Summary of the working sessions || Ana Vujanović and Marta Popivoda


Problematics and concepts to be investigated and developed through the interviews:


What are the critical concepts and discourses? How are they produced and practiced? Where do they take place? Who are their actors? What are their agencies? What does it mean to be critical at the contemporary performing arts scene in Madrid today? (Critical to what? Critical, for the sake of what?)

critical cultural policies and micro-policies (be they top-down or bottom-up):

  • opening the scene toward international context – bringing authors from abroad and including local actors: In-Presentable festival; curators from Europe are not interested in Spain and Madrid
  • creating space for continual public talks and dialogues – festivals: before Desviaciones, Situaciones; now In-Presentable, series of lectures in Museo Reina Sofia
  • collaboration between university and the scene – José A. Sánchez, Artea research group, Jaime Conde-Salazar Pérez – Aula de Danza Estrella Casero de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares / vs. university and the practice are not connected at the performing arts scene
  • meeting point of performing and visual arts – La Casa Encendida, Matadero, Museo Reina Sofia, José A. Sánchez, Master en Práctica Escénica y Cultura Visual (Master in Performing Arts Practices and Visual Culture)
  • publishing (books, magazines, blogs): Cairón magazine (Artea), Continuum Live arts blog (Celia Díez Huertas, Marta Muñoz Recarte, Jaime Conde-Salazar, Francisco Villar), net of the blogs, Archivo Virtual de Artes Escénicas (Artea: Óscar Cornago), key books: José A. Sánchez, Desviaciones, 1999; José A. Sánchez, Situaciones, 2002; José A. Sánchez, Jaime Conde-Salazar (Editors), Cuerpos sobre Blanco, 2003; José A. Sánchez, Artes de la escena y de la acción en España 1978-2002, 2006 (2004); Juan Domínguez, In-presentable 03-07, 2007
  • creating the context – before Maria La Ribot, Ana Buitrago, Blanca Calvo / vs. investing only in your own work; today also Juan Domínguez (dance practice) and José A. Sánchez (theoretical field and education)
  • providing space for work: La Casa Encendida, Cuarta Pared, Teatro Pradillo, Sala Triángulo, Off Limits gallery, (Matadero – is just starting) / vs. no free places for work, a lot of studios that you should rent
  • collaboration between public/private institutions and independent/freelance scene La Casa Encendida: In-Presentable, Artea

critical practices in ways of work and production:

  • exhibition context – ‘white cube’ vs. ‘black box’; exit from the theatre and its genres, especially important for ‘new dance’
  • Living room festival – rejection of the public space and creation of new public space, freedom from institutional requests, involving the audience
  • collaboration, collectivity, mutual support, collaborative initiatives – theneverendingstory (Cuqui Jerez, María Jerez, Cristina Blanco, Amaia Urra), El Club, Artea, Paz Rojo / vs. predominant individualism

critical practices related to the reflection:

  • creating the space and conditions for theoretical and artistic reflections on practice / vs. production, market’s request
  • Master en Práctica Escénica y Cultura Visual (Master in Performing Arts Practices and Visual Culture), University Alcalá de Henares; Pilar Lacasa, José A. Sánchez – distribution of the responsibility and knowledge, against commodification of education; time for reflection / vs. request to produce
  • Artea – creating the context where you have time to reflect on practice
  • El Club – sharing the knowledge, reflection of the process of collective work
  • Carlos Marquerie – informal meetings with colleagues and friends, as a practice of sharing and communicating artistic process; ethical approach to artworks
  • clear theoretical concepts – e.g. José A. Sánchez, identification of the three tendencies on the scene: ‘commotion’, ‘ludic’, ‘experimental’ / vs. two inherited ‘families’ in jargon / generally vs. common senses and doxa
  • Research group on performance practice (lab and the project that is starting in Matadero) – Paz Rojo
  • International Seminar on New Dramaturgies José A. Sánchez, Óscar Cornago / vs. dramaturgy doesn’t exist as a study field, the artists don’t collaborate with dramaturges

critical discourses in/of medium and form of performance (theatre, dance)

  • deconstruction of theatrical mechanisms and conventions – Cuqui Jerez, Maria Jerez, Juan Domínguez, Óskar Gómez Mata; work with the stereotypes and mechanisms of mass media and theatre; anti-mythic approach, ‘idiotic practice’
  • work with time – ‘broken time’: Cuqui Jerez, ‘expanded time’: Juan Domínguez; questioning the ‘given time’, speed – capitalism, linear and condensed time – theatre
  • ‘return of the real’ into theatre – Rodrigo Garcia, Angélica Liddell; intrusion of the real body on stage / vs. illusionism, fiction
  • concepts of interdisciplinarity & dis-disciplinarity – meaning: inter-disciplinarity should lead to dis-disciplinarity / vs. disciplines and disciplining

critical terms & concepts (including conflicts and sometimes discussions around them)

  • seriousness vs. playfulness, humor, idiocy
  • collectivity, collaboration vs. individualism
  • creating the context vs. personal (professional) career
  • research vs. training
  • reflection vs. production
  • public talks and discussions
  • ethics of work
  • experimentation vs. tradition
  • interdisciplinary, dis-disciplinarity vs. disciplines and disciplining
  • global view, internationalism vs. the local
  • continuity


Actors and agencies we should visit, talk to, etc. in order to develop the problematics and concepts above:

The list made during the working sessions comprises more than 40 items. Here is its summary (in alphabetic order):

