Connective Tissue is structured around fifteen interconnected annual research seminars articulated by monthly sessions lasting approximately three hours. Their coordinators and initiators also make up a salient group of emerging researchers in their respective fields. They will define the schedule, lines of work and the objective of each seminar, with each one working independently and porously in welcoming participants on the Museo Reina Sofía’s Study Programme and encouraging their involvement.
The understanding of our era lies in recognising the central position of environmental issues to foster a debate which allows us to intervene in the present while also taking up a historical perspective. Consequently, from the point of view of ecological and energy humanities, we must ask questions around ties between colonialism, authoritarianism and fossil fuels within the context of the techno-political development of modern states and global capital. What relationships exist between different forms of modern power and energy regimes of industrial modernity? To what degree are energy alternatives to fossil modernity driving forward the transformation we require to tackle the ecological emergency? This seminar, conducted by Adrián Almazán (Carlos III University, Madrid), Alberto Berzosa (Autonomous University of Madrid), Julia Ramírez (Complutense University of Madrid) and Jaime Vindel (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC), reflects the Museo Reina Sofía’s collaboration with the Ecological Technics and Humanities research group from the Carlos III University in Madrid and with CSIC’s research project “Energy Humanities: Energy and Sociocultural Imaginaries Between the Industrial Revolution and Eco-social Crisis”.
Listening and Writing (The Girdle of the Ear)
Through his work as a poet and researcher on Reunión (Meeting) and the Movement for Language, Dani Zelko coordinates a workshop which pivots on two key aspects. On one side, he puts forward a series of critical practices to listen and write from an encounter with others, posing the questions: How do we listen? What do we do with what we listen to? Can experiments with language and political dreams feed into one another? And on the other, the reading of and conversation with different Latin American writings which tauten and feed into relationships between politics, language, spirituality and violence, critically crossing them with self- and shared intuitions, intentions and discomforts. lengua, espiritualidad y violencia, atravesándolas críticamente con intuiciones, intenciones e incomodidades propias y compartidas.
Conflict and Public Space
In collaboration with the Official MA in Architectural Communication (MAca) from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, propelled by the Hypermedia research group and through the work of Atxu Amman (Advanced Technical School of Architecture, Madrid), Rodrigo Delso (Polytechnic University of Madrid) and Antonio A. García (Complutense University of Madrid), this seminar sets out to think about public space from the Museo Reina Sofía. By way of the relationships established between bodies and territories, between architecture, urbanism and sociology, and between situations, interactions and conflicts, actions and methodologies developed democratically are put forward here. Furthermore, the seminar is linked to the work of the research group Sociología Ordinaria which, on 24 and 25 May 2024, will hold the encounter Sociología Ordinaria#12, the third of its kind, in the Museo Reina Sofía.
Black Iberian Studies
Curator and researcher Tania Safura Adam, the founder of Radio África and the España Negra (Black Spain) project, and anthropologist and documentary film-maker Aida Bueno Sarduy coordinate the second edition of this Black Studies Seminar. It constitutes a critical tool to reconceptualise history, heritage and memory, blurring the social imaginaries of Blackness in the Spanish State and questioning and fracturing its secular dehumanisation. The departure-point theory here considers how Blackness is part of Spain’s history, its cities, streets, archives and popular culture, yet information around it remains invisible. The non-existence of a critical and exhaustive debate around its existence in relation to Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas testifies to an amnesic collective and institutional memory when not complicit in racial capitalism and slave and colonial history. The sessions in this study group explore, in a multidisciplinary way, Black experiences and agency, tracing the inheritance of slavery, colonisation and immigration. They will address theoretical and daily questions, including the relationship between aesthetics and politics, forms of resistance, the structure and workings of cultural stereotypes, issues of cultural agency and the relationship between post-colonialism and feminisms, cultural hybridity and transcultural borrowings and appropriations.
Forms of Culture (Orientation: Looking Nowhere)
Coordinated by Pablo Jarauta (European Institute of Design), this group of researchers and designers raise questions about the relationship between experience and form from the fields of philosophy and design, the history of ideas and culture in the project. In the seminar’s second edition, its objective focuses on the development of experiential devices articulating concepts of orientation and disorientation as forms of culture, thereby seeking to build a propositional, projective reading which works as an anti-hegemonic strategy and methodology, and considering the gaze marked by the impression of transit, the dispersion of paths, the asymmetries of all routes and the mixing of customs and languages.
Humanities in Transition
As visions of the world that different cultures and societies have been evolving over time, the humanities link past, present and future in an open debate about the meanings of history, its perspectives and the unresolved conflicts between different languages and representations. Humanist institutions today, notably academia, museums and cultural centres, need to become multi-voiced places of open conversation between different society models and between the human species and other beings, both natural and artificial, with whom we share the world and co-exist on this planet. The seminar, mobilised by researchers Elisenda Ardèvol, Joan Fuster, Marina Garcés and María Íñigo from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, seeks to contribute to this exercise of responsibility and imagination and to become part of the activities the Museo organises in collaboration with the said museum.
