interview || Javier Garcia Yagüe


Framework of the interview:



  • Sala teatro Cuarta Pared:
  • festival Escena Contemporanea:


topics / aspects of work:

critical cultural policies

  • providing space for work
  • creating the context

- You are the founder and director of Cuarta Pared, a venue and company. How did you set Sala teatro Cuarta Pered up – in legal and economic terms? What does it mean to be independent (in respect to public funds and market)?

- What is the role of Cuarta Pared at the Madrid scene? How does it, as a venue, function: open calls, renting, investing into productions…? Do you give preference to certain aesthetics, or what is the criterion for being accepted to work in Cuarta Pared?


critical practices related to the reflection

critical terms & concepts: research vs. training, reflection vs. production

You have research and educational lines among the activities of Cuarta Pared. What kind of education do you offer? How does your “ETC” research programme function? What is the importance of research in artistic work – in your view?

Can you explain your approach to research and education in the terms of: research vs. training and reflection vs. production?


criticality and/or alternative:

- Escena Contemporanea is ‘an alternative festival of performing arts’. Do you think that contemporary scene (contemporary art) should offer some alternatives to the traditional and mainstream art production? If yes, why, and what is the role of criticality in this?

- In which way Escena Contemporanea is critical and / or alternative – on the level of the subjects / themes or the aesthetics of performances, or on the level of the ways it presents and contextualizes the works, communicates with the local community, etc?


critical term ‘continuity’:

Continuity appears as one of the most prominent and persistent problems at the Madrid scene, thus making ‘the continuity’ a critical term. Cuarta Pared exists for already 25 years and Escena Contemporanea was initiated in 2002 and is still ongoing. How do you see the importance of continuity? And how do you achieve it?

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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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