Every state intervention in the organically grown reality of life in rural areas has consequences, some of these consequences are considered, some are not, some are desired, some are not. Anyone who feels responsible and wants to give rural areas an advantage is well advised to involve the population and keep an eye on their basic needs. For a long time, villages have been competing for the people and no longer the people for the villages. Anyone who attracts investors drives away social coexistence. Optimizing the economy and social interaction leads to a conflict of interests. The neo-liberal school of thought opts for economics and claims that social interaction is a side effect. It is not so.
Integration and participation lead to generalization, to the socialization of added value. This is contrary to the desire to accumulate profits in the hands of the few. Many rural villages have opted for industrial settlement or mass tourism. Both put a strain on natural resources and, due to their structure, cannot be sustainable. The sustainable added value for the local population is low. Instead of attracting capital, it is subjectively attracting more successful people. Subjective, because fewer and fewer people are available. Regarding refugee policy as a human resource to fill in gaps leads to outrageous collateral damage when the act of helping goes beyond the unorganized initiative of individuals. There are hard factors in a person’s choice of residence: food, security, work, space, mobility and their infrastructure. There are also soft factors: quality of life, culture, health, potential. Contemporary art is a companion to contemporary culture. Contemporary art shouldn’t claim to know the right answers either, but contemporary social art can make a contribution, and this is aimed directly at the local people.
Rural areas as a natural resource form the basis of every society. The idea of concentrating people in megacities, producing food artificially and reserving rural areas for the elite of a society does not seem sustainable. In a more and more online-based world, the permanent influx of young families with high cultural and economic potential will depend on soft factors. Anyone who invests in the satisfaction of their roommates today will automatically find new roommates. Nothing gets around faster than well-being. And word of that gets around, especially among those who make a difference in society.
The love of music and dance anchored in tradition, the rich culture and open commitment to this culture are a key to integration, but also to a necessary diversification. Just as in education, it is important in local politics to do little to damage people’s own intrinsic powers and to promote them wherever possible. This is exactly where contemporary art can make a contribution. She has long since emancipated herself from the elite and their desire for luxury. It strives for the creation of social space across the board, which is populated for the benefit of this very population. What can contemporary art do in a village like Cervera del Maestre… it can create social spaces for togetherness. It can stimulate in the areas of education, architecture and health.
Social art imparts knowledge in the areas of health, nutrition, medicinal herbs and alternative agriculture. But social art also creates barrier-free access and handling. Social art brings people of different nationalities together in groups. It provides this group with an identity-forming shared experience. Social art questions values, views and dogmas, reduces fear, creates serenity in dealing with the stranger. Social art optimizes social interaction. The prize arises from participation, it remains with the participant himself.
CASA del DRAGON regularly opens its doors to the public space. It invites the local population and it attracts people interested in culture from afar. Nationalities meet in the workshops and seminars. Some of the visitors return later, some of them forever. The Garden of Colors is the campus of the free university for informal education and a place for dance, theatre, music and culinary delights. He is connected to the cooperative, the school, the people of the village. But he is also connected to his visitors in recent years, and thus connected to all continents of the world. Social art transports a message internally and externally, the experience of individual happiness as part of a community.
This is our offer to the village of CERVERA del MAESTRE as well as for other villages with interest in the benefit of social contemporary art (PDF, 22KB).
If you can see social developments like the organization of education in a society as a NATURAL proces then you can apply the principles of nature to further development as well. Then:
Evolution instead of revolution. Niche occupation before displacement.
From the first it follows that in the end there is no legal way to further develop of an existing system. Due to the system, innovation is declared to be an illegal activity.
And second, the occupation of a niche that cannot be reached by the system is a prerequisite for gaining strength and energy in order to be able to displace old systems in the subsequent step.
Organized education is an instrument of power. It was founded around 800 AD by Charlemagne. The goal was to create a unified class of officials with similar qualification in reading, writing and calulating to govern such a large empire.
Every subsequent social group has repeatedly viewed this educational system as a stable guarantee of its own survival and, if necessary, realigned its educational goals in the short term.