Political Imagination (Futuring)
Following the study groups’ experience shaped around the activity Driving Evil Away within the context of the pandemic, researcher Nancy Garín and Linda Valdés put forward a space to raise questions around the political and sensitive importance of imaginaries as a place from which to articulate and maintain over time the political possibility of the commons. The goal is to “future”, as a verb; that is, to open expectations about what is to come, calling upon non-hegemonic images and epistemologies to challenge the imposition of a dystopian and cynical present based on the individual. To achieve this, creative methodologies, artistic practices and collective work, body politics, the union of feelings and ideas and the question around the image as a place of resistance and transformation are embraced, looking, from the present, to open a dialogue with other experiences of resistance, from both activism and art, which for a number of decades have sought to offer responses to our situation.
Language, Power and Capital
The conflictive intersections between language, institutions and speakers, with language as a common good in perpetual dispute, today represents a space of urgent knowledge. Thus, debates on nationalism, parties and symbols, disciplinary mechanisms, raciolinguistics, forms of democracy and neoliberal subjectivity form the core strands of this second edition of the seminar, led by Alberto Bruzos (Princeton University), Luisa Martín Rojo (Autonomous University of Madrid), Jorge Gaupp (Museo Reina Sofía) and Laura Villa (Autonomous University of Madrid). It stems from a collaboration developed between the Museo, the European research project Resisting Language Inequalities (ReDesLing) and the international centre of inter-disciplinary research MIRCo (Multilingualism, Discourse and Communication) from the Autonomous University of Madrid.
Memory and Forms
The modes and tools, languages, ideas and images in individually and collectively relating to the past are discussed from the field of memory studies. Formal, affective and corporeal continuities of past experiences in the present are the subject of a muti-voiced conversation of an aesthetic and political nature. Ethnographic, cultural and artistic knowledge co-exists with other less orthodox approaches in readings, discussions and practices, which are mobilised by Francisco Ferrándiz (Spain’s National Research Council, CSIC), Germán Labrador (Museo Reina Sofía/Princeton University), Jaume Peris (Universitat de València) and María Rosón (Complutense University of Madrid).
Artistic Research Practice
Miguel Errazu (National Council of Humanities, Science and Technology, from the Autonomous University of Madrid) and the independent artist and researcher Paloma Polo propel a space in which to discuss work strategies and customary methodological problems in the development of artistic research practices. Through questions engendering situated practices and militant research, they look to reflect on three complementary strands traversed by issues of incommensurability: work with communities to which the artist does not belong, work with archives from critical perspectives, and the construction of the relationship between spaces of production and places of exhibition.
Engaging with different guest curators and based on current exhibitions, both inside and outside the Museo, this seminar is centred on analysing, discussing and conversing around forms of contemporary curatorship, zooming in on its different aspects, from the research process to the set-up of space. Thus, the focus turns to its multiple conceptual, artistic, documentary, media and spatial elements in a seminar mobilised by Pablo Allepuz and Soledad Liaño, researchers and curators who work with the Museo Reina Sofía.
Directors and artists Cecilia Barriga and Isaías Griñolo foster film-format research that compromises the place and the individual and collective time of participants. The construction of film projects via situated observation, poetic work and archive research are at the root of this proposal, by dint of the inflections, deviations and juxtapositions of forms, images, works and stolen, documented and loaned sounds in a radical and located conception of the moving image.
Alberto García Aznar, Carolina Espinoza, Jorge Gaupp and Germán Labrador — associate researchers with the Museo Reina Sofía — encourage a space of reflection and accompaniment for the Resident Researchers on the Connective Tissue programme. They seek to build a joint conversation from which to address the questions and problems that arise in the different Research Matter seminars, and by way of methodologies of individual and collective work, practices and restitutions, this Proseminar represents a communication and development tool for the Resident Researchers’ different final projects, in addition to a laboratory in relation to their potential added developments.
Digital Projects and Wikipedia
Mobilised by Carolina Espinoza (Museo Reina Sofía/Wikimedia España), in conversation with different figures from free software movements, cyber democracy and technological democratisation, this space is set forth as a theoretical and practical laboratory of digital projects. In an environment of disinformation, characterised by culture wars, network privatisations and data engineering, it seeks to imagine forms, tools and procedures to build communities and autonomous subjectivities in network environments.
Rethinking the Museum (Institutional Practice and Mezzo-politics)
The museum, and in particular the art museum, has historically been a space of affirmation, certain kinds of narration, certain practices and practitioners, and so on. Yet far from its unequivocal operation, the museum is run in constituent ambivalence: between an organisation of hegemonic thought and a production space of other knowledge, multiple narratives and the experimentation of the commons, configuring a unique space of human and non-human co-existence. Thus, the museum device operates in a blurred but efficient framework of mezzo-politics, raising the questions: How does the institution abandon its affirmative place to work from interrogative frameworks? What institutional practice can be put forward in re-shaping the museum device, so determined historically and administratively? In short, can the museum evolve into a “sympoetic” organisation? Coordinated by Claudia Delso (Institut de Recerca Urbana de Barcelona) and Mabel Tapia (Museo Reina Sofía), the seminar questions the practice of the museum institution as an ideological and political device.