In the United States the jackalope is an animal born from the crossing of a hare and an antelope. It looks like a rabbit with horns and a lot of fantastic literature. They say that they have a great ability to imitate sounds and that they are difficult to see, even though in 2013 they slip into one of the postcards that commissioner Gema Melgar brought with her from a trip through California and Death Valley. At that time I was already working as the coordinator of the Matadero Madrid program, where she continues, and I did not know that this image would take her years later, and together with the curator Cristina Anglada, she is also one of the most flexible, open and free independent projects. of the current art scene: This is Jackalope.
Both met in the Master of Contemporary Art of the Reina Sofía Museum, but explain that a trip to Berlin in 2016, to see the biennial, triggered everything. It was the post-biennial biennial and the post-Internet that the DIS collective signed, based on that idea of the future that has to do with the affections and not with time, and how well they turned in their first project: Verbicovisual Fictions. It was an exhibition that started from the book Uncreative Writing, by Kenneth Goldsmith, and questioned, like this one, the multiple possibilities of language, writing and text when talking about tomorrow. A look at the immediate future that has become, two years later, one of its hallmarks. The others have to do with removing prejudices and working from enjoyment, two things that we take for granted when we talk about art but we rarely see it work together. That's This is Jackalope: a compliment to the pause to think and a call to desire to maneuver. In this small curatorial team, times are not marked but a mental space where sensory, irrational and intuitive coexist. Far from filling gaps, what Gema Melgar and Cristina Anglada do is to work to open new cracks in which to relate worlds, a priori, incompatible. Or what is the same, put into dialogue areas of zero distance creation.
Among their projects there is a paper and bilingual publication that they publish annually. Also the edition of serialized work looking for a more affordable collection, like the one they already work with Elena Alonso, and curated like the one they just inaugurated by Manuel Fernández in Hub27, in one of the most emblematic buildings of Gran Vía. Although there are something that stands out among his latest projects is the staging of Love Prologue: botanist, together with Amor Proyectos, in the Villanueva Pavilion of the Botanical Garden of Madrid. They talk about the museum as a public space and the Botanical Garden as a backdrop. Also of a mental space where bodies in movement, music and voice are beyond reason. But, above all, of a society of artistic intensities. We enter it to know more details.
Why are spheres of interest within culture worlds so separated from each other?
Actually, we think that today more and more are intermingled in a natural way. The separation so rigid by disciplines is obsolete and we like to think in terms of intensity, by Paul B. Preciado, which makes the approach to the categorization of artistic practices more flexible.
Your position is local but your vocation, international.
We come from working years out of Spain, Cristina in Berlin and Gema in Liverpool, and when we returned to Madrid we realized that relationships and exchanges in the so-called "art world" naturally arise with people from all over.
Let's talk about money. How do you finance the project?
During the first year, the start-up was financed by us. Later we have sales revenue from the first publication and edition, and fees received by curators or project management. In the case of the annual print publication, we have had private financing from Amor Editions for the last issue, which has made it possible to improve the quality of the printing a lot.
What place does the criticism occupy in your publication?
We edit the publication from year to year and this temporality marks the type of critical texts that we include. It would not make sense to incorporate criticism of exhibitions, for example, but we do want to give space to critical articles on topics that are being debated in the cultural and artistic context of the moment. On the other hand, the critique is going through a period of crisis that, in some way, could be translated instead. A rethinking is necessary.
Tell us about these latent themes.
Today there is an excess of hypertextuality that makes everything become a terrain of dislocation, chaos and confusion. This is where the topics that we are interested in researching, language and text, the relationship between art and technology, collaborative practices, new methodologies of education and learning, inter / transdisciplinary …
Is work in precarious art?
In our case, we were always clear about the importance of private financing and the value of patronage in the development of certain cultural projects like ours.
What is the space of art?
We claim the one that is ephemeral, the temporary encounter where that happens. Where the encounter is facilitated, the conversation.
As managers, what would be the ideal management of culture?
One based on dialogue, transparency, honesty, efficiency, mutual respect and flexibility.