Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
An exhibition, a gym, a performance, a device, a rehearsal devised by Maite Borjabad and Common Accounts (Igor Bragado and Miles Gertler), featuring works by Faysal Altunbozar, Itziar Barrio, Ibiye Camp, Irati Inoriza and Mary Maggic.
From 7 July 2023 to 28 July 2024
Inauguration: 6 July at 7pm
In the context of the climate crisis, the human species is having to resort to adaptive practices that imply a radical reconfiguration of the body and everyday life. Used in biology to describe a species' capacity to adjust to climate change, the term “climate fitness” is being appropriated by popular culture to refer to the physical and mental preparation needed to face the possible catastrophic consequences of environmental collapse. This is the case put forward in the essay ‘Planet Fitness’ by Common Accounts (Igor Bragado and Miles Gertler), upon which this exhibition elaborates. From cosmetics that seek to protect the skin from the effects of pollution to communities of "survivors" undergoing training to withstand the potential collapse of society, to diets that enhance individual and planetary health, new forms of adaptability are being explored that imply a profound redefinition of the relationship between the body and its environment. Adaptability is not just an individual practice, but rather a tool with which to question the social and economic structures that have led us to the climate crisis in the first place. Therefore, any redefinition of adaptability cannot occur in a political and social vacuum.
Through the concept of “planetarity” coined by Gayatri Spivak, the post-colonial philosopher allows us to reformulate the relationship between the human and the natural world from an ecological perspective, that is at the same time intertwined with social justice and decolonial feminist thought, proposing ethical relational frameworks as alternatives to globalization. Under a global capitalist system, the planet is othered, as if belonging to a species of alterity, and therefore pertains to another system. Yet we inhabit it as if it were on loan to us. The notion of fitness serves in this project as a narrative activator in both senses of the word. On the one hand, by revealing the body as a socially and culturally constructed reality through fitness, understood as physical exercise, together with the training and culture that go with it. On the other hand, by recovering and situating the biology-based concept that defines the fitness of a species as its capacity to adapt to the environment to which it relates. Climate Fitness is thus a space in which to rehearse the weaving of narratives that link everything from the human body to the planet, and back again from the planet to the ecosystem. It is a space that allows us to address specific concerns like biopower and its intrinsic relationship between the body and labor, the construction of toxic masculinity and its performativity through fitness, the different uses of training as a mechanism designed to discipline the collective body, the historical interrelationship between the ambition to control the body and to dominate the natural environment, and new rituals of critical adaptability through contemporary reconsiderations of mythology.
In this exercise of redefining mechanisms of adaptation, interdependence relationships, and rituals in search of mutualistic bonds instead of extractive ones, the question of the limit of the human being is placed at the center. But then where is the limit of the human body and its consequence defined? Where does the human being cease to be a human being?, Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley describe how “human is an unstable category, even an unstable being. It is not a clearly defined biological organism with a particular form and set of capacities that collaborates in social networks to change things around it. On the contrary, it is defined by its diversity and plasticity - its own abilities. It is this very plasticity, the radical instability of the human, that is the basis of its massive impact. The more malleable and indeterminate the species, the more extreme the impact. In redesigning itself, it redesigns the planet”.
Resisting a complacent pessimism in declaring that the ecological emergency involves such a degree of systemic complexity that the self barely hasagency, Climate Fitness is a rehearsal of generative and proactive critical thinking that explores the diffuse and malleable limits of adaptive, mutant and symbiotic capacities. Operating from the interrelations and learnings of postmodern ecology, ecofeminist theories, biology and speculative fiction, this project embarks on activating and thinking from the many critical interactions that shape our world and the inter-species entanglements of which it is composed. Climate Fitness is an exhibition, a gym, a performance, a device, and a rehearsal. It is an encounter in constant evolution that invites us to decode ourselves to think of ourselves as a collective, to think of ourselves as individuals, to situate ourselves in the contemporary moment, and to re-situate ourselves in order to find agency: agency for change and planetary care. Clima Fitness offers an opportunity to consider the inexorable limits and flows between our body and the planet in which we live, in order to redefine them through an ethic of mutuality.
Climate Fitness is the inaugural exhibition that initiates and situates a multivocal program that will be developed through diverse formats and alliances, including open calls for video art and research projects, a seminar on critical studies, and a series of activations and conferences. Symbioses and the search for areas of contact between architecture and art has played a fundamental and cyclical role in Intermediae’s programs. With the inauguration of Climate Fitness, Intermediae continues its spatial activation of Nave 17, producing projects that expand the scope of architecture and using the Nave as a bridge, an alibi and a refuge in which to make room for art of a more social nature, while at the same time turning this hall at Matadero into a public space that institutionally defies a logic of speculation and entertainment. On this occasion, the idea is to provide space for urgent and complex reflection in order to generate alternative narratives or imaginaries in the context of the current social and environmental crisis.
Curated by Maite Borjabad, Climate Fitness is articulated by the spatial installation conceived by Common Accounts (Igor Bragado and Miles Gertler), elaborating on their essay ‘Planet Fitness’ (2019), and featuring works by Faysal Altunbozar, Itziar Barrio, Ibiye Camp, Irati Inoriza, Mary Maggic. Organized by Intermediae Matadero Madrid.
Andrea Muniáin was responsible for the spatial installation and Oscila Studio for the lighting design. The installation was produced by ArtWorks, the audiovisuals by Zenit Audio, and the works on display were installed by Ademobe Make . The project’s graphic identity was designed by Kiwi Bravo.
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