Long-term Connections 2011-2012
Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez focusing on the dissemination of book and reading culture.
To investigate the role played by cultural centres in rural areas against the current background of changing cultural, work and leisure behaviour
Banana Asylum, comprising Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi and Madeleine Hodge, both of whom are interested in the intersection between artistic and anthropological practice. Their working tools include performance, photography, video and performance art.
The Sociocultural Development Centre (SDC) of the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, located in Peñaranda de Bracamonte (Salamanca), currently carries out important work on disseminating culture. But it realises that the future is uncertain because of changing cultural, work and leisure behaviour that is basically occurring as the result of developments in and access to new technologies. Libraries, art galleries, auditoriums and classrooms are having to confront “cloud culture”, an increasingly widespread streaming culture. When the Peñaranda de Bracamonte SDC decided to undertake an improbable project, it had already been working in rural areas for 22 years, attempting to reconcile cultural consumption through the Internet with a physical meeting space.
Consequently, the improbable project was focused on investigating what role would be played by cultural centres in rural areas, as well as ascertaining what skills people managing these spaces should have.
Importance for the community
The project presented by the Banana Asylum artists was called "In the cloud" and was initially based on anthropological research on the nature and importance of the cultural centre for the people in the community.
The project set itself the aim of confronting the challenges posed today by cultural consumption and experimenting with new models of cultural, physical and virtual spaces. The collaboration between Conexiones improbables and Banana Asylum led to broader viewpoints – and also methodologies. Thus, a new approach was chosen that combined art, anthropology and technology, as well as the active involvement of the community in Salamanca.
A cultural centre for breathing
The team involved in the improbable project comprised 20 people and included professionals with academic training in philosophy, history, library and information science, education, fine arts, music, computers and technology, professionals with extensive experience in cultural programming, the promotion of reading and education.
The project led to a profound uneasiness in the team due to the challenge they were going to face. The concern was channelled through a process of slow innovation that led to its assimilation and resulted in various degrees of involvement and participation in the proposed activities. These activities helped to visualise the project and reveal very enriching individual contributions. It was a time for design and implementation, in which the community also became involved, both users and non-users, ultimately inviting them to connect to the cloud to converse, understand and create culture together.
The Sociocultural Development Centre is a cultural centre in transit that is already committed to becoming a centre for breathing. It has glimpsed what it wants to be and is defining the concepts that will describe it. In short, it is preparing to make the great leap.
Centros Culturales en la Niebla, a challenge to overcome.