Anyone who talks about alternative education systems today should ask themselves whether he want to gain or stabilize power, whether he simply want to siphon off money from elites in a niche, whether he want to realign educational goals (with the hubris of making them binding for everyone else too) or whether he then wants to say goodbye to the idea of organizing education in systems.
The strategy of the classic offers intends to focus on the educational content, but does not question the structure of the mediation. Anyone who withdraws access to their child must be tracked by the system. He does not question the educational content at a parents’ evening. He questions the system.
So it is first of all to define a niche as such and then to recognize one.
In a reorganized world there will be a tension between the will to virtualize and the access to matter. The relocation of educational offers into virtual spaces is a trend. But it is accompanied by the desire to get all human-machine interfaces under the skin.
The Internet of Things is becoming the Internet of Thoughts.
High infrastructure costs do not pay off in the area. So this niche will develop in an area of low population density. The niche will also be found far away from mineral resources or other systemically important resources (like traffic routes). Every instrument of power is subject to the laws of nature and also to the second law of thermodynamics. A consideration of the ROI for an investment will always lead to peripheral areas, which are not addressed in the first step. Niches will identify themselves as “too expensive” for the mainstream.
The escalation of violence to secure and expand power is also an escalation of the means chosen. Black powder is replaced by fact checkers.
Informal education is based on the natural needs of those who ask. These needs are difficult to predict. Nutrition seems to be becoming increasingly important.
Epicurus provoked the classical educational system of antiquity. Instead of erecting a new school building, he invited people to a garden. Instead of prescribing content, he created a space for the free flow of communication. Entering the room was linked to the acknowledgment of the principle of equality of the people who enter this room. The niche will therefore be a social space in which the analogue dialogue is geared towards the needs of the communication partners. The teacher becomes a space builder. The conductor becomes the stage technician.
People’s strong urge to externalize their thinking, because their own thinking costs so much energy, leads again and again to the formation of roles. These roles (like that of a teacher) are adorned with privileges and burdened with conditions and restrictions. Above all, they are associated with a clear mission statement. The exemption from the task of gathering food is a hallmark of roles in a clan.
Leadership, healing, jurisdiction, defense are assigned to systemically relevant roles. The niche will probably be characterized by the absence of roles… as well as the absence of rules.
Evolution is only recognized by those who remain behind.
The gift to the new generation will be expressed in a wish: please do not disturb.
After we had announced the first exhibition in the CASAdelDRAGON three and a half years earlier, and after more than a hundred people were already waiting in front of the door, it was time to put the lighting system installed the day before into operation. The test failed. The tension rose.
In the end a decision had to be made, the light wouldn’t go on in one room. So we improvised there. The guests didn’t care. They hardly noticed. All other rooms were bathed in bright and neutral light. It later turned out that several errors came together: you can’t really go troubleshooting with a defective bulb in a defective socket.
Antje, translator and interpreter and in Cologne also tour guide in her role… the first exhibition was very well attended. We were also very pleased that so many residents from the village had come by. Local connectivity is important and will remain so. The CASAdelDRAGON is a house for European culture – and thus also for the very local and very valuable culture.
Gabriella, the Sardinian, who, among other things, embellished the Aquarius at the entrance to the gallery with broken tiles, in her pleasant way of helping quietly in the second row, with the eye for what is important, with the strength of her Sardinian ancestors.
Visitors came to the opening from near and far. Half were from the village or the surrounding area, the other half came from more than 1000 km away. From the very beginning, the gallery was also a meeting place, the best prerequisite for bridging cultures, for understanding and respect.
On that day, two founders of Familiafeliz were standing together in the gallery and didn’t even know that they were both laying the seeds for everything that would arise in the years to come around the house of the dragon. The idea of maybe buying a rental house together in Cologne was not implemented, but the successful founding of our decentralized community was. Sometimes you can remember the moments, they are often small decisions, and yet they lead to great adventures.
Barbara Rombach, German-French glass artist, stands next to Jose Caldes, Antje Kalisch and Peter Buch. Along with Genevieve Girot, these were the first five representatives of European contemporary art whose works were exhibited under the title Amigos en el Arte 1.
