Tilting Axis Fellow 2021/2022: Fernando Martirena

The Tilting Axis Fellowship for 2021/2022 was awarded to Cuba-based Fernando Martirena, who will use the fellowship to expand on building a body of knowledge on the different manifestations of what he terms the Architecture of Cruelty. Here are excerpts from the jury report. For more information on the committee, procedures, and projections, visit Tilting Axis.

Procedure: The fellowship is supported by Het Nieuwe Instituut as lead partner and host, and will include collaborations with the Amsterdam Museum, De Appel, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Kunstinstituut Melly. Between the announcement of the open call on 25 May and the deadline on 4 July 2021, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Tilting Axis received 10 eligible entries in response to the open call, from six territories in the Caribbean region: Aruba, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas and Suriname. [. . .]

General Comments: The members of the jury were impressed by the relevance and timeliness of the projects, as well as the expertise and ambition of the applicants. The set of applications showed a variety of working methodologies and media, ranging from installations and architectural designs to performances, workshops, archival research and forms of public engagement and activism. The projects represent the creativity and power of the work developed by artists and intellectuals in the Caribbean.

The jury was pleased to have received applications from applicants based in all four linguistic territories of the Caribbean. Submissions responded to urgent themes including climate change, colonialism, de/colonisation, architecture found in nature, ritual, myth and paradise.

Further Reflections on the Open Call: Following this second edition of the Tilting Axis Fellowship, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Tilting Axis, together with the partners, will consider how to further develop these collaborations across and beyond the Caribbean, acknowledging not only the inhabitants of these territories but also their diasporic communities and their histories.

Comments on the Selected Proposal: Cuba-based Fernando Martirena will use the fellowship to expand on building a body of knowledge on the different manifestations of what he terms the Architecture of Cruelty, and find those examples that react against it.

The jury felt that Martirena’s proposal was relevant and coherent and responded to the call in compelling ways. His submission articulated the prohibitive bureaucracy and difficult situation in Cuba in relation to architecture, and a desire to reflect on his immediate environment from afar. Furthermore, the jury was intrigued by his interest in working on the political character of architecture and in considering how to care for and think differently about the local challenges architects face in Cuba, as well as in other regions in the Caribbean and beyond, by mobilising the forms of collaboration, solidarity and engagement that the fellowship offers. His ambition includes the creation of a database, the production of a suite of collages, models, craft books and texts, and a deepening of his relationship with the archives so as to develop another understanding of the political implications of architecture and social-spatial practices, resonating with the fellowship partners’ interest in opening up their archival collections and spaces to greater scrutiny and interpretation. [. . .]

For more information, see https://tiltingaxis.org/news/jury-report-tilting-axis-fellowship-2021/2022

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