Orientation trips
The Mondriaan Fund organises orientation trips for visual artists and mediators to Asia, Latin America and Africa since 2004. The trips are aimed at exchange and cooperation between visual art professionals.

Our program in Medellin started with presentations of eight artist run initiatives in Casa Tres Patios. This contemporary art center not only hosts exhibitions and a residency program, it also organizes workshops and supports research. It started 10 years ago with a residency program focussing on bringing students and international artists in touch with each other. The program is located in a family house and includes an exhibition space, a project space in the front and a workshop ran by Un/Locker. Next to this location Casa Tres Patios is represented in various areas of the city.

The main exhibition ‘La Union Hace La Fuerza’ was curated by an artist collective from Bogotá: El Sanatorio. It was founded in 2010 by Sergio Ferro, Nicolas Chacon (who is currently in residency at Casa Tres Patios) and Juan Arias. Through the organization of ceramics workshops they make their own organization self-sustainable. El Sanatoria also collaborates with an institution for young girls in which ceramic is used as a way to communicate.

Presentations were held by El Puente Lab, Por Estos Dias, Proyectos NN, Platohedro, Epicentro and Un/Locker. All these initiatives work strongly in the communities where they have their base, providing ideas (and sometimes concrete solutions) for urgent societal issues. El Puenta Lab for example works in the community of Moravia, more specifically with the children of the neighborhood. Also Platohedro works with children and developed throughout the years an advanced program of educational projects.

Another organization with an interesting program was Por Estos Dias. This artist run initiative takes place in the neighbourhood of Belen and exists out of a group of visual artists, illustrators, architects, designers and a cultural manager. The aim of this organisation is to create a meeting point between the inhabitants of the neighbourhood and the artists. They do so by organizing experimental events and projects such as the ‘Cenas Suggestivas’ and ‘Versus’.

These suggestive dinners are departing from the topics of which talks are held. Next to a lecturer Por Estos Dias also invites a cook who creates recipies inspired by the same theme of the lecture. The program ‘versus’ invites two persons to show how something is made, own in their own way. This program offers a critical manual for the production of things, each time performatively presenting the fact that there is more than one way to get to your goal. A documentation center and a CinéClub on Wednesday and Thursday makes Por Estos Dias a very dynamic place, supported by the neighbourhood. When there were plans to move out of the neighbourhood, the community of Belen unanimously declared they wanted to keep the artist initiative.

After these presentations we went for diner, where the Saturday night slowly overtook our group for the final part of todays program: the performance of Dick El Demasiado in Club Transfusion. Like Casa Tres Patios and Por Estos Dias, Club Transfusion is located in a family house that once belonged to the grandfather of the owner. Now it is an underground nightclub where the shot maison is a mixture between vodka and blue Curacao, and the stage is decorated with black and white distortion lines.

Dick El Demasiado is the alter ego of Dutch writer, artist, filmmaker and musician Dick Verdult, who has been traveling Latin America in the last ten years. A performance of Dick El Demasiado is an interstellar travel with Columbian Cumbia as its vessel. The combination of cumbia with electronic noise and industrial influences created a very idiosyncratic musical language that touched both the Columbian crowd as the Swiss, German, Dutch, Italian and Belgian participants of the orientation trip. Especially ‘Buho Sin Rato‘ touched a nerve and seemed to bring the best of two worlds together. The Dj after the performance introduced us into the a course of advanced electronic cumbia, who will stay with us long after this trip.

Here more information on Dick El Demasiado in Vice Magazine.

Alan Quireyns