  • Amalia Fernández
  • La Casa Encendida – Maral Kekejian (performing arts program; + El Club)
  • Cuarta Pared – Javier Garcia Yague (+ festival Escena Contemporanea)
  • Cuqui Jerez (+ theneverendingstory)
  • Elena Córdoba
  • Jaime Conde-Salazar Pérez (+ Continuum Live arts blog; Aula de Danza Estrella Casero de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares; Cairón)
  • José Antonio Sánchez (+ Master en Práctica Escénica y Cultura Visual; Artea; International Seminar on New Dramaturgies)
  • Juan Domínguez (+ In-Presentable, El Club)
  • Monica Valenciano
  • Museo Reina Sofia – Natalia Álvarez (performing arts program)
  • Paz Rojo (+ research group on performance practice)
  • Rodrigo Garcia
  • La sala Triángulo
  • Carlos Marquerie (+ teatro Pradillo, ethical approach to work)
  • La Tabacalera
  • Victoria Pérez Royo (Master en Práctica Escénica y Cultura Visual; Artea; Cairón)
  • Óscar Cornago (+ Archivo virtual de artes escénicas, Artea; International Seminar on New Dramaturgies)


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escenas discursivas_thinking laboratory: 16–21 April 2012 Matadero / El Ranchito, Madrid

escenas discursivas_thinking laboratory:
16–21 April 2012
Matadero / El Ranchito, Madrid


The final phase of the escenas discursivas research on critical discourses on the contemporary performing arts scene in Madrid is one-week thinking laboratory. It is edited by the working group involving: Ana Vujanovic, Marta Popivoda (TkH), Catarina Saraiva (El Ranchito), Isabel de Naveran and Victoria Perez Royo (Artea).

The laboratory is meant to open the research both in terms of including more collaborators and of making it public in the context of Madrid. Making the topics and voices that appear in the research public could help a collective critical self-reflection of the actual state of affairs and a projection of the future of the scene. At the same time, the editors don’t want to keep the laboratory local-specific, although it is deeply context-based, as they believe that we share the similar obstacles, problems and precariousness at the contemporary art scene in the neo-liberal capitalist societies. Therefore we could help each other in understanding our local specificities through a wider story which is not told univocally.

Topics of the day:

16 April: Shaking the state of affairs – critique, resistance, alternative, invention
(how to approach actual state of things at the scene, in the city, in society, when it does not satisfy us? between problematization and affirmation of the new)

17 April: Performing arts in the cultural-artistic topology of the city
(cultural policy and investment in the performing arts, relations between and meeting points of performing and visual arts, the visibility of the performing arts in the city)

18 April: Creating the context
(contextual approach, overcoming the prevalent neoliberal individualism, belonging and commitment, collectivity and collaboration, ethics of work)

19 April: Go international or, else, stay local
(how much is the global international? how much is the local authentic? opening the scene towards international context, rediscovering the local. questions of politics, aesthetics and embodiment)

20 April: Lack of…
(space, time, funds, resources, infrastructures… in the age of austerity. critical and alternative practices in ways of work and production, focus on common pool resources).

21 April: Continuity, a ‘mission impossible’
(why are we continual mostly in being discontinuous? short-termism and ‘ad-hocism’, exhaustion, fatigue and abandon. plus: how to continue with escenas discursivas?)

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interview || Óscar Cornago

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interview || Monica Valenciano

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interview || Javier Garcia Yagüe

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interview || Elena Córdoba

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interview || Amalia Fernández

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interview || Victoria Pérez Royo

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interview || Carlos Marquerie

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interview || Jaime Conde-Salazar

Actors / agencies of the scene addressed by the interview:

Jaime Conde-Salazar
-       Fields of study/research: art history, dance history, performance studies, dramaturgy

-       Colección “Documentos de Danza” (Universidad de Alcalá)
-       Cairon. Revista de Estudios de Danza
-       Aula de Danza Estrella Casero de la Universidad de Alcalá

concepts / themes > lenses:

-       critical practices related to the reflection
(creating the space and conditions for theoretical and artistic reflections on practice – Continuum; role of (clear) theoretical concepts vs. doxa, jargon, truisms, ‘common sense’; role of dramaturgy):

Continuum is a project developed together with Marta Muñoz, Celia Díez and Francisco Villar. Continuum has been conceived as a space for research in the fields of writing and live arts. Nowadays, our “public face” is Our “versus” now is not “market/production”. We are much more focused on challenging artistic and academic disciplines and conventional thought based on “theory/practice” dichotomy.

Regarding the (clear) theoretical concepts. During the nineties some historians studied that period in Barcelona and produced seminal works that offer a complete overview of the scene in that city, and that help having a more or less complete idea of what is going on there nowadays. But, as far as I know, nobody has ever made a comprehensive historical approach to the contemporary scene in Madrid. And I think I am not too wrong if I say that “clear theoretical concepts” that could help us thinking about the context we live in, don’t exist, haven’t been produced or discussed yet. Probably, you are the first ones seriously trying to do that job!!! Maybe that’s why I am so enthusiastic and interested about your project.

I prefer using “dramaturgist” rather than “dramaturg” to name my work participating in creation processes. My case is unusual in the Spanish context because I actually was trained in the field of dramaturgy during my MA studies at NY University. It was in that time that I learned for the first time about the role of the “dramaturgist”.  But nowadays, I don’t believe that those “courses on dramaturgy” made me more “dramaturgist” than, for example, my studies in Art History. The figure of the dramaturgist is, somehow, special. I don’t think it would make much sense to define a specific curriculum in dramaturgy. Somehow, education in this peculiar field depends more on each one’s interests, desires, experiences, etc. and it is something that each individual has to trace along his/her career. There are many artists willing to incorporate dramaturgists in their creation process. At least I am regularly invited to collaborate in different projects and that makes me think that artists are aware of this possibility. Besides “dramaturgy” is something that can be applied to creation projects but also to other fields like visual arts, programming, cultural management etc. The field of work of dramaturgy is quite wide.

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interview || Juan Domínguez

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