Self-Debriefing: “Energía = Si ! Calidad = No !” (Taller Critico) – (2021)


To do the work: “Energía = Si ! Calidad = No !” (Taller Critico) was a truly difficult, beautiful, complex and encouraging experience. I am absolutely happy about the outcome of this art-experience. Here is my ‘Self-Debriefing’ as a testimony, the testimony of the artist, who wants to answer the question: “What makes me happy ?”

– I am happy because the workshop shows me that there is a common will to take time for considering things we are author of with attention and sensitivity and that there is a space and time for going beyond ‘Like’ and ‘Dislike’. I am happy that there are people who engaged themselves throughout the quite demanding preliminary conditions (3 hours of presence, bringing something which you revendicate authorship of, being ready to let your contribution be judged, and also to judge the contribution of the other participants) for participating in the workshop.

– We made – astonishingly – 1991 ‘judgments’ (including mine) with a total of 217 full-participants. ‘Judgments’ means that after each presentation of the contribution, the participants responded by ‘YES’ or by ‘NO, with then the argumentation why ‘YES or ‘NO’, to the question : “Is there energy ? Or is there no energy ?”. These argumentations of the judgments, which lasted 15 to 20 minutes each, were in their profoundness, their preciseness and their originality ‘the’ production of this workshop. That I could take part to these sharing – which were about disagreement, about one’s very own criteria and about sovereignty in judgment – makes me happy.

– I am happy to know, because of my attendance as the artist to all 37 sessions, what people are doing and what they did share with us. It’s incredible to see, hear and feel what people are doing in their home, in their kitchen, in their living room, in their studio, on the street, wherever human creativity is done – not only as artistic production – in order to establish a relation to the world – to get to know this is so encouraging !

– I am happy, even when the start of the workshop was quite difficult – because of less participants than expected after the 3-weeks ‘Fieldwork’ I did in Valencia since spring 2021 – to stand out that this difficulty of the beginning was crucial for the development and improvement of the workshop, which reached more and more participants. Of course the way I invited the residents to attend the workshop during the ‘Fieldwork’ (“it’s only an invitation”, “there is no inscription necessary” and “there is no obligation to come”) did somehow not incite enough those persons I had met to attend the workshop.

– I am happy the workshop – at all times and all circumstances – kept its calm, its quietness, its respectfulness and its sincere confrontation with the proposed thematics. We, participants, kept our concentration and seriousness, while staying truthful to our mission of judging what was shared, but never judging the person. It is really important to note this, and the fact everybody understood it was a strong accomplishment.

– I am happy because the public who attended the workshop was, in its diversity and its heterogeneity an empowering surprise which enriched the experience of all the participants. It was truly outstanding to see how the city of Valencia was represented in its todays problematics. This is the constitutive positive result of the ‘Fieldwork’ previously done in Valencia.

– To have done the 3 Fieldworks – in order to prepare the workshop in Valencia – was an important part of the work. I could encounter about 50 associations, groups of people, activities of Valencian Residencies, and even if finally they did not all attend the workshop, I am happy as artist, having invited them, having not-excluded any of them and – who knows ? – having prepared the possibility of future co-operations with ‘Bombas Gens’ or contacts with art in general for them.

– I am happy that I was assisted in this workshop by Noelia Medina Fernández who, with her presence, her commitment and understanding of the workshop but also her skills as traducer from English into Spanish and backwards, with her competence in the use of technical instruments, helped enormously the workshop to accomplish its destiny.

– Finally, the daily presence, the goodwill and the absolute support at all moments – also in the beginning when less people than expected attended the workshop – of the Bombas Gens director Sandra Guimarães, who invited me to do this workshop, made me – as artist – happy.

If I did wrote here what makes me happy in my Self-Debriefing: “Energía = Si ! Calidad = No !” (Taller Critico), it’s because of this: I am happy. But expressing my happiness as artist who tried to be in relation with the world, with its time and with reality means also being aware about the errors, the non-sufficiency and lacks in my work, and it does not means to be self-satisfied with my work. Being happy means to continue working and believing that the strength, the power and the dynamic of my work are reaching  beyond its errors, its non-sufficiency and its lacks.

Thomas Hirschhorn, November 24th 2021