Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Spectra 09 Site Report

Spectra 09 could not have taken place in a better venue than the Octubre Centre for Contemporary Culture, nestling as it does within the elegant shell of Valencia’s first ever department store. Five floors of art nouveau galleries rise up enigmatically from the open atrium, served by the oldest original elevator (sadly no longer functioning) in the city, while a tall panel of multicoloured lights and a seemingly endless stainless steel pole slowly move and change position under the influence of meteorological sensors and weathervanes located up on the roof of the building.

Event coordinators Mike Ibañez (author of post-modern conspiracy handbook Pop Control and forthcoming novel SuperBrutal) and Rosa Arutti (AKA Spanish sound artist Nad Spiro) arranged with the director of the Octubre CCC for us all to take a midnight visit to the roof. The view of the city from up there was wonderful, although a high level of light pollution made it look as though a permanent red dawn was about to break above us. Not that anyone cared: we were all too busy taking photographs – Roberto Opalio of My Cat Is An Alien and the Cats’ ever-vigilant manager Ramona Ponzini in particular rarely put their cameras down. I know because I kept on photographing them.

The following afternoon I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with Mike and Rosa walking around the old Barrio del Carmen sampling some of the local tapas. Together they work on radio art pieces as Pop Eye Spy – their kind and enthusiastic attention towards the participants in Spectra 09, plus their constantly diverting stream of observations, asides and ideas, helped make a completely sleepless weekend a great deal of fun.

Pictured above: Mike Ibañez and Rosa Arutti consider their response to the G20 summit while ordering tapas; a vertiginous glimpse of the old elevator shaft at the Octubre CCC; Roberto Opalio focuses on the midnight skyline from the Octubre roof; Ramona Ponzini takes a flash picture while Mike and Rosa lurk in the shadows.

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