22 March 2012

®NOVA · David Quiles Guilló · SPECIAL POST

David Quiles Guilló. photo by Giselle Galvão

®NOVA Festival is a multidimensional art festival, which brings to the forefront of the contemporary audiovisual  arts. The festival is a live construction site, which combines visual art, experimental, contemporary techniques, technological resources. The idea came from ROJO®, founded 11 years ago in Barcelona by David Quiles Guilló, director and curator of the exhibition, whose previous editions have been through São Paulo, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. This year it is going to open in few days, just the next 6th April in Sao Paulo at MIS "Museu da Imagem e do Som"  supported by SESC Pompéia. It will feature the work of over 100 guest artists!

Triangulation Blog is supporting the ®NOVA Festival as online media partner and I really want to dedicate a post to this great event created because of the enthusiasm of David Quiles Guilló. Many of the artists participating on this festival have already been featured here,  I feel there is a really good connection with ®NOVA. For this Special Post we have an excellent interview made by Juliana D Chohfi to David, they both speak everything about and around the festival. Don't miss it! See more;

▼ Read the interview ▼

Juliana D Chohfi asks to David Quiles Guilló:

J:How did the ROJO start?
D:Rojo came out of a combination of factors. First one was my desire to have my own business. And just at that time I realized that young artists didn’t have many platforms to showcase their work. I had a communication agency and it didn’t take long for me to realize that this wasn’t really my area; I wanted to have an agency to work with these young artists. I was also upset because my clients wouldn’t take in ideas that wouldn’t go their way. So I dismissed all my staff, or my staff dismissed me (laughs). I said I was going to create a new platform and wasn’t sure how to maintain it and that the next three months no one would be paid. I was left alone with my idea of Rojo. And just there and then the project began. It started from a necessity that I spotted in the market and my needs, a reason to get in touch with all the people I admired.

J:It seems that ®NOVA is a ROJO that materialized in space and gained voice and soundtrack. Where did ®NOVA come from?
D:It aroused from a need to work less. When we thought of ®NOVA, in 2007, I was in Barcelona and we were making 20 monthly openings all over the world. At the same time we produced the magazine and did clients projects. Hectic times! And I thought: “What if I could get everything together in a single project and get paid a million dollars?” This was the first idea. The project was called The Wrong. The idea was a biennial where all the artists in it, were those who never made it to proper Biennials. It started well, but when I moved to Brazil the idea evolved into an event that happens several times a year, a big event to gather many artists. Graziela (Graziela Calfat, Executive Director of ®NOVA, married to David) came up with the name. ®NOVA means new, we thought it had everything to do with what we were thinking, a short name that would work with Rojo. And yes, you got it right. ®NOVA is everything we did before separately, now gathered in one event only. It has music shows, performance, communication, collaboration between artists that have never worked together before and it has brands involved in the project. Everyone thought it was madness in Spain; we came to Brazil and it worked here. Brazil is much more open. I’m getting to do what I wanted to and also work a little less. It is indeed too much work, but what changed is the intensity. Before all months were hectic, now only eight months of hard work for two hectic months (laughs).

Atsuhiro Ito

J:What has changed since the first edition of ®NOVA to the upcoming one?
D:Interesting. In fact we’re going backwards, which is good! The first ®NOVA was done here at MIS (Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo) and this edition will also happen here. We’re going back to our roots. Back then we used to test new formulas. Artists were put together: an artist would paint a wall and another would paint over it, a big work in process. The music was left a bit behind. This changed in the following editions. I tried to mix everything and a bit more, music artists, video, we did an experiment with film; and suddenly we were going too far. It was getting difficult, not only to the public but to the artists as well. They came here not knowing what they would do and in the end they wouldn’t take in all the experience we had to offer. So we took a step back. This edition will have a mixture of different medias in the same space and music mixed with video but the artists will be free to do what they like, the way they like it but always among other artists. The change is mainly in the course of ®NOVA. We went far and came back with all this experience for the edition of 2012. The big difference is the experience we gained and the content. Today we bring more artists from all around the world that are even more innovative. The content is always changing and the medias too. It’s an evolution.

