LABoral has launched a steady music programme aimed at providing a space for the creation and dissemination of the most current, experimental and peripheral musical trends.

Published: Feb 02, 2015

Black Mirror Festival/Image: Javier Bejarano

By Laura Cano (Via_di_uscita, La Caja Revuelta)

Over a decade ago, museums and art centres around the world have tried to open these institutions to the public, making them more accessible and connected with the community. From the educational departments, that started mainly in the 1980s, to the new departments of cultural activities, intermediation and dissemination, they are all focused on creating actions that support the transfer of contents to the citizens, providing them, not only with leisure, but also with discovery and learning.

Although this opening process is long and, in many cases, based on the trial and error of new strategies that improve the narratives delivered by museums and art centres to the community, in the case of complementary activities the experiences are successful and very promising.

All these changes were suggested first by the museological theory in the 1960s, and later based on the experience in the most significant institutions, which have encouraged the rest to follow this same path.

Now-a-days it is normal for museum institutions to offer a highly varied offer of activities. From the most usual like conferences or round tables, to the most daring like contemporary dance in the exhibition halls, theatre, circus, dj’s set and, of course, concerts.

The best-known and most visited museums in the world have a consolidated programme devoted to music or sound art. These programmes are offering not only master pieces that could be considered classical already, but also the most current and innovative proposals, or musics that are part of the contemporary imaginary, such as pop or rock.

New York City’s MET, with its programme Spectrum, has carried out several initiatives aimed at attracting young audiences to the museum. Panels or concerts that, taking advantage of the fan phenomenon, establish a dialogue between the artists and the public. A good example of this initiative is the concert that the singer and the multiple instrumentalist St Vicent gave on August 2011 in the hall of the museum that hosts the Temple of Dendur, where instead of feeling cohibited by the pieces, visitors had the opportunity to dance, have a drink and have fun, thus combining art and leisure.



Also Tate London is offering initiatives that bring music closer to the public. A good example was the show of the German electronic music band founded in 1970, Kraftwerk, where visitors had the chance to enjoy their 1981 LP Computer World live.



Following on this trend and completely in line with the goals of LABoral, the Art Centre has launched a steady programme of concerts: LABconciertos. In addition to the well-known LEV Festival, which I already wrote about on LABlog, that this year will celebrate its ninth edition, LABoral has decided to open to new types of publics interested in music advancements who, especially this year, will find at the Art Centre a perfect place for getting together, have a good time and discover new talents.

Black Mirror Festival/Image: Javier Bejarano

On February 21 the Black Mirror Festival will take place in the premises of LABoral, this festival was founded in 2013 and will be hosted by the Art Centre this year. Organised by Javier Bejarano, it will show the last trends in music and audiovisual creation at international level, although focusing on Asturian creation. The experimental sound and visual proposals

Entrance to the Black Mirror Festival is free of charge, so the idea is gather as much public as possible to take part in the activity of the institution, and enjoying the experimental and avant-garde sound and visual proposals that make use of technology as a creative tool.



This year’s bill is made up by Sara Galán, a graduate in fine arts and cellista, whose sound creation focuses on experimenting with improvising and digital media; Alfe (A letter For Elise) that combines noise with industrial sounds and dark ambient; and Elle Belga, a duet made up by the former guitar and front man of Manta Ray, José Luís García, and Fany Álvarez, that has already released three LPs with warm, dark and melancholic sounds where voices and melody play a main role, accompanied with guitars and samplers.

Sara Galán

The series Trashumancias will take place parallel to the festival, with the purpose of creating links with other Spanish art centres, exporting the festival and fostering the collaboration between artists, institutions and projects.


LABoral has also included in its residency programme the call for Asturian bands with the purpose of put the facilities and resources of the Art Centre at the service of the Asturian music scene and , in particular, to foster the use of new technologies, electronics and DIY in its sound creation, with the possibility to take part in the programme of the art centre, and get involved in the activities and projects of the institution, interacting at the same time with other artists and creative environments. This residency has already been completed by Arkanine, a band that combines post-rock influences with electronic music and has recently started a Xelar stay, a musical project that mixes minimalist sounds, ambient or concrete music, among others.

LABoral is supporting music, giving it the relevance it deserves in contemporary art and culture and promoting local creators. The public is invited to enjoy and take part in their initiatives.

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