Talk with writer and curator Santiago García Navarro
7 June 2017
This talk was organized in connection with SixtyEight Art Institute's exhibition I am also stepping on wet sand, realized by Carla Zaccagnini through a close collaboration with Santiago García Navarro. At this evening event, García Navarro introduced his research on the modern construction of the beach, both as a leisure phenomenon and contradiction.
Santiago García Navarro has been exploring the city of Mar del Plata for a number of years, and spoke about the kind of images and stories that have called his attention and led to this research project on destination culture. This research examines the ways in which artists have explored social imaginaries by slightly changing the conventional formats of touristic photography (postcards, advertising, etc.), thereby making visible the effects of consumption and entertainment development in coastal areas. García Navarro looks at the ways in which ideas of ‘tropical paradises’ are being reimagined and created in non-tropical regions as forms of nostalgic longing, looking for the ‘non-existent golden age’, and which aim to render elegantly as past nature, but in fact end up looking rather kitsch or stale. In his own words:
‘A beach resort is a world of clichés. Not only if it is famous. Those that are not, imitate the famous ones. What they have in common is that they’re all structured according to more or less given principles. Which means that all of them are, in essence, the same place. Even if, at first glance, they may look rather different from one another. Some of them remain the same for ages. Some change as fast as the fastest-growing cities in the world. Some are small and quiet. Some are gigantic and buzzing. Some are well-known worldwide. Some are well-known only within a country or area.’
The talk delved further into the artist and writer’s collaboration around the experience of the Beach, and looked into the exhibit’s methodology, sources or histories, from which García Navarro put together his side of this co-production.