Mercadillo LABshop: A Different way to create community

This last weekend a new edition of Mercadillo LABshop was celebrated at LABoral with the participation of fifty Asturian designers

Published: Jul 27, 2015

Por Montaña Hurtado Muñoz, Zapatos Rosas,@ZapatosRosas

Perhaps due to the fact that we live in a society based on appearance and looks, it seems that the figures of visitors to museums, sometimes exaggerated, have been obscured by the number of followers in different social networks. It seems that now, in the field of culture and museums, we have found the solution to the challenge of creating communities in our immediate environment through social influence, engagement, instagram and the hashtags. Results are still being measured in quantitative instead of qualitative way. However, reality is quite different. Some days ago, we read a piece of news about the museums in Barcelona receiveing three foreign visitors for every local visitor and, in the case of Museo Picasso, the proportion of Catalan visitors is two for every one hundred. The lack of connection with the context is complete, but unfortunately this is not something that happens only in Barcelona. It is a problem that affects a good number of Spanish museums. And taking into account the good work carried out online and on social platforms by Museo Picasso de Barcelona, it seems that it has nothing to do with the use of these tools.

As established in Article 6 of the Ethical Code of ICOM, they “must create suitable conditions to receive the support of communities(…), recognise their contributions and foster a harmonious relationship between them and the personnel of the museum”. It is obvious that social media contribute to creating these conditions, but it is necessary to develop initiatives both inside the museums and also taking the institution and its collection to the street or to the every day objects, to meet its nearest public. Although part of an advertising strategy, there are interesting campaigns like “Ven a darnos vida”, developed by Museo Nacional de Escultura de Valladolid and addressed basically to the local public, and other ones developed by the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao.

Something I like about LABoral is that some of its exhibitions are extended to the streets of Gijon. This was the case of the show “A screaming comes across the sky”, for example, where the artist James Bridle installed the shadow of a military drone MQ1 Predator near the marina of Gijon. This together with its clear interest for proposals based on new technologies make LABoral a special art centre, but there is more. Its philosophy is similar to what Nina Simon defines as a “participative institution”: A place where visitors can create, share and connect with others. FabLab Asturias, Digital Fabrication lab of LABoral, as well as the robotics camps for children, among other activities, show the will of LABoral to be a participative institution, something that can also be seen in its support to local production. In Spain there are very few venues with a clear international vocation that welcome the proposals of local artists, especially in video art.

It is also unusual to combine what we understand as “high culture” with popular culture and objects created, designed and self-produced by local designers, beyond the typical merchandising. A very good example is Mercadillo LABshop that takes place in LABoral since 2008 with three annual calls. Is an alternative and fresh way to create community around the centre and its proposals through creativity. But it is also a great occasion to see the proposals of the centre, in particular those developed in the production residencies.

Last weekend ther was a new edition of this flea market that, as usual, in summers takes the format of a summer party, with the participation of over fifty designers from the region that presented proposals of different kinds: From fashion to natural soaps, furniture, jewellery or illustrations. There were also activities like the sound action developed by María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde, winners of the last call Next Things 2015 of LABoral with their project Environment Dress, together with Coco Moya and Iván Cebrián, winners of the award LABJoven_Los Bragales with their project Menhir, or the presentation of the sound installation Algo fluorescente, developed by Roc Jiménez de Cisneros at the Sound LAB of LABoral.

The following call of this flea market will be in December. Until then you can follow its latest developments on the web page http://mercadillolabshop.net/blog/ and get to know better the participants.

 

 

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