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Archiving the Art of the Financial Crisis

Cronica21 is a compendium of everything bad that's happened to Spain since 2008.
2014 juli 01, 12:00pm

Carlos Spottorno, The Pigs

They say an artist has to suffer for his art. If that's not pure bullshit, Southern Europe should have been undergoing a renaissance since 2008, when the global economic crisis hit the region. At least that's what Gonzalo Höhr believes, which is why he set up Cronica21 – a compendium of artworks made in Spain during these fucked up times.

I caught up with his to talk about the project in more detail.

VICE: Hi, Gonzalo. What is Crónica21 about?
Gonzalo Höhr: It is a multimedia collection of projects that discuss the Spanish crisis in one way or another. So many photographers, documentary makers, illustrators, journalists and musicians have produced great work that is related to the current socio-economic situation. Crónica21 is a “container” of those projects, and it is meant to grow with time. The aim is to put everything on the record, so that nobody forgets what it has been like in the future.

Enric Català, Ciudadanos Preferentes

How did the idea come about?
A few years ago, photographer Jessica Murray and I set up Al-liquindoi – a platform through which we organise photographic workshops in the Middle East and Central Asia. Last year, we carried out a project in Cairo with local photojournalists. Everyone spoke about the social and political unrest in Cairo but from different perspectives. It became apparent that it was only when you brought all those acocunts together, that you could get a clear view of what was going on.

We thought that the crisis in Spain was similarly affecting many segments of society. So we came up with Crónica21 because we believe in the power of a collective voice. We thought it would be good to build an ever-growing, free, active and multidisciplinary online archive of the crisis.

Olmo Calvo, En Crisis

How many projects have you archived so far?
We currently have about 150 projects in the archive, and will upload more over time. These are photographs, documentaries, articles, illustrations, literary and musical works as well as websites.

How do you select those projects? Can anyone submit their work?
Of course! In fact, we feed off of word of mouth. People write to us to show us their projects or to give us references. Regarding our criteria, we look for quality works of a reflective kind. Long-term works that have a critical, constructive view of the recession.

José Colón, 3,5 Millones de Pobres

I believe you had to turn to crowdfunding to keep the project afloat, is that correct?
Yes, the archive is public and free. It serves as a showcase for the projects exhibited and their authors. We are not an agency or intermediaries of the material that Crónica21 possesses.

That’s why we need to look for ways of financing "on the street" – so to speak. So far we have been working with donations but we also have a page on Verkami for crowdfunding. It can really help us boost our archive and to keep nourishing the project in the short term.