“Grigri” is the name given in West Africa to objects that are used as amulets.
“Pixel” is the smallest element of a digital image.
Grigri Pixel is a program of residences, workshops and seminars that wants to explore the practices of cultural cooperation and citizenship between Africa and Europe, by manufacturing grigris or magical objects to protect and reenchant urban spaces through artistic practices and digital manufacturing, collaboratively and experimentally from both continents. We understand the magical as the practices that are still to be built, the collective processes that are difficult to measure and quantify, the learnings that arise in the limits of the unexpected and that are capable of changing ourselves by changing our closest environment.
From this program, collective creation spaces are proposed to respond to the need for other stories and other ways of intervening in the city based on the experience of invited initiatives from the African continent, often ignored, and that is only 14.4 km from ours.
This continent, immense, rich and diverse, has undergone an accelerated urbanization process, in which, simultaneously, the DIY and the culture of the apaño are the basis of many learnings and exchanges. This ability to put into play hybrid forms between the public and the private, the formal and informal, the sacred and the profane is a constant in historical and contemporary African social practices, producing innovative and suggestive ways to reinvent the urban.
This is how Grigri Pixel aims to connect and link these city creation experiences between Europe and Africa in order to raise common questions capable of making visible synergies, meeting points or differences in practices and re-enchantment processes for Common life within the city.
In this way, this initiative seeks to generate alliances with spaces, projects and local communities of the collaborating cities, with whom it cooperates in the collective construction of grigris, protective objects that materialize and symbolize the creative potential of the collective in the city against processes of homogenization and commercialization of their common spaces.
Grigri Pixel thus seeks to weave a network of contemporary urban initiatives and practices of a transformative nature that facilitates the exchange and learning of different knowledge and strategies in the creation of common urban spaces for a diverse and multicultural citizenship.
Grigri Pixel emerged in 2016 at the Medialab Prado contemporary cultural creation center on the initiative of Susana Moliner. Curator and cultural promoter from Madrid, she has worked for years with artists and communities from different West African countries. The design and revitalization of the workshop is carried out by David Pérez (Madrid), an architect specialized in collective design processes; Yago Torroja (Madrid), electronic engineer and professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Blanca Callén independent researcher .
The program began with a first experience in February-March 2016 at Medialab Prado in Madrid, and continued with a second laboratory that took place in May of that same year in Dakar in the framework of the fifth edition of the Afropixel festival organized by the Kër Thiossane independent art center.
In October 2017, the second edition of Grigri Pixel was held in Medialab Prado (Madrid) with a production workshop in collaboration with EVA Espacio Vecinal de Arganzuela, in addition to other activities in cultural spaces of the city. Likewise, the initiative continued in November 2017 in Barcelona where a production workshop was held in collaboration with HANGAR and the Taula Eix Pere IV, both entities located in the Poble Nou neighborhood.
The third edition of Grigri Pixel, took place between October 15 and 28 in Medialab Prado, and revolved around the Right to the City, designing, building and activating objects and actions that were part of a festive intervention as a pilgrimage in the Barrio de las Letras, in the Central District of Madrid. In 2019, the fourth edition is carried out under the theme of «Hospitality».
V EDITION GRIGRI PIXEL 2020
The Grigri Pixel program, over the four editions developed to date, has constituted a space for reflection and open action on exploration and collective elaboration of a great diversity of content around different thematic blocks. All of them are linked somehow to communal life in the city.
For the fifth edition of Grigri Pixel, we propose a framework around possible futures in the city. A proposal that advocates recovering the future from the detection of our common problems, those that are capable of crossing different languages, tasks, and capacities and that have the potential to re-enchant and re-symbolize the spaces of our cities; to elaborate other narratives, and to teach us other transformative practices, from which to imagine other futures in a common world.
In 2019 the fourth edition of Grigri Pixel is celebrated, around the theme of hospitality, with two main objectives: on the one hand, reflect on the power that arises in a territory when it is able to open, facilitate the meeting and give rise to to that apparently different, foreign and strange and; on the other hand, to demonstrate the capacity of these processes to enrich people participating on them, expanding their horizons and common imaginary.
The program is organized from May to October from three sessions in collaboration with the SERCADE reception center, a conversation between Marina Garcés and Felwine Sarr in Madrid, a workshop in Niamey, Niger and the planned production workshop from 14 to 27 October 2019 together with the African initiatives selected from Burkina Faso, Niger, Morocco, Dakar and Mozambique.
The third edition of Grigri Pixel, held from October 15 to 28 in Medialab Prado, has revolved around the Right to the City, activating objects, actions and a collective investigation, which has resulted in a festive intervention as a Pilgrimage by the Barrio de Las Letras, to conjure and re-enchant the No-Plaza, which is located between Verónica Street and Gobernador Street, proposing to live the city as a meeting place and collective creativity, and to appeal, starting from this experience, to other memories and imaginary of a multicultural and diverse citizenship.
This workshop was held with 20 local collaborators with the presence of the sound artist Abdellah M. Hassak del Musée Collectif, Casablanca; Mama Kone of Festival Art Femme, Bamako and Mmakhotso Lamola of Limbic Resonance of Cape Town, as well as the support of Lalya Gaye of Newcastle as guest artist.
II EDITION GRIGRI PIXEL 2017
The magic of Grigri lies, in part, in the fact of sharing with others a process of collaborative imagination, creation and construction. In that collaboration, knowledge, ways of doing and visions are exchanged about the city, its common spaces and what it is that we believe takes care of and protects us as inhabitants of those spaces.
In October 2017, the second edition of Grigri Pixel was held in Medialab Prado (Madrid) with a production workshop in collaboration with EVA Espacio Vecinal de Arganzuela, in addition to other activities in cultural spaces of the city along with Mané Ndeye of Senegal, Aderemi Adegbite from Nigeria, Ismael Essome from Cameroon and Afate Gnikou from Togo and Bay Dam from Senegal.
In addition, the initiative continued in November 2017 in Barcelona, where a production workshop was held in collaboration with Modou Ngom of Senegal and Zainab Fasiki at the HANGAR art production and research center and in collaboration with the neighborhood association Taula Eix Pere IV, both entities located in the Poble Nou neighborhood.
I EDITION GRIGRI PIXEL 2016
Within the framework of the Common Objects project, the first edition of the Grigri Pixel workshop was held in Madrid between February and March 2016 and continued with a second laboratory that took place in May of that year in Dakar within the framework of the fifth edition of the Afropixel festival organized by the independent art center Kër Thiossane. The objective was to manufacture energy-efficient urban objects to generate alliances between citizen management spaces in different African countries and the self-managed community garden Esta es una plaza.