The Activities Director of LABoral announces the core programme areas for next year

Benjamin Weil considers that the attraction of audiences is the first priority. The Centre of Art and Industrial Creation will open a room specifically dedicated to Asturian art. LABoral will pay special attention to sound as a creative form in 2012, by means of exhibitions, workshops and resident artist production programmes, with the L.E.V. Festival as its main anchor

Published: Oct 13, 2011
The Activities Director of LABoral announces the core programme areas for next year

A view of the exhibition 'Passages. Travels in Hyper-Space'. Photo: Elena de la Puente

The Activities Director of LABoral, Benjamin Weil, considers that the attraction of audiences is the foremost priority of the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation for next year. With this in mind, the Action Plan being mapped out for 2012, which will be submitted to the Board of Patrons of the Fundación La Laboral [La Laboral Foundation] for approval, seeks greater involvement and more active participation among visitors who are considered as the central focus and audience of all its activities, which are based on an integrated, interwoven and cross-cutting programme.

The redesign and adaptation of different spaces at the Art Centre forms part of this objective, in order to make them more accessible and to fully take advantage of the potential offered by the building, providing better access and understanding of the different proposals.

Extra support for user services and guided visits, along with a more dynamic approach in mediation programmes, are joined with new spaces, such as the Sala Nueva [New Room], specifically dedicated to Asturian art. With the idea of shining an unprecedented light on the richness of the creative scene in Asturias, the “Sala Nueva” in practice will imply the broadening of the successful series of exhibitions held in its Almacén Sur [South Warehouse] space and will offer an even larger venue to artists and cultural producers in the Principality to exhibit projects and performances.

Benjamin Weil points out that LABoral is working towards broadening its “foundations at a local level with the purpose of fostering dynamic relationships between the artistic and creative communities in Asturias and the rest of the world through collaborations with public and private entities in different regions in Spain and with other countries”.

LABoral will base all its activity and programming into three integrated and inter-related areas which are:

Dissemination, Production/Research and Interpretation.

Spreading information and sharing the work by artists and creators is an essential part of the DNA of LABoral. The contemporary art scene calls for new production and exchange strategies that artists find difficult to meet on their own. LABoral is going to reinforce its line of collaboration with artists and creators providing support, resources and professional infrastructures which allow them to develop their creative process in accordance with the present times. Through exhibitions, performances and presentations in which international artists will be present, the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation will provide access to the best in contemporary creativity for Asturians, the rest of Spain and the world.

Danza infinita [Infinite Dance] by Lorena Lozano, a work selected from the call for production grants by the Projects Office 2011, along with Hitos, ya nadie muere en casa [Milestones, no-one dies at home anymore] by Eduardo Guerra, which will be opened on Friday 14 October in the Sala de Columnas [Hall of Columns], are part of a support line for the creation of new works targeting Asturian artists. It is complemented with the call for the LABjoven_Experimenta Award, whose panel of judges will meet on Monday 17 October to reach a decision on the fifth edition.

The Art Centre will set up a Residency Programme for Young Curators from Spain or abroad. Linked to the Asturian Artist Archive of the Mediateca_Archivo [Media Libraries] at LABoral, and in collaboration with the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya-UOC [Open University of Catalonia], it provides a two-month stay for the chosen curators at the Centre. During this period, they will become familiar with the Asturian artistic scene and visit artists’ studios in the region to design and develop a curatorial concept which will be brought to fruition in an exhibition. In this way, public visibility will be given to the work by Asturian creators at the same time as encouraging their collaboration with other art professionals so that they have the opportunity to take their work to places outside of Asturias.

Sound as a creative form
Throughout 2012, the guiding thread of a large part of the activity at LABoral will be the exploration of sound as a creative form. Moving towards a closer collaboration between the Art Centre and the L.E.V. Festival -which will celebrate its sixth edition next year- an integrated programme will be drawn up and include exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies for the production of works and the development of special projects.

This is the case of Datamatics by the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda who designed a site-specific installation for the Sala de Proyectos [Projects Room]. It was inaugurated this year with the monumental installation Esculturas de luz [Light Sculptures], conceived by the British artist Anthony McCall for the opening of the Noches eléctricas [Electric Nights] exhibition, which can still be seen in the “Sala de Proyectos” room. Ikeda develops works in which image and sound are combined. His minimal aesthetics and extremely precise compositions have brought him great international recognition. Recently, he has exhibited his huge site-specific installations in Paris and New York.


