|A new and unpredictable experience
When we were preparing the educational project for “El Camp de la Bota” we could hardly imagine what the experience would be like and what would be the path that we’d take when we put it into practice. Our main aim was and is to bridge the gap between the exhibition and the public who want to get to know the project in action. We’re the other mediators of the exhibition, who have a greater voice and more words (more questions?) with regard to the work inaugurated by Francesc Abad and continued by so many other people, that keep on increasing in number. In this way, artistic practice - and artistic education - present themselves to us as spaces for meeting and doing things, rather than closed and inaccessible spaces.
In the first dossier and from the start of the educational work, it was already clear to us that our objectives were to also reinforce the ideas and intentions that move the exhibition and the investigative work that goes with it: the recovery of the historical memory and its more individual and collective dimensions and the importance of places of memory / places of forgetting seen from our contemporary realities - always with the aim to get knowledge from complexity, and in this way exercise a reflexive memory. At the same time we want to emphasise that altogether it’s an artistic process that tries to touch upon a painful moment of contemporary history and what are its most specific characteristics (a work in progress and working in a team in an entirely collective way; the will to archive and document and its sum total that does more to demonstrate than to explain, the idea and the ideas nearly over and under the final result.
It’s after the first encounter with the first group that we now know that each visit will never be a new and unpredictable experience. The outline for the work and the fixed objectives will be the axis or the guide for moving the visit. However, each meeting will be a new dialogue that continues the dialogue over our most recent history, or the same collective conversation made up of new experiences and most of all, more questions to answer. We’re discovering a new that the more than 1,700 names on the list of those who were executed return to remind us that each person is a life and most of all that each life consists of many days and much more people. They’re not here anymore, yet, yes, they are in a way present through their relatives and those who were close to them who want to remember and forget, and who need to more or less listen again to a story that has never left them and which not long ago was a tough and hard-hitting reality.
Now, right in the middle of our itinerary, we already know for certain that each encounter with the public is a surprise and a chance to augment the physical and symbolic material that give life to the exhibition. The different groups that have come to find out about “El Camp de la Bota” (secondary school students, art schools, adult education centres, those who have attended visits open to everyone) have shown us that the stories that the exhibition tells are more alive than we thought they were and that the questions it continues bringing up are even more alive. The son of someone executed at “El Camp de la Bota” that comes with a photo of his father and offers to talk, throws up the debate over who were the good guys and the bad guys in this history. The girl that speaks to you with tearful eyes about an executed relative who she didn’t know. The youth who gets angry because the Forum hasn’t spoken about about any of this... and the general surprise and sadness before a history that shows us that it’s difficult for us to include everything. It’s in this way that the project and its educational dimension newly opens the doors to a hidden history, to bring together the voices of those who were defeated in order to help shape an innovative context, so that we can write the history of all that which remains hidden, all those fragments of life, and at the same time tell the story of those who have never had it told.
Maybe we didn’t imagine that our work would be so important for this project. We knew very little of this urgent necessity to not stop telling that which also happened there, on that beach between Barcelona and Sant Adrià de Besòs. Most of all, we didn’t know of the even more urgent necessity to explain to everyone that which now makes itself known, or which they newly discover for the first time. In a way we didn’t know of the need to continue strengthening the connection between the dead (those that seem to be no longer here, but are here more than ever) and those who are alive (who appear to be completely here and very often are hardly here), because history doesn’t repeat itself, or to discover, especially all over again, what are human nature’s limitations. Everything from the many places to which our untiring present conforms: the places that come back to coincide here and now, and which, after a short time, become memories responsible for intentionally different futures.
Dolors Juárez Vives
Jordi Ribas Boldú