An overview of digital art in Spain

Rosina Gómez-Baeza

Director of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón

Art, Science, Technology and Society: these are the four fundamentalpillars upon which rests banquete_nodos y redes [banquet_nodes andnets], the thirteenth exhibition presented by LABoral since its inaugurationmerely 14 months ago. That these four fundamentals are also thecornerstones underpinning our activities as an Art and Industrial CreationCentre is no coincidence. LAB was created in order bring art, design,culture, industry and economic development into alliance, as establishedfrom the start by the Project Mission that still guides our every step. Weare working to make LABoral a place for interaction and dialogue betweenart, new technologies and industrial creation. We understand that bycontinually fostering transversality between the most diverse forms ofartistic, technical and scientific expressions we will be able to contributeto the dissemination and use of new technological resources, therebyfacilitating interrelationships of the visual culture emerging today inAsturias, other communities in Spain and the widest range of countriesaround the world.These are interesting times in which we live, as is shown by the amplevariety of artistic expressions that this transversality potentiates.Technology has always been of use to art. As a living being, the idea of arthas evolved – just as science has done – spurred on by concrete political,social and cultural contexts. Art has always revealed itself as a way toobtain knowledge.banquete shows this most clearly by offering an overview, a penetratingX-Ray, of digital art in Spain today. With thirty artists and thirty-five artworks, curator Karin Ohlenschläger invites us to a profound exploration ofthat place where experiences and fields of knowledge open up, formconnections with one another and converge in the shared pattern of anetwork that currently characterises our global society.Collaboration and networking: these are the objectives that animate eachand every one of the programmes organised by LAB, as can be seen insome of the data that reflect our activity during the as yet brief existenceof the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial. Since March 2007, LAB hasorganised thirteen exhibitions featuring two hundred twenty-two art worksby three hundred ninety-two artists. We have had remarkable support incarrying out this task: the invaluable collaboration of twenty-fiveinternationally renowned curators. We have also established agreementsand collaborative efforts with one hundred museums, centres and culturalinstitutions around the world. In educational terms, we have organisedeight international symposia or conferences, thirty-one professional workshops and, lastly, twenty-three creation and didactic workshops,intended for young people and their families, in the assumption ourresponsibility as an educational centre for future generations. Our goal tobecome a Centre of Production translates today into the thirty-six artworks that we have produced. We will also be delving deeply into theresearch domain with upcoming launch of Creatic, a laboratory ofcreativity and innovation intended for university students. Our programmehas also included the celebration of highly successful concerts andfestivals, experimental sessions of video and dance and the bestowal ofawards intended to encourage the creation and development of newartistic projects.It is important to mention that none of this would have been possiblewithout the iron-clad support given to us by our Board of Patrons, to whomI would like to give my thanks for their involvement and support, allowingLAB to consolidate itself as a centre of international relevance in thedomain of new media art and industrial creation. We are also grateful forthe collaboration of the Spanish Government, through the Ministries ofCulture, of Industry, Tourism and Trade and of Foreign Affairs andCooperation.Of course, I also extend this gratitude and acknowledgement to SEACEXand Fundación Telefónica who, together with LAB, are producingbanquete_nodos y redes and, further, have made it possible for theexhibition to be shown from March to June 2009 in ZKM, Center for Artand Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. This cooperation clearly demonstratesour shared pledge to increase and consolidate the presence ofcontemporary Spanish creation in the international marketplace and is aclear sign of the importance of networking -which is also manifest in thesupport they give to us.