Benjamin Weil leaves the Activities Directorship of LABoral to join Centro Botín as Artistic Director

Weil, who will continue at the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón until the end of the year, sees this new stage as a professional challenge leaving behind a consolidated LABoral project

Published: Nov 06, 2013
Benjamin Weil leaves the Activities Directorship of LABoral to join Centro Botín as Artistic Director

Benjamin Weil will continue at LABoral until the end of 2013. Photo: LABoral/Sergio Redruello

Benjamin Weil will leave the Artistic Direction of LABoral to join the Artistic Direction of the Centro Botín [Botín Centre] in Santander from January 2014. Weil considers that this decision closes a very satisfactory cycle of his professional career and “poses an enormous challenge to be able to form part of the team that will start up the Cantabrian centre”.

In his opinion, after four and a half years at LABoral, with the past two years as the sole artistic director, the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón remains fully consolidated. “LABoral is a Centre which, in spite of the complicated situation faced by cultural institutions as a consequence of the economic crisis, is fully established. It is a very stable project which has a wide reach both nationally and internationally in the panorama of artistic creation and world contemporary culture”.

The team and the strategic plan

Weil will continue to be linked to LABoral - he was indeed in charge of designing the activities programme for 2014 and will continue collaborating in its development.  “We have worked hard to develop a project which is now very solid with highly qualified professionals forming its team which is one of its main assets”, said Benjamin Weil.

With Lucía García as Managing Director, and a staff of experienced professionals at the forefront of the different activity areas, LABoral will continue to carry out its Strategic Plan which has been adapted to current needs. In fact, in its beginnings in March 2007, with Rosina Gómez-Baeza as Managing Director, the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón was more focused on the presentation of leading exhibitions in the field of new media, whereas for the past two years, without abandoning this aspect, LABoral has become stronger as a nationally and internationally renowned centre for artistic production.

During the last two years, LABoral has presented a successful programme of exhibitions with the purpose of sharing contemporary culture with the citizens of Asturias and establishing the necessary channels so that it can also operate as a dissemination tool for the creative processes which take place during the artistic residencies. In addition, it has been underpinned by an innovative educational programme aimed at all audiences, expert and generalist, whose objective is that through its different activities participants are provided with the necessary tools to critically analyse the artistic and cultural productions and, even, facilitating pathways for them to become creators or content producers.

Similarly, an innovative project of Business Residencies has been launched, which is an initiative by LABoral in collaboration with the Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Gijón [the Gijón Science and Technology Park] aimed at exploring the benefits which, in different areas, may result from interdisciplinary collaborative work between art agents and the company, whose activities have traditionally followed separate paths, in such a way as to cause a real feedback of great benefit to innovation.

In accordance with the mandate of the new Strategic Plan, LABoral will continue developing this focus aimed at the production of new work based on national and international residencies, which have at their disposal the Centre’s human and technical resources, and which will produce works to be later presented in workshops, talks and exhibitions open to the public.

Another important aspect is the extension of the network of collaborations with other national and international centres and cultural institutions, as well as the evolution towards a financing model which allows for an increasing inclusion of private funds for the development of activities. Recent examples of this are the collaborations with Telefónica I+D for the Next Things call for proposals; with DKV Seguros for the open call for the DKV Seguros-Álvarez Margaride production grant; and the collaboration with SabadellHerrero and the Fundación Sabadell to coproduce exhibitions such as the recently opened Aprendiendo de las Cuencas [Learning from the Cuencas].

Additionally, through the Association of Friends LABoral established at the end of last August by a large group of professionals and members of Asturian civil society and presided by Luis Figaredo, LABoral will look for new funding sources at a time when the economic crisis is reducing contributions from administrative bodies to culture. LABoral has found vital support in this body in terms of attracting new visitors, obtaining resources and collaborations that consolidate the current lines of work at the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial and managing support to include new members and companies which consolidate and give future continuity to the LABoral project.

The Artistic Director of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (Gijón) since July 2009, Benjamin Weil graduated in 1989 from the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York. Between 2006 and 2008, he was the executive director of Artists’ Space in New York.

Between 2000 and 2006 he held the position of director of the Media Art Department at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). At the same time he carried out the duty of chief curator at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center (New York, 2003-2005) and collaborator in the Villette Numérique festival (Paris, 2004). Weil was also the artistic director of the HBOX project (2006-11), a programme of commissioned videos and a travelling exhibition produced by Hermès. During 2009 he was an invited professor at the Faculty of Visual Arts (IUAV) in Venice and he has also been advisor to the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte in Turin.

Public Competition for the Post
The Board of Trustees of the La Laboral Foundation which governs the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón will make an international announcement to fill the post with a new Activities Director in accordance with Statutes of LABoral and the Museum and Contemporary Art Centres Codes of Good Practice. The Activities Director will be selected by the Executive Committee, advised by a committee of international experts, following a process of public competition in which the merits, ability and project presented by the candidate will be evaluated.

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