“At Swatch we love challenges, and with this project we have allowed ourselves to imagine what challenges and creative opportunities we will find in the coming years”, with this sentence welcomed Gonzalo de Cevallos, COO of Swatch Group International, the more than 70 local and international journalists accredited for the inauguration of the Swatch Cities festival, Madrid. The transformation of large cities and art as the driving force of this transformation in favor of social encounter were other ideas highlighted in his speech. “Our goal is to have a positive impact on both the young artists with whom we have been working for three months, and in the city,” he said.
In order to do so, as explained on stage by the creative director of the firm, Carlo Giordanetti, the festival has been structured around three major artistic disciplines: contemporary creation, music and urban art. Or, what is the same, there will be five different art installations —made by the 15 creative natives and their respective coaches— acoustic concerts every day before the doors closing —and a great concert on Friday 26th at the mythical Sala Ochoymedio— and a collaboration with the famous collective of urban artists Boa Mistura, who have been commissioned to make a giant mural that runs along the facade of the Mercado de San Cristóbal, which reads: “Life is movement”, in an action curated by Urvanity.
Another of the magical moments of the inauguration was when the guest speaker, curator Chus Martínez, took the floor. The director of the art institute of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel (Switzerland) delighted the audience with a talk about how emotion will gain weight in the cities of the future compared to the rational and fragmented conception imposed by modernity. “Urbanism and the viability of cities should think about everything that is organic. We should understand that cities are not places, but great behavioral exercises”, she said.
Her intervention gave way to another important milestone: the presentation of the five teams composed each of three creative natives and one creative coach. Each team spoke for a few minutes about the art show they have been working on together for the last three months. Topics such as the impact of screens on the architecture of the city or the colour as a metaphor for time in urban environments will be present at the interior of the Hub from Tuesday to Sunday. Coexisting in very good harmony with the architectural intervention that has made for the occasion the architecture studio Takk.
But not everything was about talking. The artist Miguel Moreno Mateos finished his on site work ‘Urban Skins’, an ephemeral creation in which he painted with sprays of earth brought from different parts of the Iberian Peninsula on cardboard taken from the garbage of the city. Moreno Mateos, who enjoyed an artist residency of six months at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, has consulted the official map of Madrid to analyze the differences in form between public use and private use areas. Then, as if it were a mosaic, he created templates with the different shapes and printed them on the cardboard in superposed layers: denser in the center and more scattered in the suburbs. “Until now, cities had been a reflection of the local culture, however, with the advent of globalization now they are the ones that condition and unify our culture. This work is about reflecting how we stand on the ground”, he explained.
And the surprises do not end here: Also presented a vinyl album produced by David Kano and Subterfuge Records recorded by the five bands that will perform in the framework of the festival… and a Swatch special watch made in collaboration with Boa Mistura in which one can read “Time only exists if you make it real”. And what better way to make it real than being part of an initiative like this. We will be waiting for you!