Rodriguez Foundation
Marina Griznic
Oliver Ressler
Hito Steyerl
José Carlos Mariategui
Marcus Neustetter
november 5
19:00 >> Fundación Rodriguez
20:00 >> Marina Griznic
november 6
19:00 >> Oliver Ressler
20:00 >> Hito Steyerl
november 7
19:00 >> José Carlos Mariategui
20:00 >> Marcus Neustetter

A summary of the public presentation of TESTER made by the Fundación Rodríguez at the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea on 5th November 2003 within the framework of the conferences on Artistic Proposals of today, here and there..

The Fundación Rodríguez publicly presented its latest TESTER project and offered some keys to explain its conception of artistic production.

Fundación Rodríguez has been working as a group since 1994 and was part of [SEAC] until this disappeared in 1999. From that time onwards, Fundación Rodríguez has organised and co-ordinated various projects, principally related to contemporary culture and the new media, always understanding its activities to be an extension of its artistic work. Fundación Rodríguez works with the audio-visual medium, with multi-media supports and with all types of creative proposals. However, it also focuses on theoretic thought in order to put forward new formulas for commissioning and new ways for the production, diffusion and distribution of current artistic works.

Fito Rodríguez, a member of the Fundación, began his speech by pointing out the need to recapitulate on the key ideas behind the way the Fundación Rodríguez operates. In his opinion, they function more like producers or facilitators than mere commissioners. The Fundación’s objective is to reconsider these artistic mediation processes and revise them in order to give a new direction to the production of contemporary art and take the surrounding social environment into account. “We would like to examine how art production is embedded into the surrounding society and investigate the circumstances of art and artists in the contemporary world”, he declared. The projects undertaken by the Fundación have been based on collaboration and decentralisation criteria since, as they explained, they do not agree with the schemes followed in the artistic institution. In his opinion, the production and diffusion processes are closely related and, for this reason, it is essential to cover all the phases in order to correctly interpret the artistic process. Two projects were presented as examples of how they work: TV Interventions and Videoscope.

Fito Rodríguez explained that the Art & Electricity project marked a turning point in the course of development of Fundación Rodríguez and lies behind the project that they are currently developing: TESTER. Natxo Rodríguez explained that this project was original a proposal made by Arteleku to deal with new technologies through a workshop format. “We proposed to reconvert it, to decentralise it. If the objective was to discuss new technologies, why not use these technologies to do so? It seemed more logical to us to dedicate the resources we had to producing and disseminating any projects generated rather than meeting up in a specific place”, he explained.

Art & Electricity had several distribution channels: a web site, a video program, a double CD-R and several public presentations. According to the Fundación, the repercussion the project had was very important, decentralisation worked and this aspect interested them considerably. “The CD-R circulation was conducted through a trend magazine and this enabled us to have access to a public that is not part of the art world, to people that generally escape us. And this was another of our objectives and I believe we have achieved it”, Fito Rodríguez declared.

After giving a concise explanation of Art & Electricity, Fito Rodríguez went on to explain about TESTER: the project that they will be developing during 2003 and 2004. The Fundación Rodríguez intends to use everything that worked correctly in the last project in this current project, whilst improving on those aspects that did not have the desired effect. They have tried to recover the method used in Art & Electricity to call participants. A mixed call for proposals was made at that time: some of the participants were invited and othesr came into the project through the public call for proposals made. The Fundación Rodríguez has invited José Carlos Mariategui and Marina Grzinic to take part in TESTER as nodes and they have been made responsible for selecting the rest of the people that will make up the network, the nodes located in Ljubljana, Vienna, Johannesburg, Lima, Vitoria and Berlin. “We are sharing responsibilities with a group. We do not wish to be commissioners, the nodes are the transmitters, the browsers, at different levels. They are the principal support for the network. Their activity is primarily creative, they are responsible for setting the people to work. To relate artists and to work with them in one direction”, they explained. The objective is to try and relate different worlds, different people and to offer a possibility of establishing interrelations.
To discover zones of artistic activity that are little recognised or are not recognised at all in the art – institution, and, in the opinion of the Fundación, this is made possible by the nodes. Six nodes will work using the ideas that worked for Art & Electricity such as the do-it-yourself, home-tech and remote work practices. During the development of TESTER networking shall be combined with presential work.

The web site is to be the tool for discussions and for developing TESTER. “The web site was the principal showcase for Art & Electricity. This time the web site has been established before the work has actually begun. We have learnt that this tool is much more useful than was originally thought. will never be a static web site, we do not want to convert it into a mere posting board”, Fito Rodríguez declared. As they explained, this tool aims to be a space for theorising, for discussion and for reflection. A space where the people making up the project can discuss matters and contribute with their ideas.

On the occasion of the public presentations of the proposals made by the nodes, working meetings are being held at Arteleku in the mornings. This is a way to strengthen relations between the nodes and also an opportunity for people to physically see each other given the fact that some have not yet had the opportunity of meeting up in person. “Until now the entire project was air. The public presentations afford TESTER visibility. They offer us the possibility of coming into contact with reality and of measuring our work”, Natxo Rodríguez declared. Moreover, the aim is to reach an agreement as to what type of work will be included within TESTER.

[Arteleku] [Rodriguez Fundazioa] [Eusko Jaularitza] [American Foundation Center] [Casa Asia]