The mapaSonoru project by LABoral and sound artist and phonographist Juanjo Palacios also fits within this scope. mapaSonoru creates a sound map of Asturias based on field recordings in many different places which geolocates the audio files on an interactive map.


Eclipse, which will be exhibited in the Mediateca Expandida space, is curated by the Asturian Médula Producciones and shows a selection of 50 music videos which, over the course of history, can be considered essential in the understanding of this discipline as an intersection between the visual arts and cultural industries.

The Activities Director of LABoral, Benjamin Weil, will be the curator, alongside the Asturian collective Fiumfoto, of the Arte Sonoro [Sound Art] exhibition. Through a series of works by Asturian and foreign artists, this display will explore the different artistic relationships between the k and visual fields.

New technologies have introduced different languages into our culture and have revolutionised the aesthetic product. Today’s art has been impacted by new technologies in just about every area. It is in this field where the convergence between Information and Communication Technologies and contemporary culture is most clearly shown.

These will be the main lines of work:

LABoral will join ranks with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to promote and develop the Digital Fabrication Laboratory opened last December at the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation. This project has benefitted from financial support by Alcoa. In addition, and by signing an agreement with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) -the promoter of the first digital production centre in Spain- the Centre of Art and Industrial Creation in Gijón will be incorporated into the World Network of Fab Labs. Currently there are around 50 laboratories with these characteristics in 23 countries in the world. The one at LABoral is a pioneering initiative in Spain, where there only three other centres.

fabLAB at LABoral is a space for research, training and production and provides the most advanced digital fabrication machinery for the creation of physical objects by means of digital processes, as well as facilitating the incorporation of communication technologies into these objects. Also, it offers advice, individual or collective production tools, courses and training workshops. fabLAB ASTURIAS is completed with the already-established Experimental Electronics and Software Laboratory (LABees), which is geared towards the development of artistic projects and industrial creation and involves elements of open electronics and free software. Its audiences are artists, architects, engineers, designers, businesses and universities.

As part of the call for projects for the strengthening of the Campus of International Excellence, the Ars: CEI_LAB proposal, jointly presented by the University of Oviedo and LABoral Centro de Arte, received a grant amounting to 78,000 euros from the Ministry of Education.

LABoral and the University of Oviedo will develop this project aimed at setting up a platform for collaboration and exchange in the fields of industrial creation and artistic development. Its goal is to foment new models that encourage the use of art as a means of spreading knowledge in society.

Next Things, a programme with Telefónica I+D
LABoral and Telefónica I+D, the research and development company of the Telefónica Group, have reached an agreement to develop over the course of next year 2012 joint actions and projects which are in the interests of the enrichment brought by cross-sectorial cooperation and exchange in achieving cultural, artistic and scientific objectives which both entities share. As well as establishing a residency programme for artists and researchers, an open call -Next Things, the First Art and Technology Global Challenge- will be launched and the initiatives selected from this will be those that propose innovative ideas combining art and technology based on the use of free/libre hardware tools.

The Art Centre offers itself as a classroom for knowledge on the latest trends in art and contemporary technological culture and industrial creation. It also acts as a didactic resource. To this end, children, young people, creators, artists, members of the educational community and the general public have placed at their disposal its workshops and activities which aim to promote a meeting ground for art, science, technology, society and education. All of these are conceived as a formula of initiation into art in our times and an inter-generational meeting point where the state of contemporary creation can be discovered, explored and discussed.

Postgraduate Programme with the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
This October the second edition of the Laboral-UOC Postgraduate in Arts, Digital Media and Popular Culture starts. Aware of the need for understanding more clearly and adapting to the changes and transformations in contemporary culture, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón, and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya [Open University of Catalonia] have jointly set up this postgraduate training programme with the aim of offering the necessary tools  for understanding and intervening in today’s culture from a multidisciplinary perspective and in connection with the major debates on an international scale in the fields of arts, humanities, communication and social sciences.

According to Benjamin Weil, this is just a preview of “a cross-cutting and multidisciplinary programme, directed at all audiences, who are presented with a variety of ways to get involved in the different lines of action -exhibitions, workshops, educational programmes and activities, including conferences, symposiums, debates-, all of which are ultimately aimed at sharing knowledge”.

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