Tindaya: the cosmopolitics of a public art controversy

Marrero-Guillamón, Isaac. 2020. Tindaya: the cosmopolitics of a public art controversy. [Project]

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Creators: Marrero-Guillamón, Isaac
Abstract or Description:

This British Academy/Leverhulme-funded project investigates the controversy surrounding artist Eduardo Chillida’s ‘Monument to Tolerance’, proposed in 1994 for Tindaya Mountain (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands). The Monument, a huge cubic cave to be bored into the mountain, triggered a still ongoing conflict around the right to intervene in a protected site by virtue of its environmental singularity and pre-Hispanic archaeological remains. Whereas the artist and the state have defended the work’s compatibility with Tindaya’s listed condition, activists have argued that the mountain’s indigenous sacredness demands its preservation.

Through a multimodal approach encompassing ethnographic film, academic texts, and a public-facing multimedia website, this research shows how the suspended monument nonetheless exists in the form of models, exhibitions and plans; entangled with the state’s aspirations as well as central to the activists’ campaign for the protection of the island’s environment and indigenous heritage. For the state, Tindaya constitutes a unique opportunity to bring about a prosperity fashioned after the spectacular projects of the metropolis. For the activists, Tindaya represents the possibility of rethinking the island’s development model and putting indigenous heritage and environmental concerns at its centre.

The project’s different outputs are complementary in their focus and sensibility. The film Tindaya Variations proposes a sensory encounter with Fuerteventura’s landscape as a site of contestation between tourism, indigenous heritage, Chillida’s proposed Monument and environmental activism. The article “Monumental Suspension” uses the controversy to theorise suspension as a specific mode of existence. It does so by connecting relational approaches to the anthropology of art with recent debates in the anthropology of (unfinished) infrastructures. Lastly, the website acts as the project’s main public interface; its main function is to connect the themes emerging out of the different outputs using interactive combinations of video and text.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units: Anthropology
Item ID: 29448
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2020 10:35
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2023 11:08



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