J:®NOVA’s format is completely innovative and different from what we see in multimedia exhibitions that pop up everywhere. Was it your intention to break the conventional format?
D:One of Rojo’s features is to create formats. Some of them are conventional such as the magazine, the website; and others not so conventional, such as art shows on the street. It’s more conventional nowadays but I started doing these shows a long time ago. But coming back to the question, I think the format is very important because the artist can’t feel his participating of another music festival or another group show. So we try to innovate in what we present and how we are going to present it. We ended up breaking some taboos. Back then you couldn’t put a type of artist next to another one that wouldn’t match, Street Art wouldn’t go with installation or High Art and music and performance. The idea was that all types of artists and all kinds of work could coexist in the same space for a period of time long enough so that the artists were able to work properly and that the public wouldn’t have that feeling that “if I don’t go to the exhibition now, I’m gonna miss it.” The format emerged from the desire of mixing everything we like, without caring much about what the market was going to say. The idea is to mix new artists with artists already known. Nothing was done to clash with someone’s idea, that’s not it, it’s all about what we want to do and believe it’s good not only for us, but for the artists. The artists have to take in all they can when they come to the event. If they were put with artists who they’re are used to working, it’s only another show, whereas if they work with artists they have never imagined working; then that’s an experience and you start to get the feel of ®NOVA. We are turning into a big family of people who become best partners, creating new bands, new projects and this is what we always wanted: to shake the art world a little.

Penique Productions

J:The project receives artists from all around the world, including Brazil. In general, how do you select the artists?
D:In general, we select… I say we select, but no (laughs), I select. There are some criteria. The first is to compensate people who have worked with me at some point of Rojo’s history and gave more than they received, people who did very much for Rojo and this is the time that I have to appreciate their work. This is a deeper reason. Not that everyone who worked with me before is part of ®NOVA, it has to fit in the project. The other criterion is to find artists that have no ‘fear’. Artists that I can easily get in touch with. Hardly ever you will find an artist in ®NOVA that came through an agent or gallery. I want to speak directly to the artist, there must be a relationship so that he understands what we will do here and the risk it assumes. I don’t want anyone in the middle of it evaluating whether this is good for his career. There is another criterion that is what I call complementary arts. I try to mix things that complement each other and try not to have artists working in the same aesthetic area at ®NOVA. I seek works that are very distant. My research goes pretty much this way. I want artists that always have something to add. I don’t fight for artists that have name, unless it’s an easygoing person. I’m looking for people artists. We are a family. I don’t have a selection committee, I have people that recommend artists, I have my sources of information, and I look for artists that I like. I select what I want; I am a despot, a dictator (laughs). Finally, the last criterion is that everything has to fit in, or not, let’s leave it this way… I think everything has to be a little disengaged. Our work is to put together all that wouldn’t normally go.

J:A memorable moment or show in ®NOVA?
D:Difficult question. We had five editions already. I remember Rio, last year’s opening night with Hildur Guðnadóttir and Quayola was very very nice. It was beautiful! We always have an idea of the result but we never know for sure. It was awesome! I mentioned this show because it’s still fresh in my mind. I think all the openings and closing nights are memorable. I enjoyed the opening of our first edition in LA. The music was really cool. We placed Computer Jay (who’s coming this year) with Cristopher Cichocki, two different worlds. Computer Jay produces cool soul jazz and Christopher makes noise without much sense; it was great. I really liked Protey Temen’s presentation at the Cinemateca last year. It ended up with everyone dancing. I don’t t know if it was alcohol or the craziness of his film (laughs), his presentation was really lysergic, he was speaking Russian, we couldn’t understand a thing. I thought it was the most radical of all. It was the closest to what I was looking for, something that you lose the sense of who was the public, of what was going on there. Overall, I think that the Sunday pizzas are memorable! That’s the time everyone is relaxed; people are either done with their work or are arriving at the project to get started. Everyone talks to each other, leaving behind that “don’t you know who I am” feeling. All the artists that come here have their individual world, they have a reputation, followers, and galleries; but when they get together with other artists, they drop this nonsense. That’s when partnerships and collaborations begin. This is the best time.

J:Experimentalism seems to be the watchword of the project.
D:No, I don’t think that experimentalism is the watchword. The word experimentalism pushes people away because they think we will create something that they won’t be able to understand. And that’s not our point. We want to bring together four different fields of art that are usually understood separately, to be acknowledged together. It’s not that I don’t like the word experimentalism. I do. The word festival, for example, has only appeared in this edition, I have resisted to this word for long now. It seems that festival is a three-day show with art and parties. What we do lasts longer and it’s bigger than that, but it feels like we are closer to it than nothing at all. Before this edition, the project was called ®NOVA Contemporary Culture. What does that mean? (laughs). I think experimentalism is not the watchword but the way we work. We experiment with pretty much everything.


