• Sun Screen at Azkuna Zentroa

  • Media Facade at Etopia Center for Art and Technology. Artwork by Carmen Escario (II Media Facade Academy), picture by Julián Fallas

Looking back on the third Media Facade Academy: “The cooperation really enriched the format”

28.10.2018 by Hester Gersonius

Keywords: Azkuna Zentroa, Dortmunder U, Etopia Center for Art and Technology, Media Facade Academy, Sun Screen

Media Facade Academy is an intensive training program designed for artists, professionals and students from Spain interested in the skills, abilities and the framework needed to operate Etopia’s Media Facade. Since 2017 the program is part of smARTplaces, and this year Etopia joined forces with smARTplaces partners Azkuna Zentroa and the Dortmunder U. We sat down with Isabel Cebrián from Etopia, Barbara Epalza and Maite Arberas from Azkuna Zentroa to talk about the joint smARTplaces activity.

This year is the third edition of Media Facade Academy. Can you tell us more about the project?

Isabel: We started the project in 2014, around the same time the proposal for smARTplaces was written. We believed it was an activity that was easily translatable to other institutions, so we included it in the proposal. This is the second year that the activity is part of smARTplaces. The first edition was a local project, in which we focused on a technological training for artists. In the second and the third edition we also looked at how different artists work with big screens. We included masterclasses and a conference to give the participants an overview of different facades.

How did the cooperation with Azkuna Zentroa take shape?

Barbara: An expert jury selected three projects via an invitation open to the participants of the last edition of Media Facade Academy held in Etopia. Andrea Tolosa-Cotoré, Juan Dies and Víctor Solanas-Díaz created specifically works for the Sun Screen, a screen located in the main atrium of Azkuna Zentroa.  The artistic intervention in this specific framework was presented in a meeting held on October 10th and during 5 days the artistic works were displayed uninterruptedly on the Sun Screen.

The artists were very happy and grateful for the professional opportunity and for Azkuna Zentroa it was a pleasure to transform the Sun Screen and the main Atrium in a space for enjoying contemporary art. For the public it was also a great surprise, they usually pass through this entrance and in some cases they met this artistic intervention just by chance and we found interesting how the ambience changed with art creations.

What will happen for the next edition?

Isabel: What we have to do now is reflect on how to include the Dortmunder U. We have to think about the format. How can we integrate the concepts more?

Barbara: We also want to know how the audience perceives it. We are working on that with the smARTplaces research team. It’s something that can be done and it will be interesting to see it. In Azkuna Zentroa we work to promote art creation and emerging artists and this collaboration has this two ingredients so we find it can continue longer and can grow.

What was your biggest challenge and surprise?

Isabel: This was an activity that was conceived years ago. Being part of smARTplaces, that meant we had to work with a lot of stakeholders, since the activity is a partnership between Zaragoza City Council and Zaragoza City of Knowledge Foundation. Making them understand the scope, there were some fears the activity would change and if it would still be Etopia’s activity and represent the core values of it: training for artists and experimentation with formats. We managed to do that and did things that were unexpected, like A Date in the Future. The cooperation really enriched the format.

Barbara: The important thing here is that we have each others support, even when you don’t have all the control. The big surprise was seeing how it changed the atrium and how people reacted to it. On the meeting-presentation of the artworks It was an interesting introduction of history of media walls and was very surprising that it started from the Egyptians up till now.

Isabel: Media Facade Academy included a talk with film maker Adolf Winkelmann, the creator of the unique film installation for the huge media facade on the rooftop of Dortmunder U building. The students were so excited to talk to this artist. You spend a lot of time planning things, and when you see these people talking to each other, then you realize why you do these kind of projects.