The well-known painter and sculptor Jose Caldes spoke about the risks and opportunities of a contemporary art gallery in the region. Caldes was the first artist who was able to sell a work – on the day of the opening – to an English art lover and collector. Caldes passed away a few years ago after a long illness, his work is remembered, and his friendship, his noble nature.
There are those who are at the front of the stage, whether they like it or not. And there are those who make all this possible in the first place, through their patience, perseverance, their will to create something positive and their willingness to give. Antje is such a person. Always the real center, quiet, present, for the gallery, the house, the community. Thank you.
It is and has always been a challenge to keep the artist residency CASAdelDRAGON open for guests and activities. Decoupled from public funding, every action, no matter how small, is a big task. On the other hand, what has been and is being achieved under these circumstances is a success story and sustainable, since it is not dependent on political sensitivities or depends on the monetary drip of lobbyists.
The dragon’s house is a gallery and workroom and offers 17 beds. It is inhabited by people who come together to participate in a social sculpture. Art is one reason to come, another is health, education, politics or economics. At the beginning of 2020, the house also became a place of refuge, rest and meeting of people who had left in very compact Echo Chambers. CASAdelDRAGON as a place to meet, to build bridges and to approach, a place to experiment, with the option of failing and starting again.
Jo Pellenz is certainly one of the most important contemporary artists from the cathedral city of Cologne. He has visited the artists’ residence several times and left clear traces in the art and culture of the village of Cervera del Maestre. His magnificent installation in the Ermita Sant Sebastian with over 650 unique paper figures remains unforgotten.
The second building in the mountain village of Cervera del Maestre, which is dedicated to art, is called CASA PACHA MAMA. Inconspicuous in a small street in the middle of the village, it shows a facade with mosaic and sculpture. You have to be almost exactly in front of it to see this facade. It was inaugurated in the vuelta del Arte in 2009 with an installation by the Mexican artist Rosana Velasquez.
The CASAdelDRAGON is dedicated to social art. At the opening of the first exhibition, the artist Juan Petry asked his guests to write down words that they wanted to give the place as “good wishes” along the way.
More than 150 people from all over the world helped to rebuild the house. In over 20 years they have rebuilt a 750 year old stone house and filled it with life. In the preparations for the first exhibition after 20 years of construction, these two friends in the “Electronics inclination group” helped assemble the installation for the professional lighting system. The material (ERCO – rails and lights) comes from a former department store in Isalohn (Germany) and was only purchased 6 weeks before the opening of the exhibition.
It was always the declared goal to bring the activities of CASAdelDRAGON together with the people of the region. The builder David Sales, friend, companion of the Casa and specialist in old building materials, helped to prepare the rooms of the gallery.
The floors of the natural bulges of the back walls are laid with river stones from the RAMBLA CERVERA. Margret had helped collect these stones and contributed a lot to the fact that we were able to open the first exhibition on time, three and a half years after we announced this vernissage!
This is a detail from the construction period. The cable harnesses all lead to a junction box that brings together all the house electrics. Thanks to Björn, a Cologne street artist and electrician, this installation is still working today without any failures.
The photo shows today’s living room of the CASAdelDRAGON, today a meeting place. Since then, more than 2000 (!!) visitors have entered this room, students, pupils, artists, creative people from all over the world.
CASAdelDRAGON is also networked with other important art venues in the region. A friend and mentor in the field of sculpture is Peter Buch (left). His “Jardi de Peter” is an impressive destination for the region’s contemporary art.
All these photos – and another 100 – were shown together for the first time in an installation in the rocket club in Cologne’s southern part. This was a social art event, a personal celebration and a music and theater event with Dj Joachim (DREAMS Koblenz) and many guests.
These photos will also be published as part of the Artsurprise art project and as part of an installation in Colorgarden, the CASAdelDRAGON campus.
