Parallax

from June 22 to September 5, 2021

at Trafalgar 53, Barcelona

The word ‘parallax’ refers to the perceived difference in location of a star in the heavens depending on the position from which it is observed. Parallax is a project that arose from a process of collaboration and conversation between Noela Covelo Velasco, Alejandro Palacín, Victor Ruiz Colomer, and the curator Marta Sesé. Employing Dilalica’s ever in progress exhibition space as its context, the project reflects the very idea of process, and the opening will expand and change over various moments during the next few months according to the needs and possibilities inherent in each of the various artworks.

The group of pieces and activities interrogate various research ideas: a site-specific use of the space that invites a different gallery experience; a look at the history of the street where Dilalica is located; a focus on making use of readily available resources; and a marked interest in discovering ways to ensure activities reach unexpected, nearby audiences. The project is influenced in various ways by ideas of ambiguity, a certain resistance to the canonical idea of an exhibition understood as a display of results, and an alteration of the symbolic values typically associated with art.

The sound installation Programación del arranque by Noela Covelo Velasco is based on the 19th-century demolition of Barcelona’s medieval wall, part of which took place on what is now Trafalgar street. This demolition permitted the city’s expansion and successful industrialization. Since then, Trafalgar street has reflected the urbanistic changes aligned with various phases of capitalism. Covelo Velasco’s sound installation is structured as a theatrical narrative made up of three acts: financial hubs, the author and composer Josep Anselm Clavé, and free trade zones. Shepard tones, cycles of continuously swelling sounds, along with other sounds marking the hours as a working rhythm, represent the financial hub. Renditions of La Maquinista and Els xiquets de Valls, both composed by Anselm Clavé, reference the workers’ choirs the composer organized in the latter half of the 19th century as a way to bring culture to the working class. These songs play both inside and outside of the exhibition space through a megaphone located on the street. Finally, the free trade zone is represented by bodyshakers, a kind of vibrating membrane used by gamers, installed inside the gallery’s columns, generating jolts and vibrations.

Victor Ruiz Colomer offers us Por momentos eficiencia, an installation/workspace that produces papers by recycling the wastepaper of the gallery itself. The installation is composed of several benches, boxes of tools, and a drying rack, most of which are found or recycled materials. They will be activated by the artist himself during various moments of the exhibition to produce the Primeros cancioneros—papers containing the scores of Covelo Velasco’s songs, whose shape evokes the sonorous structure of the Shepard tone—and the posters and brochures, which the artist will distribute to local businesses, announcing the various activities programmed for the exhibition.

Ambiguity and resistance to losing usefulness are features of Alejandro Palacín’s three Ecos de silla. Three groupings of chairs are piled up in different ways, piles referencing the optimization associated with capitalist distribution. Palacín trims the legs of the three groupings so that they all have the height of a single chair. The groupings can be spread out to serve the various needs of the programmed activities, and when spread out take on, once again, shapes reminiscent of the structure of the Shepard tone. At the same time, the piled-up chairs dialogue with the sound columns created by Noela Covelo Velasco —receiving and transmitting their vibration—and with the installation by Victor Ruiz Colomer, as they allow those using the paper shredder to sit down. The cut-off legs, instead of becoming trash, are converted into small sculptural elements that contrast with the idea of nonappearance that the chairs play with.