J:What does ®NOVA mean to you?
D:®NOVA is my son. I feel that I am approaching the format I would like to work with all my life, I don’t get tired of making ®NOVA, although it’s very tiring. There’s a song by Hess is More that says ‘creation keeps the devil away’. It’s great and I really believe in it, if you’re working and doing things you enjoy, this ‘devil’ – that can be interpreted in a thousand ways – has no way of entering your life, there’s no room for it. There’s nothing that will stop my desire to keep doing something cool. I am very close to what I would like to do every day, meet artists, bring people together and do many, many cool things. I’m still approaching the correct format, but I’m close, very close.

J:The project has happened in LA as well. Do you feel the reception of the public is different from the one in Brazil? Does São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro influence the project?
D:The difference between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is more noticeable because we spent more time in both cities. Los Angeles happened only once and it was kind of a sample of what we wanted to do. We did only a week and a half of project and the result - the exhibition - was on for more thirty days. In LA, they don’t really care for the work in progress. They prefer something ready-made. Some medias even arrived before the opening but they didn’t take in the idea we were presenting. I guess that’s because it is a different concept and they are not used to it, nor the galleries are used to staying open while the artists are working. When it comes to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the difference is mainly the cost. São Paulo has a much greater cost to bring people to the event. I guess it’s because the city has a lot going on. Although it has more public, the cost is still higher. In Rio, we did one of the most difficult events ever. Here in São Paulo at the Cinemateca, we had a script, had a name, artists and had a trailer, while in Rio we just got some artists together and spread the word that there was going to be an experimental work. People actually came to see what was going on! In São Paulo this would never happen! I think Rio is more receptive, perhaps because it lacks such sort of gatherings and events. They are much more open to see what we do and have different opinions about it. Here (São Paulo) we got a unanimous vote saying that the project was cool. In Rio, there were some who felt the project was horrible and others that thought it was wonderful! To me, that’s something that adds up.

J:How did it feel to produce ®NOVA’s communication campaign? Many countries, few days…
D:That’s the first time someone asks me that. It was really cool! More than half of the people we were going to work with, we met for the first time. Usually the artists arrive at the event and we welcome them here. In this case was the opposite. We went to them and they welcomed us. So it was a really nice thing. I visited cities that I didn’t know, Stockholm, Dublin… doing things out of the computer is cool too! It was a way to get everyone out of the emails, computer and work together. That’s what excites me I think. In the logistics part, well there wasn’t enough time for leisure. Frank (Isaac Niemand) says: “Now that we know we can do it, we should never do it again!” No, not really. I’m already preparing the next campaign and it will be awesome.

J:What is the main concept behind the communications campaign of 2012?
D:We always suffered with the artist’s promotional images. They either didn’t have the proper settings or were images that had been published somewhere at least once. I thought it would be nice to have our own pictures. At the same time, we wanted the audience to recognize a unique image of ®NOVA. The first year when we brought the Fuck Buttons, the public thought that it was part of the museum’s program, that had no involvement with ®NOVA. This time we want to create an image that somehow unifies the event so we went after the artists to take their picture with this image. We got in touch with Koen (Koen Delaere). I ordered him one hundred works for the exhibition and ten of these works were turned into t-shirts. He created five unique t-shirts and customized other five. All t-shirts have a similar style, but are still different. And we expect the media to publish these photos and the public will identify the event because of these images. Without being explicit with a logo. Again, the form is to experiment, we are testing this and next year we will have an evolution of this idea, something even crazier, but I won’t tell you now (laughs).

J:How would you describe the ®NOVA generation?
D:Those friends that you would like to have forever! A generation of people that is open to the new and free from conventions and ego. People that show what they do and share how they do it, sharing their secrets. Is the kind of people that spend a week with others they don’t know and that’s all right. People that share a room with others they don’t know and that’s not a problem. Those friends you communicate via Internet and get together once a year and nothing has changed.

