Marti Sanchez-Fibla is a researcher in the cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, and neurorobotics. His interest in scientific outreach has led him to experiments involving using robots as theatrical performers. He has always been interested in the relationship between science and art. Investigating the scientific aspects of illustration was one aspect of the Barcelona X Macau project that interested him, and led to his involvement.
You are coming to Macau this October for Barcelona x Macau exhibition, how did this happen? Tell us the story.
It was on a visit to Macau for a workshop in November last year when I met Christine Hong and she asked me about the underground art scene in Barcelona, and concretely about the illustration scene. I have lived most of my life in this city so I knew some underground independent places, some disappeared some still very active and influential. This started a discussion. She explained to me the concept of the previous San Francisco x Macau exhibition and her intention to do it in Barcelona.
What is your connection with art and the art scene in Barcelona?
Right now I’m mainly a scientist mixing robotics and neuroscience.
My first contact with art was through technology and computers seeking to find new ways of expression through interactive art, video, and installations. My first contact with the art scene in Barcelona was with Digital and Media Arts. I started collaborating with Konic Thtr back in 2003 and did several installations with them during three years. At the same time, I started collaborating with Agrupación Sr Serrano, a theater company in which I was able to introduce many of the interactive aspects I was working on. Their first peace featured an interactive floor and we then converged into a kind of life cinema, filming small models, and with manipulation of the images.
At some point, I also did solo interactive installations: “Fons!” (Olot, Panorama Mots! (Toulouse 2009) and “Mixed Reality Robot Arena” (Sonar 2010), that can be seen on my youtube channel. www.youtube.com/videos
I have always been interested in the relation of science and art and have participated in and created different interactive installations in the past. And this brought me to do the project Teatronika which mixes robotics and performance arts. The concept is to produce theatrical pieces performed only by robots. A book has just been published and is not available yet and several showcases of the project have been done. www.facebook.com/teatronika
This exhibition is about connecting two cities that are so far away. Why is this connection important and why did the art scene become the medium of a choice?
Clearly, art is the best means of gathering people, better than sports I think [smiles]. It brings emotions, discussion, dialogue right from the start. The Barcelona x Macau exhibition as it is conceived by Christine is very open, and the means of the pieces have few limits apart from their A3 size. There are pieces made with a tablet, graphite, acrylic, pencil, pen, special paintings for plastic, watercolor.
Usually, art pieces get together “alone” in a museum. This time we were able to meet two small communities of two city cultures with representatives of both sides, sharing experience and knowledge in both directions, from BCN to Macau, and from Macau to BCN.
Barcelona is often called the city of design, with many schools dedicated to its research and recently with the opening of the big center/museum DHub.
I think illustration is simple and inclusive. It does not refer to a medium (digital, analog, material), as I mentioned before, and also does not link to any particular context content, although some of the pieces are very close to comic strip style.
What are some of your favorite works presented at this exhibition, why?
It’s difficult! In some way, I like lots of them. Aythamy Armas’ graphite is a proof of this simplicity I was mentioning. Using a graphite pencil, it reaches these expressive and emotive pieces.Pedro Lemos (Macau artist) also using graphite has two very expressive minimal pieces. Clara Cerviño is a scientific illustrator and has provided two beautiful pieces for the exhibition—the deer skull and the flower. It’s nice to see how Little Peng personalizes her two pieces where chickens are transformed with elements of human culture. Then we have pieces that fall into the design side like Clara Mur Cano, Mar Borrajo, Sonia Lok. One of my favorites from the Barcelona side are the two drawings of Mariona Tolosa Sistere, which have a very particular atmosphere, which somehow is shared with the screen prints of Anna Yael and Teo Peiro and finally the paintings of Ilya Mayer, full of details. And also the very special characters of Karla Kracht and Stiliana Mitzeva.
When: October 17–29, 2017
Where: Rui Cunha Foundation Gallery, GF 749 Avenida da Praia Grande, Macau
How much: Free admission