Riding the waves
Madrid — Radio
Madrid’s city hall has made headlines by reviving m21, a municipal radio station first launched in 1987 but silent since 2004. Mayor Manuela Carmena tasked a team of eight broadcasters and producers to reclaim the 88.6fm frequency. Their mission: to transmit the city’s cultural renaissance via politics-free programmes covering theatre, music and festivals, as well as specially produced radio plays – all while training a new generation of radio journalists. More than 200 students have already gone through the doors of the studio (located inside city hall) to fine-tune their production skills. “It’s a way of opening the city council doors to the cultural realm,” says m21 director Jacobo Rivero, “and informing but also conversing with our constituents.”
Fair watch: Chart Art
Copenhagen — Art
Now in its sixth edition, Chart Art Fair – coming to the Danish capital in September – is unique in its commitment to blurring the lines between art, architecture and design. “Combining these practices makes sense these days,” says director Nanna Hjortenberg. “The blending of all three is inherent to the Nordic way of life.” The showcase of leading Nordic galleries, from Oslo’s Golsa to Stockholm’s Belenius, includes an events programme and an architectural competition for Copenhagen students, as well as talks and concerts.
‘Cables’, Alice Anderson
A copper-tinted sculpture by the Anglo-French artist on the construction of memory.
‘Sinus’, Pearla Piago
Norwegian Piago has created a woven textile that can be played like an instrument.
‘Aegean Sea’, Malin Gabriella Nolin
An abstract, colourful rendition of the Mediterranean by the Swedish artist.
Buenos Aires — Print
Foldout magazine Mono (no, not a sister publication) is a new venture from the editorial team at RedAcción, the youngest newsroom in Argentina. Having left his job as editor in chief of national newspaper La Nación in 2017, Chani Guyot first set up RedAcción to combat information overload and give priority to a few well-reported stories. That same tight remit runs throughout Mono: each edition includes just five features.
Inspired by France’s Le1 and Spain’s El Dobladillo, the magazine’s format informs the content: when folded, issues look like a regular magazine; unfolded, they grow into a tabloid first and then a broadsheet. “Mono gives you back the pleasure of reading good journalism,” says Guyot.
Belgium — Library
Lofty ideals often come at the expense of real-world concerns but Utopia – a new library and academy for performing arts in the Belgian city of Aalst – aims to combine both. A ballet studio, teaching spaces and rehearsal rooms surround the main library, which features an 11-metre-high bookcase filled with titles donated by the town’s residents. Designed by Dutch firm Kaan Architecten, the building was engineered with ingenious acoustics to ensure minimal noise.
In this new feature we ask artists about a work they wish they’d thought of – or that they’d like to in the future.
For Carsten Höller, artworks are part human, in need of participants in order to be complete. His swirling slides, slowed-down swings, mazes of revolving doors and nightclub installations are all experiential pieces muddling the distance between artist and observer. A past as an entomologist informs Höller’s practice: as an artist he conceives his work like science experiments, with a dash of creative chaos thrown in.
At 56, Höller has already dreamed up the interactive artwork that would crown his oeuvre: a commune for ageing artists, “a friendship retirement resort” he’s named Facility. Old age, he believes, can be a time of renewed freedom. “We’d create a community of friends living and ageing together, and we’d want to do all the things that young people do. We’d want to take lots of psychedelic drugs.
“There have been many attempts to create different forms of living together communally,” adds Höller, referring to architect Paolo Soleri’s 1970 Arcosanti project in Arizona as a functional inspiration. “This would be different because it’s so small, we’re all friends and we wouldn’t be young when we start.” Facility would be an artists’ haven; a place where guests could learn from artists; and a new model for exhibitions, where residents’ creations would be shown together as an ever-growing installation.
Amusement parks, with their alternative norms of a “society within a society”, have spurred much of Höller’s work. He hopes building Facility in Portugal or Mexico would create a similar sort of self-contained reality. Höller imagines it being run according to a “patchwork” of opinions. “I don’t think there should be any rules,” he says. “It’ll be an old people’s anarchy home.”