Crear como quien hace bibliotecas

Universidad popular

De laudibus Crucis. Beato Rabano Mauro Beato (siglo IX). Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Directed by: Marta van Tartwijk and Javier Pérez Iglesias

We thought we could start in the following way: referencing a lecture that, in turn, referenced Georg Simmel. The person who referenced him said something about how we get to know ourselves by seeing how others look at us and that, without others, it is impossible to have a subjective experience. We were, however, unable to attend this lecture; we watched it at home on YouTube, sometime after the event. Despite not having shared that physical time and space, we also felt, as we watched, equally observed by Simmel’s eyes, present within the eyes of the lecturer. This made us wonder which eyes we have within our own eyes, and if, perhaps, looking at ourselves is in fact like two mirrors facing each other.

Looking is a way of making things present. We believe that this is the strange place that can be unlocked by archives and libraries. A temporary confusion that is manifested in the grasping, reviving, appropriating, incorporating, combining, sectioning, swallowing, reworking processes. We want to see, but we also want to find that which observes us and invites us in.

Via this programme, we want to explore the power of texts or some methods of creating them: bibliographies, footnotes, quotes, comments, margin notes… A common text is created through them, an entity that transcends time in search of bodies to give it meaning and make it grow. This way of writing, featuring quotes and comments, makes us read as though we were writing, as if we were playing at cutting and pasting once again.

universidad popular
Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Conjunto vacío (Pepitas, 2017).

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Cutting and pasting: bibliographies, notes, comments and quotes for a library utopia

WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER 18:00- 20:30


Let’s say that the situation is as follows:

A conversation can be a text.

The text can be an offence to the world in order to create new worlds. A world (2) to be the copy of another world (1).

The text is a world.

Editing is creating a text.

Library practices entail creating a text.

Artistic practices can be to create a text.

We copy only that which we like, what we desire, and honestly, we copy far too much. In this way, texts are essentially formed by desire and by other texts, just as a library is formed by books. A series of concatenations also present in the margin notes, the comments or the bibliography that often come to an end because they must, but that could probably be infinite otherwise. Quoting, whether furtively or intentionally, is one of a text’s greatest components. A reproduction that multiplies, widens or shrinks until it becomes a miniature: the cut-out, the babushka doll, the mise en abyme. Quoting can mean including, generating a link between one practice and another, disturbing time. Perhaps we could think of any creative act as a loop, one turn connected to another, a gesture that repeats. Appropriating can be an act of generosity towards the past, while also expanding towards the future. Something along the lines of a thought kefir, a living organism that reproduces, creating new senses. This loop, kefir, collage is often called a library, club, affinity. 

So, if we think about it another way, we think of the archive as a place of deceit, and of that deceit as the creator. We want to make a case for the disguise (for the being inside it), and approach imitation as a triumph. Sometimes, it is only by being the other(s) that we find ourselves and can, at last, have a conversation.

Marta van Tartwijk works in the development of an artistic practice. Between 2015 and 2020, she was the CA2M’s librarian, paying special attention to its “other publications” section.

Javier Pérez Iglesias is part of an international community that creates libraries. He sings badly (although he loves to do so) and is not a good dance partner (though he is always eager to hit the dancefloor). Since 2013, he programmes, writes, quotes, reads, comments and shares experiences from the UCM Fine Arts Faculty Library

Conejo Pato, 2020

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. “Burning of the archive”: Notes for a seropositive library

WEDNESDAY 3 NOVember 18:00 - 20:30


Can everything really be found in books? Which archives create an epidemic? Do the editorial process and an epidemic last the same length of time? Does the death of bodies mean the death of books? Which (other) bibliographies allow us to read about the impact of HIV/Aids on art history? During this talk I will discuss the project “Burning the Archive: Stories, Images and Documents in a Seropositive Library” that, in collaboration with the UCM Fine Arts Faculty Library, aims to revise and enrich library collections that promote works of fiction built around the HIV/Aids pandemic in art history (particularly, those created outside the Euro-American context). Besides proposing the acquisition of a curated selection of publications, the project also has an editorial dimension, as “Burning the Archive” is a collaborative publication too, bringing together articles written by specialists on the topic from such countries as Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Chile. If the story has not yet finished and the Aids pandemic is not yet over, how can we restore the memory and value of those artistic expressions and life trajectories that do not fill extensive volumes of work but are, rather, more like margin notes on a page?

Yuji Kawasima has a PhD in Art History from the Complutense University of Madrid. Since 2019, he has coordinated the postgraduate programmes at the Reina Sofía Museum Study Centre. He works in the fields of research, curation, cultural management, teaching and art criticism, with particular interest in practices linked with gender and queer studies in the context of Latin America.

Fugue 17 in A Minor, BWV 862, example of polyphonic counterpoint, part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Polyphonic bibliographies

WEDNESDAY 10 NOVEMBER 18:00 - 20:30


The textualities are deeply polyphonic, encompassing many utterances and speeches entrenched in the desire to simplify linguistics, reducing their voices to just one. Forcing the lack of a hyperlink, and exploiting the rupture of that established intertextuality in the referenced quote denotes the implicit and uncovers the literal, thus generating other relationships that exist between the texts and their voices. Polyphonic bibliographies form part of Pretexts, Texts, Contexts, a publication conceived for a symphonic reading where 100 voices simultaneously read out loud each of the quotes within it. Its first activation took part during the Unclassifiable Editors Meeting, held in Salamanca’s Casa de las Conchas Library on 26 September 2020, eighty years after the death of Walter Benjamin.

