MAC/SAN will weave together and explore Art, Territory, Heritage, Urbanism and Environment.
MAC/SAN brings together different forms of contemporary art practices ranging from conceptual to participatory. It addresses and contributes to the critical discourse in contemporary art. It explores various languages within the arts and within society. The use of an acronym referring to the holy art institution as a title, suggests that MAC/SAN is as much about creating forms and signs as it is about diverting from them.
MAC/SAN positions art as a goal - the exploration of forms resulting in the creation of meaning - and as a tool for social engagement. Its protei-formalism will allow for a thorough exploration of the correlations between them.
San Agustín is a 4km2 neighbourhood in the periphery of Havana (Cuba) with more than 37 000 inhabitants. Mostly fruit farms until the 50s, it became San Agustín, a residential area for mostly white middle class residents between 1952 and 1954. In the 60s, San Agustín saw its administrative surface doubled which increased its demographic dramatically.
San Agustín is now an architectural mix -a few neo-colonial small farms, Art Nouveau family houses and prefabricated buildings - with a very diverse racial, social and geographic demographic.
Since 2007, San Agustín has been undergoing a new wave of expansion. The construction of many apartment buildings, currently threatening the organoponico – government run urban organic vegetable garden, key to ensure food locally - is meant to create a new “downtown” for San Agustín.
Although San Agustín results from such diversity, in Havana, it is only known for and referred to as the first example of massive suburban prefabricated developments by the “Micro-Brigades”. Micro-Brigades were groups of volunteers, coming from diverse professional backgrounds, who gathered in the early seventies to apply a model of “self help housing” suggested by Fidel Castro to face the high demand for housing.
Building on a LASA initiative, MAC/SAN will explore the notion of heritage and archive, acting as a catalyst for the writing of “a history” of San Agustín, that does not exist to this day. In dialogue with its memory holders, its inhabitants, MAC/SAN will start a long term investigation through print media, multimedia presentations and video, that will lead to recomposing a puzzle of history and to building a heritage for San Agustin.
URBANISM AND ENVIRONMENT
Interested in the international urbanism debates on sustainable cities, MAC/SAN´s guest participants will research and extend the potential of existing urban green zones and imagine their ecological future. Like any other citiy or neighbourhood, San Agustín constantly has to resolve a sustainable equation, including parameters such as the intensification of local food production and the decrease of energy consumption, while planning for a growth of its population. Building on Cuba’s recent policies related to estate and privately run businesses, guest artists will also re-examine the nature and use of public, collective and private spaces.