SPECERE LAB (interdisciplinary artist Ann Burke Daly and musician and writer Álvaro Marcos) are bringing Script: Franco is Still Dead, a multi-channel sound and video installation, to Vassar College for one evening. The installation will be on display in the Aula of Ely Hall, on Wednesday, May 3, 8:00-9:30pm. A brief question-and-answer session will be part of the program.
The installation uses sound and video projection integrated with the architecture of the space. It includes political speeches, archival film and music, with their original sound, video, and writing for the piece. The scenes of Script: Franco is Still Dead look at the silent presence of a repressed past in contemporary Spain. The project seeks to contribute to the ongoing questioning of the hegemonic mythical narrative of the exemplariness of the Spanish transitional process from dictatorship to democracy after Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. By reflecting on its silences, shadows and distracting noises and by making visible what has remained buried but continues to haunt Spain today—such as mass graves and unmarked former torture centers—the work intends to create what French historian Pierre Nora called “places of memory.” The project also raises questions about the relationships between memory, history, power, justice, and identity, as well as about the ways individual, collective and national narratives are built and can be potentially re-signified.
Daly, a New York-based artist, and Marcos, who lives in Spain, began collaborating on this project in 2016. Marcos has been instrumental in connecting Daly with Spain and Madrid's political landscape and independent music scene after the social movement of 2011, which not only contested the “austericide” policies imposed by the European troika, but also triggered an ongoing political and cultural debate about the official narratives corresponding to the Spanish transition to democracy following dictator Franco's death in 1975. Daly has been exploring the unrest of the Transición and the 1980s urban youth movement of La Movida, through filming conversations with Spanish friends who came of age during the late ‘70s. Her position as cultural outsider and non-native speaker have been central to the endeavor. The team works with sampled archival as well as original textual and audiovisual materials to explore how the past haunts the present and how historical—as well as personal—meaning has to be constantly and painfully re-won, especially within a global context in which the return of neofascism is posing a real threat to democratic values.
“One of the most exciting parts of this project is the amazing collaboration between these two artists, “says Tom Pacio, Interdisciplinary Arts Coordinator. “I think this is an instructive model for students: to see artists whose work brings them together, even across an ocean, and who can find ways to navigate all the opportunities and challenges of that kind of partnership. Both Daly and Marcos are deeply passionate about their work and I think the message of their piece will resonate with many.”
Professor of Political Science on the F. Thompson Chair and Director of Research, Katherine Hite, is faculty sponsor for SPECERE LAB and is working with the creative duo in her Spring seminar, “The Politics of Memory.” The collaborative team is additionally working with Assistant Professor and Chair of Hispanic Studies, Michael Aronna, in his Literature and Culture course.
This event is sponsored by Creative Arts Across Disciplines program (CAAD). CAAD is generously funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
About Ann Burke Daly
Ann Burke Daly is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work has been published in Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Artpress International, Cabinet, PAJ/Performing Arts Journal. Daly earned an MFA from Yale, and was a post-graduate fellow of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Internationally exhibited, her work has shown at Uppsala KonstMuseum, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, White Columns, George Eastman Museum, and in the collective project “The Anthology of Art” at Centre Pompidou Paris, Museum fur Neue Kunst-ZKM and Akademie der Kunste, Berlin. Two recent volumes “Drafts: Letters Unsent” and “Box of Fiction” have been published by ROMAN NVMERALS Books and were recently launched at The ICP MUSEUM NYC (Spaces Corners), and at Printed Matter’s NYABF at MoMA PS1 (NYC). Daly’s grants include progressive Art Matters, and the John Anson Kittredge Fund. In 2016, she created a seven hour sound and video installation at the Susan Stein Shiva Theater at Vassar College, through sponsorship of the Shiva and UnFramed, for the project “Conversations and Specters: Troubled Translation.” For this project, Daly was a Visiting Artist at The American Academy in Rome in 2015. This project has also been supported by a 2016 Residency at the Studios of MASS MoCA, with a grant from the Puffin Foundation, and with in-kind support from Creative Capital and LMCC NYC (ASI 2015 program), and Creative Capital’s “On Our Radar” in 2015–2016. Daly is currently an Artist in Residence in collaboration with Spanish musician and writer Álvaro Marcos, as SPECERE LAB, through Vassar’s Creative Arts Across Disciplines program (CAAD), on a grant underwritten by the Mellon Foundation. SPECERE LAB recently appeared in public Skype dialogue to discuss the onset of their unlikely collaboration in “Connecting Voices” for Modfest at Vassar College. Daly describes her interventions as “Machines for the making and unmaking of sense.” Her diverse projects, comprised of video, sound, photographs, objects, drawing and writing work with disrupted narrative towards a psychological engagement with the viewer, drawing a relationship to the spacio-temporal concerns of Performance and Conceptual artists of the 60s and 70s. The discontinuities of perception and memory, both cultural and personal, are foregrounded in works which stage the conflicts and struggle to make sense of narratives, history, and biography. The uncertainties and vagaries of translation, memory and perception, are approached by Daly as radically generative.
About Álvaro Marcos
Álvaro Marcos has an academic background in arts and humanities, he earned a MA in Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research (as a La Caixa Foundation Fellow), NY (2015); a MA (Hons.) in Humanities from the Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain (2011); a MA in Publishing and Editing from the University of Salamanca and Santillana publishing group (2004); and a BA in English Philology by the University of Salamanca, Spain (2003). He has researched, spoken (I Philosophy & Aesthetics Conference of Young Researchers, Madrid, 2012), and published (El Estado Mental No. 4 ) about the concept of attention and its disciplining in modern and cotenmporary culture. While at the NSSR, he participated in the 23rd Democracy & Diversity Graduate Institute organized by the NSSR’s Transregional Center for Democratic Studies in Wroclaw, Poland (2014). Based in Madrid, he works as a freelance writer, editor and translator for the Spanish publishing industry since 2006, as well as a Spanish linguistic consultant (Ralph Appelbaum Associates, NYC). He is the author of the texts of several books on Spain’s heritage (El Camino de Santiago, Las 40 Maravillas del Patrimonio de la Humanidad en España), and a regular contributor of articles for the Spanish cultural magazine El Estado Mental. He is co-founder of the local cultural association Brumario and co-founder of the Madrid-based independent record label and DIY platform Récords del Mundo, which organizes the yearly Fosbury Fest music festival in Madrid. He plays and writes in the Madrid-based bands Atención Tsunami (Silencio en la retaguardia , Que le corten la cabeza , El lejano oyente ), and Incendios (Las sillas voladoras , El cuerpo humano ). Atención Tsunami’s newest album Silencio en la Retaguardia, was named No. 1 Album of 2016, early this year, by El Cultural, the Creative Arts supplement of national news outlet El Mundo, and Best 2016 Madrid Album by the national music magazine Mondonsonoro. Marcos belongs to the generations of Spaniards for whom the 15-M social movement that emerged in 2011 involved a much-needed political awakening.
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