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Since March 2016, Random Institute is running the curatorial program for Despacio in San José, Costa Rica.
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Carlos Fernández was born in 1986 in San José, Costa Rica. He lives and works high in the mountains surrounding the capital city.

Station

ArchivedHappened in March 2017
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Despacio

As if it were an appendix of the mothership, Carlos Fernández docks at Despacio a habitat that encapsulates not only his work, but also himself and even a patch of life where each one of us might find ourselves.

Thoughts
Information

COORDINATES:   9°56′00″N 84°05′00″
OTHER MARKERS:   Avenida Central, Calle 11, San José, Costa Rica
RESOURCES:   canvas, plants, seeds (I), Carlos’s hat (II), soil and chicha (III)
ACTIVATIONS:   pedagogical workshops (IV), funky bar (V), seed exchange (VI), and others, still unknown.

  1. a variety of organic, local seeds for corn, beans, pumpkins, green vegetables, forests, and also many staked plants
  2. hat from the indigenous ngäbe community, with stains from a gallon of paint that fell on it accidentally during one of its many journeys between stations
  3. alcoholic beverage obtained through a process of non-distilled corn fermentation that originated in Central and South America in pre-Columbian times
  4. drawing, botany, and urban crop–design workshops
  5. ludic moments by the heat of chicha, with good friends and music
  6. the seeds come from Carlos’s personal plot, from neighbors’ farms, from urban-agriculture projects in San José, and even from abroad, brought as gifts. The plan is to create a “seed center,” a place where they can be exchanged or given to others to plant, so that their harvests yield seeds that keep nourishing the center, thus paving the way for constant renewal.



This is a real person’s temporary and imaginary work camp. At this station, a series of live elements coexist; they are not the final products but parts of a simmering process. It is also an installation that sustains itself through collective participation and collaboration.

While participating in this experience, the concept of excess provides clues and serves as a common thread: in abundance lies beauty. The plants’ greenness blends with its smells and paintings function as registers of past lessons and future explanations. It is imperative to allow oneself to be enchanted by the layers that coat and recoat every corner—superimposed, hidden information, and the possibility of germination in every square centimeter of the space.

We discover that we can access a fragment of a practice that has long represented not the intermingling of one or two disciplines but rather Carlos’s life itself: his everyday to-and-fro and his passion for agriculture, art, botany, and education. The production of this work represents the search to redefine these practices as well as an act of appropriation.

This station, set at the center of San José, will offer moments for learning, contemplation, and dance. Always in the spirit of exchange—of knowledge and experiences, of seeds and the multiple possibilities between practices that will here appear to overflow and interconnect. There is a subtle but continuous invitation of integration; we are invited to engage in the (self)care inherent to the relationship that we can create with the soil and harvest.

Suddenly, art is life understood through the idea of purpose: of working the soil as if it were a canvas; of generating spaces to share or exhibit beyond the traditional ones. Even of needing to collect and exchange seeds as a reflex of turning the gaze toward the beginning, a gesture that seeks to perpetuate life.

Thoughts by Paula Piedra. Translated by Paula Kupfer.

Carlos Fernández's solo show at Despacio in San José, Costa Rica opens March 23th and runs through April 23th, 2017. (Facebook Event)

The indoor garden that is part of the exhibition will remain throughout 2017 and serve as Despacio’s new central archive.

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