Interior Landscape with Thruway: From Chullima to Zaza

/ 23 July, 2019

The possible depends to a great extent on the individual’s capacity to consider the territories and limits of his/her own horizons. Thus, the interpretation of the sociocultural and political context is given by a series of actions and emotional games of meaning; and it is our interior landscapes that are in charge of negotiating with this context the design of new realities. The Construction of the Possible is the title of the 13th Havana Biennial, which in this issue is projected towards the island’s interior landscapes; to the artistic environments of the provinces of Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río and Sancti Spíritus; including Zaza del Medio as a stop for the Viaje Infinito (Infinite Journey) sculpture and social landscape project by Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto.

But from his studio, known for its non-conventional work format, other landscapes were also being generated. With the Taller Chullima (Chullima Workshop) project doors were opened towards a collaborative methodology, for the search for novel projections within the language of the contemporary; the creative process was shown as the work it was, an essential piece of experimentation, thought and feedback of interdisciplinary factors. Chullima broke schemes by promoting as an occasional system the meeting, in one same space and time, of prominent creators, chefs, scientists, architects, designers, and curators, together with the barrio’s neighbors; through various artistic experiences that merged the intellectual exercise with the community, and made a fact of the possible.

Among the projects proposed by Taller Chullima was Jardines que no existen (Gardens that Don’t Exist). For more than a year Mexican architect Alberto Kalach (Mexico City, 1960), in collaboration with the Cuban Infraestudio architectural studio, reformulated the urban spaces of Havana (…) and they collected the material that for this occasion shaped a kind of interior micro garden using notes on ideas, maps, natural stones and zeolite, inside the workshop.

In the Paradox-Parade (Dadoredondo II) para-theatrical action, conceptual artist Cildo Meireles (Rio de Janeiro, 1948) offered his object world of constant critical interpretations; while theater director Joan Baixas (Barcelona, ​​1946) reworked it in a dramaturgical synthesis of absurdities and contradictions. (…) improvisation and performance led to the sensory experience of the audience, in a narrative parade of installations and gestures that alluded to the industrial past of the workshop, the nearby surroundings and their social problems. (…)

While all this was happening, the culinary arts also attracted the attention of the public, in the future of the workshop as a space of coexistence and cultural research in this field. With the Cocina Extendida (Extended Cuisine) platform, the presentation of renowned Cuban chefs was offered. Chef Sahily Romero Mauri, with the project La Bandeja (The Tray), explored the collective memory of those attending with delicious recipes (…). On the other hand, chef Rauli Basuka, with Cuba-Matrix-Grados, was interested in the ludic sense of the act of eating (…).

With the intention of moving the debate around the importance of curatorial practices, the Decir, Callar, Mostrar (Say, Quiet, Show) panel took place, made up by prestigious curators and critics who shared their concerns and opinions (…).

Wilfredo Prieto has spent seven years in an enriching collaborative learning process with the sculptural piece Viaje Infinito: a one-kilometer-long real-scale thruway, an overpass and the closed path in the form of an infinite symbol, which will be located in the vicinity of Zaza del Medio. It is the artist’s first project involving so many factors outside the artistic domain, with the inclusion of researchers from different branches of science and construction professionals. Therefore, it was essential to show that process of exchange with Art, and Taller Chullima turned out to be a kind of information and research center for the project. That is why the experiences were shared with some of the professionals involved, among them Dr. Fernando Martirena (Dir. CIDEM: Center for Research and Development of Structures and Materials of the Central University of Las Villas), who is currently developing the LC3[1] ecological cement, which due to its qualities will be used in the construction of the piece. Numerous topographical and environmental studies have been carried out for this project, which include the ecosystem of the area, the cultivation cycles and the implementation of methods for sustainable agriculture. The sketches, the scale model and the plans of what could be considered one of the largest sculptural works about to be carried out in Cuba were exhibited, due to the monumental nature of the proposal and the new sociocultural implications that the intervention of the landscape in that town would bring about.

(…) In Viaje Infinito new arguments enter, there are no minimums or opposites, and reality is transformed with the materialization of the unusual: a thruway without limits of possibilities. Beyond the semantic readings of the symbol, the fortunate references with the Land Art or the monumentality of the sculptural, the piece grows due to its collaborative implications, its community focus and its self-referential character. The artist settles a debt with the place where he was born and his local nature is exposed, an interior landscape in connection with his origins, with the place to which he will infinitely return.


[1] This material is an alternative to ordinary cement with demonstrated benefits for the environment, due to the considerable reduction of carbon emissions to the atmosphere and its low production costs.

Yaysis Ojeda Becerra

Yaysis Ojeda Becerra

(Santa Clara, 1977). Bachelor in Sociocultural Studies and Master in Latin American Culture by the Higher Institute of Arts (ISA). Curator, blogger, researcher and art critic. She is the author of the books El Aullido Infinito (Premio Memoria, 2012) and Prontuario de Arte Joven (Ediciones Sed de Belleza, 2013).

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