The Salt Channel, creation without limitations

Thursday, at El Canal de Salt, there was an open rehearsal.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 May 2024 Saturday 05:41
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The Salt Channel, creation without limitations

Thursday, at El Canal de Salt, there was an open rehearsal. It was the turn of the company AzkonaToloza, endorsed by suggestive proposals such as Canto mineral. Now, Laida Azkona and Txalo Toloza are finishing preparations for Cuerpos celestes, which premieres on May 22 in Madrid, at the Condeduque Center, and which will also be seen at the CCCB, inside the Grec, from July 10 to 12.

At El Canal they are working on this montage, which covers the space race from the beginning to the present day, all real, and which is projected into the future, with a character who lives on Mars, Valentina Kutznesova Arteta, and tells us about this not so distant future. "From yesterday to today we have cut it by a quarter of an hour, and we still have to cut it more", explains Azkona to La Vanguardia. "And we have to fix the text and the movements. Now we run into each other and this has to be a choreography", points out Toloza.

"The theater should ask questions, not give answers," he says, and that's why the show begins with questions like: "Do you know how many dozens of different minerals a solar panel has? [...] Do you know how many minerals make up your body?".

In the stands, a long line of twenty spectators, the only thing they have to do is register beforehand; entrance is free. "We don't have regular programming - explains Xavier Díaz, artistic director of El Canal -. What we do are rehearsals open to the community, with a conversation with the artists. In Salt, almost half of the population is a migrant, and these activities favor the creation of community".

In 2007 the development of El Canal began, which in 2012, in the new headquarters, was consolidated as a creative center, along the lines of those in Reus and Terrassa, with three million euros used to condition the equipment like a first class theater. "The goal is to create productions that nourish the theaters with shows," says Díaz. "We don't do exhibitions, because we want to endow the creation with the maximum possible resources."

For this purpose, El Canal has 400 m2 of multipurpose space, has created a new rehearsal room and has warehouses for the circus. Díaz also explains that work will soon begin on the Marta Font house, which the artist bequeathed to the town, where there will be accommodation for up to ten artists. "It will be ready in October. Beyond the rehearsal rooms, we want professionals to be able to stay there, to do technical and artistic residencies if they request it. The residences have a contract of use. In these two years, 83 companies have already been there". In fact, the budget has quadrupled in the three years that Díaz has been in charge of the project, from 230,000 to 950,000 euros.

In this way, El Canal becomes a complete space for artists and companies to work there with all the facilities, and without the pressure that comes with exhibition and ticketing. "We don't give subsidies, but production contracts", remembers Díaz. This means an average of 18,000 euros per project, and 14 are given annually. "Thus we encourage other facilities or festivals to be co-producers of these assemblies". And he reflects: "It seems that there are not enough exhibition spaces, but what is happening is that perhaps there is a lot of production with few resources, and this is what should be modified".

I said above that the only thing the public has to do is fill out a pre-application, but that's not true. Since El Canal is a test bed, the artists also want to know first-hand the opinion of the viewers. Thursday was the first time the AzkonaTolozas had an audience: "Today we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel", declares Azkona.

And the public intervenes, of course. The first to open fire says: "The space you are building is beautiful. And things are understood, but maybe not everything." The second to have his say points out a hypothesis: "If I have understood correctly, a body becomes a molecule". And Toloza replies: "If you have understood this, we consider ourselves satisfied. A body becomes matter and we are all the same. What Valentina says is a mix of all the interviews we've done. Interestingly, many of the people who are engaged in space scientific research recognize that Cosmos, by Carl Sagan, marked them".

The third person who intervenes considers that it is not clear enough what is true and what is not, and Azkona gives her the right: "I think it needs to be emphasized more, with this we disagree with the Txalo". With all these suggestions, we will have to wait for the premiere to see what they have changed and what suggestions they have incorporated. Creation without conditioning. A luxury