CO-OP Encounters #7: IMAGENRED

by Unseen2 August 28 2018

Unseen CO-OP is back for its second edition. Introduced to increase the representation of artist-run initiatives and collectives worldwide, CO-OP encourages artists to present challenging works of art, dynamic presentations and new commercial formats. In the coming months, we’ll be speaking to each of the participating collectives to find out more about the collaborative processes that drive their practice forward.

Meet IMAGENRED, a project and group of interdisciplinary professionals sparking critical thinking among the youth through the power of the image. In anticipation of this year's edition of Unseen Amsterdam, we spoke to Julián Barón, photographer and brain behind the project's conception, and Mercè Giralt, Exhibition Coordinator at the Foto Colectania Foundation to find out more.

What inspired you to start working as a collective?
IMAGENRED started in 2015, coordinated by Jon Uriarte, and has been promoted by the Foto Colectania Foundation of Barcelona. After being invited to participate in the programme, I thought about taking advantage of this situation to propose IMAGENRED as a didactic and open project, focused on images. What do we do with images? What do images do with us? How could we share with the youth our experiences when working with images? How could we incorporate in educational centres a seed that allows us to start paying attention to visual education? So I proposed an interdisciplinary team of 7 professionals.

We believe photography is crucial to encourage critical thinking among the youth. In a society in which the power of image is increasingly prevalent, we aim to promote debate, with the objective of providing students with learning tools to develop comprehension and critical judgment skills.

How has working as a collective changed the way you interact with the art market?
We do not directly interact with the art market, but with visual education in the classroom. IMAGENRED is a space for reflection and collective learning around creation, emphasizing the processes, experiences and emotions related to images in contemporary society. We are also preparing a blog to gather all the experiences we receive from schools. In order for the project grow, we believe it is essential to compile teachers and students’ experiences, in order to assess the solutions are they finding, and which new questions have been posed.

As this is open and flexible, the project will be progressively developed within the coming years. For this year’s edition and in the future, we are working to create new exercises focused on different educational levels: infants, primary and secondary school.

What sets you apart from other collectives?
The objective of IMAGENRED is to provide strategies to learn how to look and create a visual attention space through a programme of actions. We offer tools to teachers and students to approach images and their different manifestations in contemporary society. We have taken the words of Pablo Ball-llatinas on the Pedagogy of the Look and Ways of Seeing, as inspiration: "The proposed methodology is not intended to guide or address the participant’s gaze. It is not a pedagogy that "points out" what to look at, but rather how to do it as individuals, but also that rethinks the view together". Precisely for this reason, IMAGENRED’s Assembly of Image is intended to this purpose, aiming to transform the looking and seeinginto an empathic experience, into a construction of judgement and collective learning through images.

What do you have in store for us at Unseen Amsterdam 2018?
We will have many merchandising pieces; and mainly, the opportunity for international centres and institutions to collaborate with IMAGENRED!

Image: María Sanz © IMAGENRED