Urak dakar

There are four parts to Urak dakar (Water Carries) the 2022-2023 edition of Space is The Place / The Place is Space. Four artist workshops from March – November 2022 followed by a film programme on 16 November 2022, a series of encounters on 18-19 November 2022 and an exhibition in February-March 2023.

Urak dakar, the 2022-2023 edition of Space is the Place / The Place is Space intends to explore the potential of the encounter as a situation where we can create shared experiences and spaces of possibility. We want to work with imagination, fiction and memory inscribed in bodies as means for speculating and producing forms of representation that might disrupt previously constructed narratives of history and help us resituate ourselves in the present and imagine other moments still to come.

The estuary is not a river. It is a meeting place. A place where waters meet: the river’s, as it follows its course, and the sea’s as they wash inland.

At a certain point the river turns from being a river into a place where the sea penetrates inland, an estuary. The tongue of salt water is subject to the action of the tides. When the tides rise the water seems to run upstream, as if time and gravity were moving against all logic, backwards, like on a Moviola. The contradiction is apparent: an estuary (ría) is not a river (río). Upstream or downstream, the waters are still flowing.

The gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun create and rule the rhythms of the tides on an estuary. Their time is cyclical. The tides care nothing for the past, present and future of cyclical time.

While the waters of the Bilbao estuary follow the tides and their cyclical rhythms, its riverbanks submit to the impositions of linear or historical time. The Abandoibarra area –the epicentre of the urban transformations in the city at the end of the twentieth century that gave rise to what became known as the “Bilbao effect”– today is the site of a museum, a university auditorium, a university library, a conference hall, a skyscraper, a shopping centre, a hotel and several luxury homes. Thirty years ago, one could find a shipyard, a container terminal, warehouses and a number of loading cranes. Several decades before that, some of the dockyard equipment shared the site with a shanty town built by migrant workers searching for a living.

Urak dakar is supported by the Basque Government, Diputación Foral de Bizkaia and Zinebi 64.