Graham Caldwell

J:®NOVA is really ‘new’. Did you find obstacles to establish the project?
D:I haven’t been lucky yet to make a project in which I didn’t find difficulties (laughs). I’m still waiting for this to happen. I’d love that! (laughs). I not only found holdbacks in developing concepts but in institutions and brands as well, it was hard to make them believe that what I was going to do would have a minimal repercussion. Because in the end, what they want is to have their institutions full of audience and brands that will reach their target audience. This is complex. We were fortunate enough to have the background of Rojo, clients like JB of Diageo, Nike, Pepe Jeans, Diesel, Smart, among others. We worked directly with the international marketing of some of these brands, not just for one project but for several years. This shows credibility, we had such luck.

J:Tell us about ATLAS, ®NOVA’s mini-series.
D:I’ll tell you why we got to a mini-series. We’ve been making videos of work in progress and making of for four editions now. So Frank (Isaac Niemand) and I decided to rethink this format. We wanted to make something cool that could have continuity. Something detached from the work in progress because we already have hours and hours of artists at work, we even have a proper film. We wanted to innovate and ended up with a mini-series format that everyone enjoys. The mini-series revolves around two protagonists, they are friends living together and working in KLM, the airline that supports ®NOVA. They are flight attendants who travel the world, speak several languages but almost never meet each other. Together they go through various situations that somehow interact with ®NOVA. Each chapter has three minutes. The first season has thirteen chapters, plus a pilot that we’re shooting today. I was very focused on the aesthetic part and I think it will end up as something very sentimental (laughs). The idea is that people who think they do not understand ®NOVA, will get closer to it through these characters, and perceive it as something available for them as well. That’s what we are seeking. We are super pretentious, always have been. And again, is not the word but the way. We are experimenting. For me it is only the first of many seasons.

J:Where do you find your inspiration?
D:Inspiration? Inspiration. Everything I guess. The city. São Paulo. It is a sunbeam, a downpour. Not that nature inspires me, but its visual part. And São Paulo is radical. Just a moment ago there was a thunderstorm and out came the sun, then back to a darkness and rain drops again. I think these contrasts inspire me.

J:What is your expectation for this year? And what can the public expect?
D:It’s like I was talking to one of the actresses just now… keep your expectations low and everything will work out. I’m not expecting much, everything will go wrong, and the artists won’t be able to cope with the space… (laughs) The music won’t be good (more laughter)… Expectations? I always have the best expectations! The public can expect a lot of cool people and artists from different places of the world, many of them are coming for the first time to Brazil and don’t know what they will find here, they don’t know the public nor their reactions. Expect a lot of different things from what is usually seen and don’t worry about being an art critic to appreciate what will happen there. We like to create sensations and magical moments. We like to make good, beautiful and affordable things. Expect great music of course! Much different and really good music. The tunes include neoclassical music by Nils Frahm and Bosques de mi mente. They are composers of a classical music that nearly turns into pop music. There’s Jay Jay Johanson, it’s been eleven years since he last came to Brazil, and he has great albums and will come with an amazing format. Another great attraction will be by Mouse on Mars that will bring a new show that is full of nonsense. There’s Gonjasufi that plays on that roots side. Wow! There’s a lot of great music! Esmerine is amazing and they play something like a post-rock with different instruments. Thiago Pethit is on the Brazilian team of great music, I really like him and he will open the event beside Beast who creates a lysergic Rock that has nothing to do with Pethit’s sound. I think it will be an incredible mix. I hope many people leave ®NOVA with their new favorite band. Another pretentious goal, I know (laughs).

Interview made by Juliana D Chohfi. Thank you!

For finishing this post there is an awesome inspiring 75min documentary film about NOVA, directed by Isaac Niemand.  It shows a previous edition of NOVA which happened in July and August 2010 at the same location, at MIS, so you can have an idea about how is going to be the upcoming festival. I also enjoyed to hear the artists participating speaking about their art and work.

This is happening, and starts in few days, the opening day, Friday April 6 to 12 pm, the exhibition will present over 50 gigs, will feature more than 100 national and international artists working in live. In the cultural spaces of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, artists are grouped in teams collaborating with each other. Thus, the exhibition will remain in constant motion and creation to the final week of the show, which will host the big closing party.
®NOVA for 55 days offer more than 80 hours of film, art and video art to generate a unique experience, pointing to the cultural diversity of contemporary art with the use of colors, lights, textures, music, design and collaborative artistic compositions.

Check some of the artists participating here.
Join ROJO on facebook here

David, thanks for creating all this!

6 April - 31 May 2012 / Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro / Brazil