New artists are arriving in the color garden. Their smart take-over is welcome. Epicurs garden is a garden of education, a garden of art, a holistic approach, not to understand humans and nature as opposites but as unity in diversity. The garden experiences the great artists like Nora Valdez, who are active worldwide and give the project, the garden and the village of Cervera a sculpture. Likewise, the young artists come, the new generation of young people who will take over the power in a few years. The garden offers them a special kind of playground. They can try some handcraft activities and decide freely which activity they want to be part of, and with with fun. The garden as it is only offers space for development; it is up to the people to explore this space themselves and find out what is possible. The little and the smallest artists have no problem with that. They seize the opportunity directly and with full concentration. They watch others and do it. They observe, they try, they immerse themselves in the material and process. Doing things together is a space for them to develop. And they see the challenge as an opportunity.
The children stick colorful pieces on old ceramic plates from the ruins of the village Cervera dell Maestre. They are recycling valuable cultural assets. The ceramics come from houses from the last 500 years. There is a lot of energy in them, bound up in the manufacturing process. The reuse as an image carrier documents the respect for this material. This view is admittedly an adult view of things. But the natural handling and appreciation are immediately understood and adapted. And since the result, the altar of joy, will last a long time, there is also the chance of a return and a pause, to think about what happened back then, in the time of great change. The children’s hands immerse themselves in a 600-year history of the region and they build something that protrudes far into the future.
Dilan choosed an old wooden bean from the trash to give stability to the new roof. He carefully selects small natural stones that give the beam support and fix it in position.
Dilans work is a preparation for the upcoming next event in the color garden. Every family with kids is invited to join the event in the color garden. On the second weekend of construction work, the altar will be completed and inaugurated. Many small artists have announced themselves.
The color garden is a social art project. Contemporary art creates space for social interaction. The encounter with others becomes an encounter with oneself. The altar of joy stands at the entrance to the garden. It will attract the attention of the visitors. It will remind you of the creative young people and their time in this garden. And it will offer space for a pause, a moment of rest, and then move on and explore the garden.
At times when mothers begin to hoard food, there is often little time to think about grand life plans. When the unsuspecting humans begin to suspect something, morality disappears. When common values are disappearing into the history books, when fear is stoked, when language is confused, societies deteriorate. The tension rises, it discharges into violence. In anger, the creator finds the strength to set the new and sets the seed for its later decline as well.
The condition for avoiding the danger hides the actual intention. The question of how one is allowed to belong becomes more important than the question of what one might belong to. The appeal is for the common good, the individual has to step back, it is “proclaimed” again. No wonder that so many people are looking for new communities. Some find them in an alliance with the mainstream, others turn away and look for like-minded people in the off-space of society. After the industrial revolution comes the mental one. Who actually has the hubris to say it is the fourth?
Many communities promise protection, and so they join the chorus of carnival screamers who have salvation in their mouths and their own benefit in mind. Offering protection from nature is a monstrous self-overestimation of the people, paired with the desire to drive a wedge between the inhabitant and the habitat, which has to be filled with products. These products make sense. Rationing opens up new possibilities. The answer lies in dualism. As much as a person longs for community, he also desires individuality. Let’s do it together, then I’ll have more time for myself!
Familiafeliz as an open community offers a social space for individual happiness. The young people who enter the Color garden are breaking new ground. It is not the defined space of a training center, it is not the retreat of the do-gooders. It is a weak, flexible and open space in which the visitors dominate the action. Contradictions, disorganization and counterproductivity are indicators of the degree of freedom.
The children who visit the place deal with it self-consciously. They are aware of themselves. While the parents are still conceiving, negotiating and investigating, the young people have long been on their way, close to nature, close to the action. A Herakles who, under today’s circumstances, brings children into the world, accompanies and encourages them on their own path. It takes space and the understanding that it is easier to create and maintain this space together. The art camp in the garden of colors is such a place. And we are well advised not to pretend too much and to watch more where the journey will go.
Sometimes it is a place of searching, sometimes a place of finding. Sometimes it is a place of experience, sometimes of being. We hear Czech, French, Castellano and Catalan, English and German. In the mixture of cultures we can sense the new order. Our own socialization blocks our way to really recognize it, we cannot force it either. It will reveal, naturally.
