The interactive corn
Site specific installation
Galería del Poste, Centro Cultural Rojas, UBA, Buenos Aires, 2005

This is a site specific project created for the Centro Cultural Rojas’s “galeria del poste”, an art gallery that works in a lighting pole of the street in front of the center’s main entrance. I covered 3 meters of the pole’s surface with hybrid corns. This regular grid worked like pixels of an image modified by doves, humans and other urban fauna interacting and eating with different patterns.

Doves interacting with Martín Bonadeo’s work

by Susanne Franz

“Which aesthetic criteria will a dove that nests in the cornice of a neoclassical building use when it has to eat?” This question was the starting point of the Argentine artist Martín Bonadeo in his intervention, El choclo interactivo – Interactive corn – for the Galería del Poste at the Centro Cultural Rojas.

The Galería del Poste is a regular lamppost located on the sidewalk, in front of the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, on Buenos Aires' Avenida Corrientes. Lucrecia Urbano was the artist that came up with the idea of using this unusual place to carry out art activities, inviting other artists to make interventions on the lamppost (before Martín Bonadeo, Mauro Giaconi, Mariela Yeregui, Uschi Gröppel and Lorraine Green did some activities around the post). The project is developed by Lucrecia Urbano in collaboration with Eva Grinstein, the Centro Cultural Rojas' curator. They also needed the permission of the municipal official responsible for the city's lighting. The original idea – originated in a similar intervention that Urbano saw in Rio de Janeiro – was born because the renovation work of the gallery inside the Centro Cultural Rojas was taking too long and they wanted to put something in motion.

There has been some movement in recent weeks, especially in the population of doves in the district. Before the opening of his intervention, Martín Bonadeo was already working in the place. For a few days he always went at the same time, to offer some corn seeds to pigeons in preparation and training for their performance. They started with a little hesitation, because another guy have been feeding them regularly on the street corner and was a reliable source of food, but eventually they came.

Bonadeo then dressed the lamppost or the Galería del Poste, from the ground up to a height of about three meters with different types and qualities of corn. He could make some interesting observations so far: the doves preferred perfect (i.e., genetically engineered) corn before those who have minor irregularities or lack of cleanliness, as well as the people who often come at night to steal corns from the lamppost (so that the maize needs to be renewed). Moreover, they do not peck around here and there, but eat in a very tidy way. The question remains whether the flying public will scan after the end of the intervention more lampposts in their neighborhood after a possible corncolored pixel field. About the pigeon's aesthetic criteria when eating, no significant scientific evidence was found.

The interactive corn

Wall text

A grid is composed of hundreds of corns. Most of them are hybrids; only a few are native varieties – richer in shape and colors. Like pixels, each grain has a binary possibility: it could either be there or there could be a hole. Pigeons and other grey agents of the urban fauna will interact with this image eating its pixels and generating a new shape. Which aesthetic criteria will a dove's that nests in the cornice of a neoclassical building use when it has to eat?

As well as the man has domesticated the vegetal kingdom with a minimal aesthetic –ordering grains in a way that the repetition and orthogonality are key patterns in order to be more productive –, he has also domesticated himself and his culture: we are what we eat. This reduction of peculiarities has been imported also from science laboratories to white cubes in art galleries. Both spaces are trying to be as neutral as possible to isolate experiments and pieces of art from the context. My interest with this piece is to generate an experience in the urban space with almost no control, no security guards, no walls, no white cube. What happens if we are trying to appreciate a work of visual art in the sidewalk when a trash truck is compressing waste in the street in front of us?

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