Day 2

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El Ranchito // Matadero // Madrid 2nd meeting with El Ranchito project at Matadero, Madrid.

3. November 2010 10am – 3.30pm Notes have been gathered by Metod


Item 1: Walking the Matadero perimeter (10.20am – 11.30am) Present: Manuella, Gema, Neil, Metod

Got introduced into the Matadro construction, particularly into the Matadero plaza and building 16. Building 16 is one of the two massive warehouses, where they used to keep cattle. Matadero is considering this building a space for visual art but rather than a pure gallery space they intend it as a project space. The building has a size of 4.750 m2 (the size of a football field 100x50m) and is intended, when constructed, to be divided into two spaces. Building 16 and Matadero plaza are intended to be used for CP + ER project when developed and realized.

We talked about Matadero’s structure in practice, what are their aims, their prospects. Conclusion is that they do not have a clear plan or programme and how they will use the vastness of the Matadero. Several institutions are already installed in Matadero and are getting new premises when construction completes. They have their own running programmes like IntermediÆ, Design Centre, Theatro Espanol, Abierto X Obras, etc. Several other institutions are about to move in Matadero when construction project finishes.

Mauela talks about IntermediÆ and how they are perceived. They do not see them as a visual arts organisation, but rather (media) research think tank, which seem not to be entirely accurate. We talk about what could be the relationship in working together.

(There are many misconceptions between groups and organisations of what another group or organisation does and what are their aims.)

The emphasis was continuously on potential and participation.


Item 2: Walking through Matadero to the other side of the river (12noon – 2pm) Present: Manuella, Pablo, Neil, Metod

Pablo talks about internal politics, potential problems and drawbacks Matadero can have and is having. He talks about the biggest challenge Matadero faces and that is the dialogue between all institutions installed in Matadero to form a collective programme that corresponds between institutions.

We visit the local authority offices intended for Matadero some time in the future. This is the only building within the Matadero that has been built on the “human scale” (all other buildings were build for the purposes of animals, processing meet and production). We walk though a café – almost “a day centre” – for senior citizen from immediate neighbourhood. Nearby we see a ballroom where senior citizens dance on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This building was used for calves.

We walk to the green house. This building was constructed after the Matadero stopped its operations. Before the green house there was storage for potatoes.

We walk to the dance studios at the end for Matadero.

We leave Matadero perimeter and cross one of newly built bridges to serve the neighbourhood across the river. This was not possible before as they were divided by 4-lanes of traffic on either side of the river. Two years ago a massive social project started and a 8-lane highway got submerged underground leaving the space above for new construction of the park and pedestrian/playground zones along the river. The whole project extends for 8km (5m) up the river passing the royal palace in the heart of Madrid centre.

We talk about building ties between this neighbourhood and Matadero. We also talk about “White Night” (La Noche en Blanca) Pablo and Manuela were organising for five consecutive years. We talk about El Ranchito its possibilities and potential problems. Neither Pablo nor Manuella are entirely clear what the project really is about. (Please read Appendix #1: El Ranchito)


Item 3: Lunch (2pm – 3.30pm) Present: Manuella, Pablo, Gema, Neil, Metod

After a good 2h walk around neighbourhoods we reconvene for a lunch in a trendy restaurant 2 min from El Ranchito’s flat on Calle de Bolivar. We are joined by Gema.

We talk about El Ranchito and Matadero; how parallel institutions in Britain operate; how Spanish local governments construct “containers” without appropriate programmes; we talk about utopian projects without clear projections, aims and objectives. And in many respects Matadero and El Ranchito reflect such way of working.

After lunch we return back to the Matadero office. Neil and I walk to the Old Tobacco factory (La Tabacalera) where there is an interesting social project unfolding. We find the space intimidation and squat-like although everybody is excited about it and consequently talks about it. Neil and I find it average, the only detail that interests us is that it is not a squat, they have signed a 12-month contract with the ministry of culture, which expires on February 2011. After that everyting is open and they do not know what Ministry of Culture want to do with it, either sign another contract or close it down. We walk to Sol (the heart of the centre) and talk about Critical Practice (read notes on CP conversation).


return to Ranchito