Our ego searches for the truth, wants to do the right thing, exhausts itself in the justification. Even the recognition of the groundless justifies the action, and is communicated with regard to the algorithm: the reason for …
Carob was the oil of the Middle Ages, and in some ways it is likely to be the oil of the future. What used to drive donkey and horse carts is now valuable food. Alternative education is authentic if it is exemplified and can be accompanied. That is why CASAdelDRAGON invites parents to spend a cozy and effective morning collecting carob. At the end of the day we share the food we have brought with us and enjoy the social time together. If you are interested, please contact us directly.
This is a story about an exhibition in CASAdelDRAGON in 2020 and 2021, about a 49 year long friendship, about attention trafficing of yellowpress imperialism, about our tipping points in science, meaning and life. It is a story about the liberation from the paradise of ignorance and a story about the gift of love of letting go and the dignity of giving love without expectation.
Disclaimer: You need about 5 minutes to read this article, but a lifetime to experience it. Please ask your doctor or pharmacist about risks and side effects.
Las ultimas horas is the title of the running exhibition in CASAdelDRAGON, our community guest house, artist residence, think tank and experimental playground for social art projects. It is an exhibition with works from several international artists, all exhibited in the last 14 years in the art gallery in the basement. The exhibition is open for the public on saturdays and sundays from 10am to 2pm.
In the phase of the reconstruction of the CASAdelDRAGON we needed transport routes for heavy loads. For this purpose, openings were provided in the ceilings in order to transport the materials to higher levels. At the beginning of the expansion of the gallery, these transport routes could be closed.
But the history of this exhibition is also a reference to the birth of this place for art. More than 17 years ago we started to dissolve the material warehouse for the reconstruction of the CASAdelDRAGON and in 2007 we prepared the first exhibition opening in 5 months of hard labor. The photos in this article are from this time and remind us of the last hours before the entrance to the first vernissage. They tell the story of the “ultimas horas”, but also the story of all the people who made it possible for this social space to arise.
More than 200 people from many countries around the world had already helped to rebuild the CASAdelDRAGON. Some of these wonderful people had also agreed to help with the expansion, installation and preparation of the first exhibition in 2007. A very important person in the life of the builders of this social space was also there. And this article should also be about this woman who has been with us for so long.
In the expansion phase, we used relatively modern building materials. This was also due to the fact that ecological building materials and wood treatment methods were not available. In any case, we did not want to use toxic materials to protect wooden structures and at that time we decided on reinforced concrete as the load-bearing element. The closing of the last transport hole also marked a farewell to an era in which this 700-year-old house was being rebuilt.
When guests visit the gallery today, they cannot see what preparations were necessary to make this visit possible. Architecture makes history, but the focus is often on the surface of things, the building becomes a selfie for the builder, and sometimes also for the architect who plans it. The CASAdelDRAGON is a place to remember the construction workers and their own history. It is a place that was created through the social interaction of those involved, through the cooperation between the actors. And it is a place that connects the history of these helpers with the many generations before who built the place Cervera del Maestre from the ruins of a military fortress, and the CASAdelDragon as one of the houses of this place.
Nowadays philosophers wonder whether the real world still has a chance over the virtual world. The helpless attempt of the so-called mainstream media by media extension of the regulars’ tables in the television studio and the claim of opinion journalism for supervised non-thinking must be stunned to see how the young wild Youtubers pass by with their click rates. As viewing habits change, so do attention spans. When data becomes a commodity, the oil of this time, then distributing likes turns into a better pregnancy test. Imperialists have always exchanged glass pearls for gold, but never proved that either one is enough for establishing personal happiness. But whoever holds the glass pearls in their hands and reproaches or complains about the exchange, has probably not quite understood it.
The CASAdelDRAGON is also linked to Spanish history through the use of some building materials. The large wooden beam in the right photo was recovered from the beach of Vinaros after a violent storm. After that, it had waited twenty years for his appointment in the materials warehouse, the first floor, today’s gallery. It has found its place in a small store for the works of art that are not currently on view in exhibitions. There it spans an opening through which moisture can be released from the rocks behind the house. The beam is reminiscent of the Spanish Armada, its wood is naturally impregnated by salt water. The high camp is also a reference to local architecture. In the Middle Ages, the Florentine merchants kept their wool warehouses in high storages that were difficult to access; this architecture can still be found today in the nearby town of Morella. Just as merchants kept their fine wool for the fashion world of young Italy back then, we are now storing the artifacts from the many exhibitions in the CASAdelDRAGON in just such high storage.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was almost finished when the expansion of the gallery began. The just discovered teraquarks turn physics on its head, or on its feet, depending on how you see it. The scientific accompaniment of the narrative of the pandemic has raised the question in large parts of the population as to what knowledge was drawn there and for what purpose.
