→ Me voy a ir, me voy, estoy ido. San Sebastian, DAE-Donostiako Arte Ekinbideak : Egia Cultural Centre, 28 May – 26 June 1999.
The second FOKU is dedicated to Idoia Zabaleta. Looking back over her long career has meant reviewing not only her work, but also her training period, her work as a performer for other authors and companies, and her decades-long experience in the transmission of knowledge. It has also involved studying the history of the space she founded and has been running for more than 15 years, Azala, located in Lasierra, Araba. Azala’s activities are closely related to the drive behind Idoia’s practice and they inhabit the core of her creative method. Our intention has been to map the existing relationships between the different dimensions of her practice, following the intuition that there is something very special to learn there, a radical horizontality, a finely articulated intelligence that is worth harvesting for the use of all. It also stems from the conviction we both have about the importance of Idoia’s work in understanding some of the most relevant qualitative transformations in the Basque visual arts scene over the last 15 years. A heritage of influences woven with care as a substratum, and perhaps for that very reason, a heritage more invisible than others, less perceived as work and therefore less perceived as a sensibility at the service of art and its myths.
Cataloguing work involves creating categories, more or less instrumentally, that allow the newcomer to navigate large amounts of information without the need to delve into every piece of it, as we have done; tidying the wardrobe. The process requires a meticulous approach to each detail in order to assess its condition, distribute it and place it on the chosen support in such a way that an image, a diagram, a sinuous contour can be glimpsed in a single stroke of the eye. To take it all out and bring it to the front, to create a chaos that fills a lot of space and then to make room, to carve out paths that allow us to traverse what is essentially magmatic. Isabel de Naverán and Andrea Rodrigo joined us a year ago in this first exercise, which resulted in the material organisation of Idoia’s work shown here, whose foreground is arranged in three main divisions: Fissures, Mantras and Massages. The exercise is completed with an extensive, reasoned bibliography of almost 300 entries displayed in the background, whose air roots make their way through the layers towards the surface of the site. This primary two-layered organisation (bibliography and work) is a legacy of the first FOKU that we dedicated to Iñaki Garmendia, and in order to accommodate the materials compiled during the research into Idoia’s work, we have decided to slightly twist the original functionalities of FOKU.info’s exoskeleton. Idoia’s solos, grouped in three series, occupy the front page of FOKU and we have moved other works to the back, along with collaborations, programmes, curatorships, and the rest of her bibliographic data.
We made the decision after long conversations with Idoia about her work and we discovered that it is in these solos that Idoia works with a great singularity. Looking back over the notes from those days, I find the word remainder. The fissures, mantras and massages articulate what we could call the remainder, the leftover, that which cannot be shared during collective processes; that which is out of place, doesn’t fit, falls out or resists being thought. That which drifts, emerges and is frustrated in group work. As I go back to the notes, I realise that in order to develop this idea, I have to go back to Derrida, but what I do instead is to go through Horacio Potel, a strange drift that actually leads me to more than just the word I think I am looking for. I obtained access to Derrida’s texts thanks to him, although I didn’t know it at the time. Horacio transcribed and uploaded his texts online years ago, in the early days of the internet for all, creating a website about the author under the concise name of Derrida in Spanish. A little digging makes me realise that perhaps this idea of a remainder came not from Horacio, but from his tutor at the philosophy faculty, Monica B. Gragnolini. She published a book with the words “Derrida” and “remainder” in the title. I also discover that Horacio took up philosophy as an adult, after studying architecture. I stop for a moment to think about Horacio, I imagine him typing Derrida’s texts into his computer to make them accessible to Spanish-speaking readers, not in just any way, but though experiencing the texts by transcribing them himself. Benjamin was able to appreciate the love that moves copyists. Transcribing is an act of submission, and copying the texts of others had a religious quality for Benjamin, for in copying you put your body into it, and reading in this way opens up certain otherwise unfathomable depths. For me, Idoia is all of this, copying by hand, love, submission, making accessible by crossing otherness with one’s own body; this is how her method is described. That explains Azala, the dance classes of the EHU where many artists had their first contact with body work, p.i.c.a., the singular way in which she trained in New Dance and all her capacity to articulate with machines, to create them, to feed them with undoubted skill, tenacity and talent. What we have put in the foreground in this FOKU is, however, the remainder. That which Horace, the great copyist, the lover of the thicknesses described as the unassimilable, what Melanie Safka called Leftover Wine: Idoia Zabaleta’s indecipherable, obtuse, hostile and indomitable leftover.
FOKU.2 Idoia Zabaleta
20.05.2023 – 08.07.2023
Atoi. Iparragirre 66 L3D, 48012 Bilbao.
Videos, images and audios: Idoia Zabaleta
Basque translations: Hitzek (Irene Hurtado)
English Translations: Ainara Elgoibar
Critical texts: Usue Arrieta
Bibliography: Ainara Elgoibar
Research collaborators: Isabel de Naverán, Andrea Rodrigo
Foku database feed: Rurru Mipanochia
Photo technical assistance: Mikel Eskauriaza
Web programming assistance: Luca Rullo
Bibliographic documentation: Azala, Macba, Ivam, Consonni, Isabel de Naverán, Arte-a, La Fundición, Bilbao Arte, Artium, BAD, Guggenheim Bilbao, Bulegoa z/b, Makusi Archivo Tabakalera, Artxibo Arteleku, Feministaldia, Azkuna Zentroa, Festival Internacional de Cine Punto de Vista.
We would like to acknowledge all the authors of the resources included in this web with whom we have not been able to contact. If you recognise your work and authorship, please contact email@example.com.
Production design: Ainara Elgoibar and Usue Arrieta Otaola
Structure fabrication and installation: Adrián Castañeda
Structure design assistance: Carlos García
Materials: Hierros Etxebarria, Plásticos Zabálburu
Screws and bolts: Consumisa | Oxicorte: Hierros La Vega
Bluing: Pavonados Asúa
Audio recordings: Ibon Aguirre at Audiogela
Electronics: Radio Rhin
Fabric printing: Waixo
Sewing: Begoña Carro
Telecine: Sebastjan Henrickson at Niagara Custom Labs
16mm looper and technical assistance: Bruno Delgado
Automation: Adrian Laurel
Audio system assistance: Tunipanea
Motion graphics assistance: Manu Arregi
Special thanks to: Juan González, Leticia Morales