Epiphyte is a project, nurtured by the cultural association Side Thinkers and directed by Vanesa Viloria, which investigates new forms of facing the eco-social crisis by observing the plant world as a way to learn of other ways of life, community and future. On this occasion, the Museo Reina Sofía welcomes Pollinating (Con)tact, a programme structured around two artistic proposals and two conversations with agents and professionals linked to environmental humanities, artistic creation, science and climate activism.
Starting from the hybridisation of languages and disciplines, this activity seeks to move beyond the hegemony of academic language as a medium to transmit knowledge, shining a light on other narratives such as fiction and poetry and focusing on the senses.
Bioinspiration and Politics and Poetics of the Future, the subtitle to the activity, foregrounds the pillars with which the activity is built. The first is bioinspiration, related to how, through listening and being mindful of our environment, we can open up new imaginaries and find antidotes to the stages of collapse. This is followed by politics and poetics of the future: two interwoven and co-dependent terms because, bearing in mind the new landscapes of future desolation, there is a need to invent new narratives that flow beyond their roles and move into gestures, actions and delicacy, using the words of poet and vet María Sánchez. In the political gesture, as in the poetic gesture, simplicity is perhaps the most complex articulation. The most powerful and challenging aspects when observing the future is the desire to break down the discourse of survival to reach a liveable life.
The order of the different activities that configure this programme are fastened together as an immersive passage, a fluctuation of “from outside to inside language” and vice versa. Thus, the approach entails playing with the very logics of the narrative, where the native territories of three acts — beginning, middle, end — are eroded to make way for oscillating temporalities with which to look at, from different perspectives, different notions and future possibilities that lie in wait.
Clara Brea develops her work at the intersections of sound art, phonography and electronic music. Her interest in field recordings stems from the impulse to link her music practice to environmental and social issues, using the acoustic environment as a tool to transmit her concerns and affects with the world that surrounds us. She has participated at events such as CALMA, Eufònic and DC Listening Lounge, and has been artist-in-residence at Matadero Madrid.
Paco Calvo lectures in Logic and the Philosophy of Science and directs the Minimal Intelligence Lab (MINT Lab) at the University of Murcia. His research interests broadly span cognitive science, particularly plant intelligence, ecological psychology and situated cognitive science. Moreover, he has collaborated with the Office of Naval Research in the USA, researching sources of plant inspiration for robotics and artificial intelligence.
Malú Cayetano is a landscape architect who works on different projects related to the social transformation of habitat, urban regeneration, ecological restoration and artistic and cultural production. She employs participatory methodologies and formulas to activate public commitment by making visible natural processes in urban contexts. Furthermore, her interests centre on debates around people’s position in relation to the biosphere and the capacity of artistic practices as mediators between citizens, ecology and territory.
Elena Lavellés is a visual artist, film-maker and researcher. Her theoretical research work and fieldwork explore correlations between social strata and geological layers. She has been part of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (New York) and has received different awards, grants and international residencies. Furthermore, she has participated in solo and group exhibitions at MeetFactory (Prague), CalArts (Los Angeles), Museo Alberto Mena Camaño (Quito), the Institute of Contemporary Arts of Singapore (Singapore), Centro Cultural de España en México and Matadero Madrid.
Raquel G. Ibáñez is an artist and curator with an interest in thresholds and/or liminal spaces, and sound as a form of writing or dismantling the word, and its confrontation with the visual image. She is the co-founder of the collective El Banquete and the music platform Possible Others, and is currently a resident at Matadero Madrid as a member of the study group Una fiesta salvaje. She has also developed projects for Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M), Azkuna Zentroa, La Casa Encendida, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), TEA Tenerife, Hangar and hablarenarte.
Ainhoa Hernández Escudero is a choreographer who is part of the Twins Experiment collective and the curatorial project Saliva. She has shown her work at Frascati Amsterdam, Come Together, Bâtard Festival in Brussels, La Casa Encendida, Gessnerallee Zürich, Museo del Chopo, Espai nyamnyam and La Caldera, and has received the 3Package Deal of the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst Prize (AFK) in the Dance category, and the support of the International Choreographic Arts Centre (ICK), Fonds Podiumkunsten / Balkonscènes, CA2M, Injuve and Centro Coreográfico Canal.
Alejandro Rivero Vadillo studied Modern Languages, Translation and English Studies at the University of Alcalá, and is also a researcher at Instituto Franklin, part of the same university. Furthermore, he is assistant editor at the magazine Ecozon@, a member of Grupo de Investigación en Ecocrítica and the Laboratorio de Estudios del Futuro. His work approaches post-humanist philosophy and thought around ecology and technology reflected in literature, music and film.
Emilio Santiago Muiño holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and is a scientist in the Institute of Language, Literature and Anthropology at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). He also researches the anthropology of the climate crisis. From 2016 to 2019, he was technical director of the Environment at Móstoles Town Council. He has lectured at the Autonomous University of Madrid, the University of Zaragoza and on the Independent Studies Programme at MACBA, and currently co-directs, with Jaime Vindel, the research project Humanidades Energéticas (Energy Humanities).
Vanesa Viloria is a cultural manager and curator with an interest in urban commons, collective creation and self-representation and their power to dismantle hegemonic mechanisms. She has worked at Matadero Madrid and the COTEC Foundation for Innovation. She directed Side Thinkers since its founding, up until her recent role as a cultural policy advisor. Currently, her concerns are related to cultural ecology and the right to culture.