Just as dark energy and the vacuum catastrophe are affecting the current world view of physics, the academic world loses its footing when it entered the stage of politics. The simultaneity of contradicting theories as the basis for the acquisition of knowledge is the grail around which science should dance. When you enter the arena there are games and bread, but no space for discourse and contradiction. The only thing that counts is thumbs up or down. Anyone who reduces research results to fundraising becomes a dancing bear. Digital amnesia is longed for in the next few years. But whoever has forgotten cannot forgive either.
Applying plaster to the wall is a magical moment. Before that, the eye is caught by all the cracks, different colors, bumps and artifacts from water and electrical installations. The eye sees this unfinished for years. Then one day a miracle happened. The loosely piled up becomes a unit, the space becomes visible and tangible. The acoustics change. A dark tone becomes sound. A space is a body. Just as bacteria inhabit our intestines, we inhabit these spaces. The interaction between space and residents should not be underestimated.
We were just in our twenties when we made the decision to rebuild an old house in the mountains of eastern Spain. The young life wanted to gain space. This room should be the basis for the new life that the room works out in order to fill it with ideas, projects, dreams and wishes. The gain in space quickly turned into an expansion of knowledge. It was the realization that this space was not borne by the builders, there was no atlas that makes room for the biosphere, there were countless helpers and preparers, there was this 700-year-old history of this building, which was newly developed , from a new generation with new ideas, from a ragged troop of enthusiasts who celebrated what they did every day.
The house was known in the village as “Old Mary’s House”. At the beginning of the 19th century it would be inhabited by a family dedicated to the wine trade. The word Parras in the street name is a reminder of this. The old Maria saw the beginning of the renovation of the house herself and visited us regularly. Even with walking disabilities, it was her concern to see how the house was rebuilt. The old people in the village encouraged us to keep going. Life in the house also means life in the village. They proudly led tourists to the house of the dragon. And so we realized. It wasn’t our house, it was the house of the village and its residents and visitors, and even during the reconstruction phase it was a guest house for all the helpers. The dragon winding around the fireplace has given the house a new dedication. He is looking towards the center of Europe, to the northeast, and he knows why.
Our friend Jo was sitting in the kitchen and thinking about the lighting in the gallery.Sonia plastered a wall for the first time in her life. Juan erects a pillar to support an arch as part of a niche that will house fuse boxes and other electronics.
The preparations for the first exhibition were of a very fundamental nature. When rebuilding the house, we could not pay so much attention to the ground floor. It served as a warehouse for all the building materials. The CASAdelDRAGON consists of three separate buildings. The passage between the two larger parts has been completely rebuilt and also received a new lintel.
The professional production of the broken tiles, the further processing and the finish, in many places the hardworking helpers have left their manual traces.
Colorful mosaics are installed in many places in the house. The visitors begin to smile and if they stay longer, some hesitantly ask whether they could also make such a broken tile mosaic. The production is basically simple, the material science is clear. For some, the magic of contemplative action opens up. You sink into your flow and the hand finds the next piece without consciously thinking about it beforehand. Despite the urgency of the approaching date of the opening, there is room in the CASAdelDRAGON, especially for young people to experience this for themselves.
So it was ambitious to finish this arch. But it was also intended as a framework and stage to later present the art in an appropriate way.
Over the past 14 years, more than 40 exhibitions have taken place in the CASAdelDRAGON. The decision on the day of the first opening was made in mid-2003, about three and a half years earlier.
An event does not take place when everyone has finished. It takes place when the guests arrive.
