Brandon LaBelle

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Centro Cívico

What do we desire from being public?

The city is a space of multiplicity, full of bodies and identities, labors and dreams, and the deep and complex interactions between individuals and collectives. This multiplicity finds expression in daily life, as well as the forms of the political that attempt to negotiate the differences that constitute public expression. The political is to be understood as a radical zone of individual desire, ambition, memory and passions for the future and their formation into a common good. Centro Cívico will explore the relation between private bodies and public lives, questioning the political as a process of responsibility. This will lead us to the theme of "civic duty" and how civic culture may give expression to forms of alternative politics: a grass-roots, informal, and participatory platform for direct meeting, listening, festivity, ethics and conversation. It is the aim of the project to nurture what we may call "the civic imagination", allowing for social interaction, voice and listening, and the amplifications of what the city can be.

The project is developed through a workshop process with participating artists and researchers, and resulting in a public action: the introduction of a set of modified chairs into a public square. The chairs are fitted with wireless speakers, and playback prepared audio recordings made by participants: voices captured from around the city, and respoken as a lyrical chorus.

As part of the public program at La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
May, 2014