects, just like in the colourful advertisements that feature models, that is, an idealised representation of what perhaps one day might be, will be.

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