A project from the feminist perspective for the Calle Topete community in Madrid
Selected project for the Imagina Madrid 2017 call for projects, Intermediae, Matadero, Madrid City Council.
“The Kiss” (Toxic Lesbian, 2017) is a work of public and cyberfeminist art which cultivates caring and the creation of community in Madrid’s Bellas Vistas neighbourhood as well as the symbolic redefinition of Calle Topete and its (cartographic and emotional) memories. The project is rooted in the participation of local residents and pays particular attention to female residents, in an analogue and virtual community-created project. Taking a feminist perspective, the piece’s foundation is an essential and often overlooked aspect of how human relationships which, at the same time, is symbolically one of being the key drivers of communities: women’s emotional narratives.
This initiative grew out of testimony from female residents in the Bellas Vistas neighbourhood about the problems in the area. Listening to them, they displayed strong convictions about rebuilding the community-based networks which had broken down over time as a way of restoring safety and quality of life in the area. This latent desire is conveyed by the project’s concrete initiatives. Over the course of several months, this collectively created project aims to find a deeper identity to personal relationships among neighbours. ‘The Kiss’ has been conceived to increase the symbolic and aesthetic visibility of these forms of relationship. The wish of the community to take part in this improvement and in the work already done by the neighbourhood associations are key opportunities used in the project’s design.
The methodology chosen is gender-based – generational, intercultural (intersectionality), focused on the role of women – protagonism and voice; considering critical lessons and working in networks.
Calle Topete, which plays host the greatest concentration of Dominicans anywhere in Europe, could become a symbol for the Tetuán district through values of citizen participation, coexistence and interculturality.
This artistry of this piece lies in its online design, observing intimate relationships of affection, romantic encounters, disaffection, conflict and intimacy from the gender perspective. The work seeks out personal and direct testimony giving a first person account of the hidden core of the description of amorous relationships, love as a laboratory of a new social order. These testimonies uncover personal relationships, nexuses and esteem for others, the emotional memory, encounters, putting a spotlight on all of the symbolically relational aspects of community. The key features of the stories do not display specific identities, they only reveal the internal workings of the social fabric for artistic purposes.
This work of netart is an aesthetic unipersonal experience which revolves iconically around its epicentre in Calle Topete. It is the substance of the communication and mediation that feed the work.
More specifically, it proposes a virtual itinerary through Madrid’s Calle Topete. Upon entering the work, and using the same functions and possibilities traditionally available on Google’s application, visitors control their movements by going forward, turning left or right, or looking upwards. The itinerary only allows visitors to enter and leave via the same street. As they move forward they hear the pre-recorded voices of the local female residents at short intervals. This is the core of the project. Portraits and images from from the memories of the street’s female inhabitants are also projected onto the virtual street.