Barcelona is a city that is constantly in a creative and cultural hustle. In every corner of the city you can find an exhibition, a cultural center, a creative activity, an artistic initiative, etc., that is worth to visit. And in this case, you will find it in Poble Sec in the form of a new creative space called Hiroshima which aims to promote alternative performing arts in Barcelona. Know more about this space in this interview with ShBarcelona where we talk with the artistic director of Hiroshima, Gastón Core.
What is Hiroshima?
It is a new independent space located in Poble Sec, just behind the Apolo, which features a bar, a performing arts hall and a hall for concerts and live music. Each activity has its own entrance from the street Vilà Vilà but all of them are connected allowing the public to do a circular route and going through each other and the artistic performings. Hiroshima is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art and new scenes, with special attention to technology applied to dance, physical theater and new circus.
How did the idea of opening this space came up? Why the name “Hiroshima”?
In July 2012, just one of the worst moments of the crisis in Spain, when the government decided to rise the cultural VAT, I thought it was the best time to invest in a project, to imagine a different way of conceiving the management of a private cultural facilities, to build a line of programming and therefore to generate new lines of communication with an audience. This model that I imagined takes shape today in the Hiroshima space.
The name comes from the need to find a symbol. For us Hiroshima also represents rebirth, reconstruction and reflects the ability of the human being inherent in our nature, always begin again whatever happened. Besides the aesthetic connotations obviously related to the cinema and French literature, a beautiful sound, and the oriental imaginary.
Who is behind this creative project and what is your professional background?
The founder of this space was a dancer of the Experimental Ballet of the Eixample, which created very interesting things in the late 70s and was closely associated with Dau al set artists, such as Joan Brossa. She wanted to remain anonymous despite the significant commitment she has made to the cultural area of the city.
What is the current schedule of Hiroshima? What workshops are currently held?
The current programming of these three months since we opened, is a proposal of different parts with different theatrics and ways of understanding the scene. We focus on the performing arts space as we plan to open the concert hall next year, though we have scheduled some concerts at the theater. We are beginning to network with partners such as national festivals as the Fira Tarrega, in Olot. Also with design centers such as El Graner and we recently raised a collaboration with French companies for a call for Euroregion.
Can you tell us something about the future of Hiroshima?
More and more we are open to international artists and companies: the French dance company, Divergences with a stunning adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, Daniel Cook with a performative and political play about the financial crisis in the eurozone countries, Vaca 35, with its new play will be the inaugural show of the season and had a great success in their last visit to Europe, a wonderful contemporary flamenco dance show by Juan Carlos Lérida and many other things that we will announce over the next two months before the holidays.
How it has been the audience feedback after opening Hiroshima?
Fantastic, we had a very good reception, both by the public and the people within the performing arts field in general and the companies, they needed a place like this. We also had a large media coverage, with interviews in print media, digital, radio, television and great reviews of our shows.
What do you think of the current state of the performing arts in Barcelona and, in general, in Spain?
Personally I think it is necessary to create a network of independent exhibition platforms, but with a real alternative offer of public institutions. I think the smaller spaces are doing a fantastic job but often they do the same programming and production strategies of large spaces. I miss a range of small productions, more experimental, riskier and more focused on non-textual or conventional dramas, the result of different and innovative creative processes. Overall I think it is necessary that the public begins to bet by unknown artists, by foreign small-format proposals, for alternative spaces and unusual, surprising scenes. I think we need to teach the public to be able to join these new scenes, giving them tools to decode these other languages and also provide a more comprehensive, beyond the mere fact of entering a dark room to witness a performance experience. We have to give importance to everything else around the time of the play. Making the performance spaces and theater in general, a meeting and celebration point.