Blanca Sotos Vidal holds a degree in Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid and completed a Master’s Degree in Editing at the University of Salamanca. She is now a teacher and an independent editor. She is interested in experimental editorial processes and contemporary creations. She has lived in Mexico for almost ten years where, among other things, she has been in charge of Exit La Librería, of the editorial department at the Jumex Museum, and organised the third edition of the PaperWorks Art Book Fair. She has been the head of marcablanca in Madrid since 2018.


Alejandro Simón
Alejandro Simón, 2021

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. How to Remember What You Have Never Lived

WEDNESDAY 17 NOVEMBER 18:00 - 20:30


How to Remember What You Have Never Lived

Can someone else’s memory become your own? What about collectively?

The language of narratives of the past relies on sources and is made up of written and spoken texts. From an academic perspective, these are the primary sources: books, scientific and entertainment magazines, newspapers, journals, official documents, technical and research reports, patents, technical regulations. And, secondary sources include: encyclopaedias, anthologies, directories, books or articles that interpret other people’s work or research. 

But memories are not just a matter of the past. Remembering something is an act and, therefore, an experience, a development, a desire, an emotion, an urge, sadness, awakening, work, the coexistence of the past and the future. If history tends to follow a line, sometimes a very straight one, like the horizon, a memory is a sea.

Alejandro Simón is a researcher, artist and professor at the Salamanca Fine Arts Faculty. He has been part of MINECO’s “Critical Visualities: cultural ecologies and common research” and “Critical Visualities: rewriting narratives through images” R&D groups based at the Complutense University of Madrid. His works have been published by Brumaria, and Archivos Bellaterra, among others.

Collage by Clara Moreno based on one of her illustrations and the cover of the book Fantasmita eres pegamento by Leticia Ybarra, published by Caniche Editorial.

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Carlos Copertone and Clara Moreno

WEDNESDAY 24 NOVEMBER 18:00 - 20:30

Carlos Copertone (editor of Caniche and curator) along with Clara Moreno Cela (artist and cultural mediator) come together on this occasion to discuss the amicable relationship between Art and books. They think about the editing language and the paper, they organise their thoughts in terms of the page limits and speak of their infinite possibilities. Anything that can fill the pages of a book is susceptible to providing a meeting point between the two, and they will do their utmost to take the conversation from the reading couch to the most unsuspecting editorial places. 

Clara Moreno Cela lives, works and is completing her PhD in Madrid. Her work swings between drawing, performance, comics and cultural mediation. She is interested in producing art through everyday means and pours her energy into thinking about the function of intuition in the artistic process, the human-canine relationship and Costumbrist conversations. She works with lo-fi textures and an amalgam of authentic-trash literature. She sometimes sings with her solitary musical project Clara Sings for You, other times she illustrates books, holds interviews, writes or hosts workshops.

Carlos Copertone studied Law and for his PhD studied the ways in which cities grow. As part of his teaching practice, he would take to the streets in order to discover and rethink them: All of this has progressively brought him closer to the field of architecture and of contemporary art. He has curated various exhibits. He also edits books and works closely with Caniche, a publishing house and action platform outside of the traditional gallery circuits that was set up in 2015. He works between Madrid and Bilbao.


Ana Pol, 2021

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Exiled: Twisting spaces, spinning things, compressing memories

WEDNESDAY 1 DECEMBER 18:00 - 20:30 


Exile is an experience that, due to its radical nature, is abrupt about relocation, uprooting and dispossession. The exiled person must leave their space and reconfigure their new position. In this discussion, we will revert to this figure in order to explore matters of spatiality as they affect corporeality, particularly regarding the idea that space and body are not two separate notions and how they affect each other’s displacement. For this purpose, we will use phenomenological perspectives that interpret space from feminist standpoints and intersect them with questions that stem from artistic practices. We will also observe how language is imbued with spatial terminology and how that shapes it – in an insidious manner – the way in which we interact with the world. Like a spell, like something that increases over time, out of control, haunted. 

Ana Pol holds a degree in Fine Arts and Social and Cultural Anthropology, and a PhD in Fine Arts: Her thesis explored “Poetics based on trauma and affections. Articulations of other [auto]biographical voices between wars”. Since 2006, she has worked as a professor at the University of Salamanca’s Fine Arts Faculty in the field of Sculpture. In her research, she tackles subjects such as trauma and affections through performative and textual practices. She has become increasingly interested in working this interwoven body-text through movement, or more precisely through perceptual-kinetic-sensitive processes and devices that affect our subjectivities.

María Rosón is a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid’s Art History Department.

After obtaining her PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid she worked as a researcher at the Reina Sofía Museum Collections Department and at the University of Valencia’s Language Theory and Communication Sciences Department. Her lines of research focus on visual and material culture, mainly 20th century Spanish, intersected with feminist/gender studies.

Calco de Imagen
Kathy Acker image replicas

UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Something that all writings desire: a choreographed reading and collective commentary

WEDNESDAY 15 DECEMBER 18:00 - 20:30


During this edition offered by the Universidad Popular we address artistic practices from different angles through texts, libraries and archives, until we reach the final session. As a conclusion we ask that everyone, lecturers and audience alike, participate in a collective reading of Kathy Acker’s Great Expectations to do something with a text that all writings yearn for, though they may never utter the words.



Type of activity
Popular University
Intended for
Anyone interested
18:00 – 20:30
Miércoles del 27 de octubre al 15 de diciembre
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Cutting and pasting: bibliographies, notes, comments and quotes for a library utopia
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. “Burning of the archive”: Notes for a seropositive library
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Polyphonic bibliographies
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. How to Remember What You Have Never Lived
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Carlos Copertone and Clara Moreno
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Exiled: Twisting spaces, spinning things, compressing memories
Date of event
UNIVERSIDAD POPULAR. Something that all writings desire: a choreographed reading and collective commentary
Date of event
Attendance open and free while places last