When we spread the news that we were going to open a gallery in a village in the mountains of Castellon, away from the big metropolises or major sights, we were smiled at by some. It would certainly not pay off, we were prophesied. But of course it would be nice to have such a place of international art nearby. And it is a social place of encounter, with the culture, with the guests and artists, with the village, the landscape and with oneself. The power of the place can be felt. The walls seem to have recorded all the stories, conversations and encounters, keep them calm and slowly and steadily pass them on to new visitors. The building, as part of the village architecture, is a completely arched, classical, physical place. You can g**gle CASAdelDRAGON and find this and many other articles and photos, but you can only experience the atmosphere and the feeling if you come and visit this place.
Those who think differently these days can be assigned to two groups. There are those who are wrestling for the attention of the masses in the same virtual places. In the charm of the shaky smartphone videos, you get intoxicated by access, length of stay and screen time. But there are also others who seem to have withdrawn into private life, who stay quiet, not out of worry or fear, but because it corresponds to their nature. They practice patience and persist in their cause, they prepare for new guests and stay in the physical. They continue to orientate themselves towards real encounters, they draw their messages from the visible mouths of their counterparts. They keep their distance to injustice, violence and propaganda.
The gallery has many niches and corners in which material can be stored or objects of art can be displayed. And again the plaster creates the feeling for the room.
Just as medicine is currently soaring towards increasingly daring theories, so is physics, too, and biology will follow suit in the years to come. The established professional opinion assumed that the DNA ultimately determines all processes in the cell and thus the organism and, to a certain extent, its social interaction with similar species. What the mRNA represents for biologists, the quarks are in physics. The desire to be able to describe the phenomena of the world in a unified theory is the longing for the truth, the true, which can and should be considered safe. Defending established opinion stands in the way of knowledge. To paraphrase the philosopher Popper, there is certainty only in the proof of inaccuracy.
The gallery’s high storey is also getting valuable plastering. The floor of this art storage room was tiled by Oliver. He had already set up many exhibition stands in his life. His motto was: There is still something going on!
The plaster on the walls and ceilings of the gallery is based on marble dust, a waste product from the surrounding marble works. This dust is mixed with white cement and mineral paints. A light blue has been chosen for the ceilings. On the one hand, most visitors feel attracted by this color above them; on the other hand, this choice supports the color fastness of the works on display. The beige of the walls is reminiscent of the predominant stone of these old walls. The plaster has remained unchanged over the years, breathable and neutral with regard to the art on display.
In general, it can be observed in the sciences that computer-based simulation replaces field observation. To do this, the complexity of the issue has to be reduced, especially where no measured values can be incorporated. Many medical statements today are based on simulations. The economization of the sciences inevitably leads to a conflict of interests. Assumptions can become certainties in the interests of the sponsors. As in all belief systems, the high priests are trained who, because of their professionalism, preach the faith and do not tolerate contradiction. The objection outside of the subject is rejected as it is. The ranks of the elite in the certainty of their interpretive authority becomes a bulwark for those who think differently. All power emanates from the people, but it does not seem to return there. The educated elites have rarely shaped the citizens’ movements, their sons and daughters very much.
Old clay tiles found their place in this wall. We had pulled them out of the beach and collected them in many visits to the sea. It was a funny picture as we got out of the cars with construction buckets and beach mats in Vinaros. We found our treasures in the rubble. The old people watched us and knew what we were doing.
One thing is secretly doing good things. You lose energy. The other is to do good things under the eyes of witnesses. You might get energy. Maybe that’s why we invent the angels on their clouds as children. To be able to imagine that someone is looking at us when we are doing the good things is reassuring. For many people, the CASAdelDRAGON and its guests are eyewitnesses. Of course this is not a house of angels. But it likes to send energy to team up with those who do the good things. Many healing professions also do the good things to get rid of the pain of the past. They see their good as confirmation of their ability to overcome the evil. Those who visit the House of the Dragon learn quickly … these people will simply carry on their tragedies.
When people find that they feel balanced when they do the good or when they don’t do the good… then … and only then … their release begins. When they see they have to, they must, they are still locked in their story. Otherwise they give food to what there are working against. If people are sure that they have no reason … then they could let the good things happen around them.
Six days before the first exhibition opening, the floor of the gallery still looked like this. Many friends and neighbors from the village shook their heads and said we couldn’t possibly manage that: to finish and to open the gallery on time.
