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An opportunity to become the citizen-commisioner of a piece of artwork.
Concomitentes is a non-profit association founded in June 2018 to promote the creation of artworks that engage with their social context. Concomitentes invites civil society groups to become the citizen-commissioners or “comitentes” of an artwork, and then accompanies them through the ensuing process of negotiation.
The underlying methodology was developed by the artist François Hers in 1990 and has had an enormous social and cultural impact wherever it has been implemented. Over the past 25 years, it has given rise to more than 500 projects in various European countries.
A mediated negotiation between citizen-commissioners and artists.
Any group of people with a wish for their community and an interest in addressing the subject through the creation of an artwork can contact Concomitentes. The process begins with a preliminary stage in which the proposal is discussed and assessed. If the conclusion is that there is a real interest and a committed group of citizen-commissioners, a mediator joins the project and accompanies the group until the process is complete.
Together, the commissioners and the mediator work with the initial proposal to define a brief for an artist. The subsequent process of bringing together the artistic concept and the ideas of the commissioning group is the bedrock of all our projects. Once an arrangement has been reached, production of the agreed-upon work begins.
Art fosters an understanding where words are missing.
At the root of each concomitancia (the name how we denominate our co-commissioned projects) there is a proposal for work that is relevant not only to the commissioning group, but also to the context that they are part of. The finished work may or not reach many people: the crucial thing is that the initial motivation must be shared.
The process of negotiating and the proposed artwork generates a new space for exchange and communication that opens up a dialogue among the various social actors. People who were strangers come together, new opinions are given a voice and collaboration with the artist/s gives everyone involved the opportunity to consider their surroundings from a new perspective.
The processes require a high degree of commitment by all involved parties. Two or more years can easily pass between the first contact and the formalization of the artwork. But this co-creation by artists, citizens and mediators generates something truly transformative: artworks with a deeper tie to society and the local context.
All you need is an idea and the desire to make it a reality.
Citizen-commissioners were for example:
A French association of pigeon fanciers that envisioned an iconic pigeon loft that should help them to promote this age-old tradition among young people.
The residents of Pritzwalk, a village in the north-east of Germany, who wanted to fight the decline of the historic town center and to explore new prospects for its use.
To date, around five hundred citizens’ groups in several European countries have commissioned projects. In some parts of Europe, citizen-commissioned art has become a fixture of cultural life.
To ensure that everybody involved is satisfied with the process.
Concomitentes is present in the field through the mediators. They are professionals with a solid knowledge of contemporary art and a special sensibility for mediating between citizen-commissioners and artists.
They are listeners, familiar with the social context that the projects spring from and they are in regular contact with the agents that operate in it, from public administrations to neighbourhood initiatives. They listen, they do research and, as a result of those inputs, they choose the art proposal that will be carried out.
Once the collaboration with the citizen-commissioners begins, the mediators help to refine the initial proposal, suggest artists, coordinate the artwork production, and intervene in the negotiations between the parties involved. Their goal is to ensure that all the people taking part in the project are satisfied with the resulting artwork.
Concomitentes works with professional artists of repute who have the capacity to develop their vision in close collaboration with the group of citizen-commissioners.
Regardless of their field or artistic discipline, the artists accept the commission as a springboard from which to contribute new perspectives.
The methodology on which Concomitentes is based has been used to produce tangible results such as renovation of a school.
The appropriateness of the resulting artwork, and its social acceptance, will depend on the willingness of all parties to share their knowledge and find ways of working together.
And, as the citizen commissioners own the work of art that they have commissioned, the affect that they and their community have for the artwork determines its value and lifespan.
Concomitentes is a non-profit cultural production association, founded in June 2018, by Fran Quiroga, current coordinator, Felipe G. Gil (ZEMOS98), Veronica Valentini and Sören Meschede , together with Julia Morandeira.
In addition to the founding members and members of the board, Concomitentes has a board of trustees that watches over the entity's mission and vision, and is composed by Soledad Gutiérrez, art curator; Antonella Broglia, Italian publicist, cultural promoter, trainer, lecturer, television presenter and actress, expert in political communication, public speaking, entrepreneurship and social innovation; Tere Badia, until 2022 general secretary of 'Culture Action Europe'; Anastassia Makridou-Bretonneau, mediator Nouveaux Commanditaires of the Fondation de France; and Arantxa Mendiharat, co-founder of Deliberative.
The project places the constant accountability of its work and activity at the center, through an active intersection with the citizenry, thus ensuring that it is aligned with the needs and social emergencies of the environment, in which it operates, and contributing to the change and evolution of society through the tools and resources that art and culture facilitate.
Concomitentes relies public funding bodies, as well as on private patrons.
Thanks to the support of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation –the main sponsors of Nouveaux Commanditaires and promotor of Concomitentes in Spain– we begin with a solid pilot project, which guarantees core funding for four concomitancias around the country and for the administrative structure that surrounds them.
Even so, the production of the artworks will require more financial support. During this stage of the concomitancia, mediators play the role of producers and look for possible sponsors in local, regional, and national government, as well as possible private patrons.
The group of citizen-commissioners does not contribute funding, but it promotes the project and proposes possible partners that can contribute to the production of the artwork.
The resulting work, financed with private and public subsidies, becomes the property of the group of citizen-commissioners. Its value is determined by the use and symbolic importance given to it by the community in which it is inserted and by the ties and network generated as a result of the entire process.
Together we conform Concomitentes, an entity that seeks to open up to new projects in the entire Spanish geography.
Coordination, Fran Quiroga: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project management, Alicia Ruíz: email@example.com
Communication, Noelia Barrientos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Felipe G. Gil, mediator of Pediatric ICU: email@example.com
Veronica Valentini, mediator of Diversorium: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sören Meschede, mediator of Aguas Vivas: email@example.com
Alejandro Alonso, mediator of Aguas Vivas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alfredo Escapa Prensa, mediator of Narrativas Solares: email@example.com
Natalia Balseiro, mediator of Land Commons: firstname.lastname@example.org