“Through this project we want to intensify shared fantasies, beyond those imposed on us”
Interview with the Argentine artist, Osías Yanov, who will organize the 'Diversorium, live arts and coexistence space', in Barcelona in 2022.
With a multidisciplinary practice combining celebration, installation, sculpture, and video, Argentinean artist Osías Yanov has been chosen to organise the Diversorium. Live Arts and a Space for Coexistence. Stay tuned for dates and venue announcements.
Yanov—whose work resists any stereotyping control of subjectivity and intersects with queer theory, night life, and group work—is already deep in the production process together with Commissioners María Oliver and Antonio Centeno, and the mediator of the Barcelona Concomitentes project, Veronica Valentini.
In this interview we talk to Yanov in his Buenos Aires studio, where they tell us more about the process so far.
Concomitentes: Your work takes place at the hybrid threshold between performance and sculpture. How would you describe your work and what do you aim to do through your practice?
Osias Yanov: In my work, the performative aspect and interrelation with other groups is geared towards perceiving sensibilities that come to light when we move collectively. In other words: what experiences emerge in a body that extends beyond the individual? I develop participatory group practices that sometimes rub up against notions of gender, sexuality, class, and age, which become something else.
C: Your practice and the Diversorium have many things in common: bodies coming together, parties, performativity, and the intersection between different kinds of beings. What went through your mind when project mediator Vero Valentini invited you to take part in the project?
OY: This project is a continuation of what I’ve been exploring for a long time: the idea of parties as a spaces for sociability, celebrating pleasure, sensuality, and sexuality as acts that transcend the personal. Parties are not individual ceremonies but public and political opportunities generated in groups, which affect us through dissidence as sanctuaries and as sensitive, transformative acts.
C: You’ve mentioned that you’re used to connecting and working with other bodies. What does the Concomitentes modus operandi based on participation, listening, and exchange inspire in you?
OY: It’s a contradictory situation for me. On the one hand, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of providing solutions to needs through my work. It’s a complex position, but at the same time, the idea of implementing the tools and instruments I’ve been developing in dialogue with a community resonates with me.
C: What does it mean to socialise artistic tools in a project like this?
OY: I think that’s how those of us working on the project see it: we want to socialise tools in order to facilitate processes. Together, we’re questioning how to enable encounters between people with and beyond our existing structures and diversities.
C: In this process, how are you finding working with the Commissioners Oliver and Antonio Centeno?
OY: It's interesting work that weaves together activist, political, and economic perspectives. And from the artistic point of view, it becomes material for exploring new subjectivities and dismantling the crushing, imposed “normality” that oppresses us. In this context, my work with Antonio and María is about establishing what we want to dismantle and what subjectivities we want to highlight in the bond that is created between functional diversity, pleasure, and celebration.
C: Have you found common ground with them, as well as with the project?
OY: We agree that the world of parties, pleasure, and sexuality is a political platform and that it needs to come to the forefront. Through this project, we want to intensify shared fantasies, beyond those imposed on us. So we’re organising this dialogue to bring out those desires and express them in a material form.
C: What’s the artistic proposal you’re working on?
OY: The project has become vast and many-sided. It includes performative gatherings, movement practices, sculptural situations, and the use of costumes, which is intensified with the involvement of participants.
C: And what’s it like working on a project with so many aspects, from Argentina and on such a tight schedule?
OY: I prefer projects that don’t go on for ever. Projects based on simultaneous actions rather than centres, in which information travels from place to place.
C: How will you handle the logistical aspect of artistic production from Argentina?
OY: That schedule is precisely what I’m working on these days. For practical reasons, certain pieces and even some small dress rehearsals are going to take place in Buenos Aires. I’m going to fly over there a month before the festival to get to know the space and finalise who to work with.
C: Is it exciting to have your work seen on this side of the Atlantic?
OY: I was a bit scared at first, because of the scale of the event—which started out as a party and turned into a festival—and because of the complexity we had to deal with when we realised that we wanted to break the hierarchy between stage and audience. That meant unifying everything into a single choreographic event and a single meaning, between high and low. In this work, the actions take place at the nexus of stage and public space.
C: And how do you achieve that through an artwork?
OY: I’d like to see a celebration of interdependence take place, and we’re going to practice it through the use of costumes, objects, and movements that sensitize and sensualize the connections between bodies.
C: It sounds like a challenge, to join together all these shared fantasies and dreams and to give them a material form…
OY: There are many layers to this project, from ease of access when arriving at a party to how we share and inhabit the celebration once we’re there. I think it’s important to approach this space from the point of view of desire.
C: Could you say a little more about how you use these explorations of sexuality in your artistic practice?
OY: Trying to overthrow “normal” is always disturbing work. Because those of us who consider ourselves subaltern do so from the divergence of not wanting to be “normal”, but at the same time we’re marked by that divergence. This kind of social repression, like others, constrains our bodies. To physically and conceptually explore sexuality through practices, exercises, games, skins, performance, and forms of contact is a way of undermining normativity, and allows for the emergence of other imaginaries in which to make space for ourselves.