Creating a place of positive energy requires the donation of this energy. Sometimes more than 20 people were working in all the places in the house the last few days before the first opening. Back then, we cut the last few weeks, days and hours together in a photomontage. The original video is lost, but a remake with original photos has been published (“las ultimas horas“).
Like every construction site in life, the construction of the gallery was a logistical challenge. The place of the action was warehouse, workshop and construction site in one.
Just as the reconstruction of the CASAdelDRAGON was a joint effort over many years, the creation of the gallery is also thanks to teamwork. Leaders in particular often do not realize how little they can create on their own. The fragmentation of society, lamented by many, the promise of salvation in the individual approach, the dogmas of Western values have all contributed to anchoring people in their isolation. The natural experience of the physical, the manual work, they have given way to the screen time. The emptiness sets in when they meet for a beer and really they start only the z**m.
The stairs were built and used daily. The organic railing was built from reinforcement iron, rabbit wire, mortar and white tile adhesive.
The story of the building of the gallery was and remains the story of its builders. It was thanks to their dedication, their courage, and their perseverance that this work could be completed. There was tremendous power and strength in working together for the common goal. We experienced and enjoyed this time as a community. At this point in time there was still no talk of FamiliaFeliz. But the will to found our decentralized community seven years later was also borne by the memory of this time.
Six hours before the opening: Antje fills stones from the river bed into the showcases that are embedded in the floor.
These showcases offer a very unusual perspective on the works of art. And many people, standing unintentionally on the bulletproof glass became frightened and backed away immediately. But anyone who has this experience is burned by the appearance of the work of art insode the showcase… forever.
A power strip, a HQI spotlight, a test lamp (defective), the light does not come on – find the fault – one minute before “door open”.
Work continued until the last hour. A problem with the lighting installlation put into question the achievement of the goal in the last few minutes. More than 100 guests were already waiting in front of the door, curious what had become of this project, interested in the art and the view into another world.
The first exhibition had the title Amigos en Arte, this was to be followed by more under the same title. After a few minutes, the first work of art was sold to an English test pilot and art collector.
With the opening, three and a half years of preparation came to an end. Again it was time to say goodbye to an era and venture into the unknown of the new. A short while ago the sound of hammer and chisel could be heard, the groan of the cement mixer boomed through the empty rooms. Now it was dedicated to the voices of the visitors who turned their eyes to the art. A short while ago it was still the dust of the construction site in the mouth, now the palate enjoyed the champagne.
In 2020/2021 the gallery showed the exhibition las ultimas horas. It spans many of the exhibitions that have taken place in the gallery in the years since it first opened. The works of art are telling the story of the gallery. They are also telling the story of the artists who created them. The photos in this article are telling the story of the last hours before the first opening, and they are also telling the story of the helpers who made all this possible.
After reading this article, some may wonder what the connection is between the architectural history of a gallery, the creation of a social space, the experience of a temporary community in action for a common goal, the paradigm shift in the sciences, the agony of old and the dawn of the new media.
As always, the key lies in the human itself, and the memory of a particular person may help with that.
It is the boundless love for people, the respect and attention, the quiet but powerful work from the second row, what has distinguished people like Heide Brandt. She was able to give her communities a center, a point of reference in navigating their own lives. She was there for the others, and enough for herself. She endured, carried and contributed. She listened carefully, motivated and encouraged. She was a friend of contemporary and modern art, a collector of selected prints and drawings, she was a teacher for all of us. Heide had accompanied the reconstruction of the CASAdelDRAGON over the years, sometimes from a distance, sometimes on site. Of course, she was there in the last few hours before the first opening.
Heide passed away in early April of 2021. This article is dedicated to her.
Alternative living communities are currently receiving many inquiries from people who have voluntarily or involuntarily broken away from old relationships in their local sociaties. They are looking for inspiration and functional approaches to organize human coexistence in a new, different and more social way. As a community, we started Sunday Conversations and gather people online who want to join communities, who intend to start communities, and people who have had community experience and those who are currently in living in community. The focus is international, an important aspect is the necessary cooperation among the communities.