Tono Carbajo will travel to Edinburgh to work in the surroundings of this uniquely located contemporary art gallery. Interview Room 11 is located in the heart of North Edinburgh’s complex regeneration landscape – where new high-rise housing rubs shoulders with post-industrial wasteland and 24-hour shopping. The gallery is inside the well-known Ocean Terminal shopping mall.
Ana González Chouciño
This exhibition is part of a project that Carbajo started several months ago in his native Spain: Conquer: Territories for Utopia. Carbajo’s project is a subversion and exploration of the processes and mechanisms of colonization, in particular the appropriation of territory. Since the first act of conquest is often the re-naming of any discovered territory, Tono has decided to rename Leith. It is the artist’s hope that by renaming this place he can appropriate it not for colonization but for transformation – to help us imagine a different, alternative, future.
Throughout history, by replacing original place-names, conquerors have appropriated what belonged to others. Thus, Carbajo renames Leith as the Republic of Teilh as the first step in his transformation of the beloved Northern region, now rumouredly home to over 10,000 local artists.
Tono’s first contact with the Republic of Tielh took place in Spain, in front of google maps. From the comfort of his desk chair he roamed far and wide, glimpsing exotic borderlands, abandoned territories and other neglected places that sparked his interest. Our contemporary artist explorer wandered in both (virtual) space and time, travelling as far back as 2008; bringing back with him some exquisite black and white paintings and a new map between reality and fiction: a utopia that we can be visited online.
He will repeat his walk when he arrives in Edinburgh, taking photos of the ‘microcosms’ he finds along the way – adding detail to our Ocean utopia as each day of his 5 day residency passes.
Other detail will be added in the form of relational sculptural interventions outside of the gallery. Carbajo plans to create small houses using construction materials from old Barcelonian buildings. On these houses, he will write people’s wishes: wishes that can’t be bought with money. These small houses will be placed around the shopping mall, creating a contrast between the fragile structure and the imposing building of the shopping mall. They are part of a healing ritual: we express our wishes as the first step to having them fulfilled. By naming them we activate reflection, desire, and will.
Once again, Carbajo creates a project wherein context is always at the forefront; both critical and poetic.
This project is supported by the Embassy of Spain, Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs.