Staging the Planetary Interregnum - University of Colorado Denver CAP

Amaia Sánchez-Velasco, Jorge Valiente Oriol, Gonzalo Valiente Oriol with the support of Gabriel Herrada, Brandon Wunder and Hannah Drummond. Images by Brandon Wunder.

First exhibition commissioned by the University of Colorado Denver CAP Exhibition and Lecture Committees Sarah Hearne and Leyuan Li as part of an ongoing project to consider new formats for scholarly research. The exhibition was showcased at UC Denver Campus from April 17 to June 30 2024.

“Interregnum” is a Roman legal term that refers to the interim period between the death of a sovereign and the enthronement of the successor, a moment of political indefinition where anything could happen or, as Antonio Gramsci described it, a time when “the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Without underestimating the worrying parallelisms between the time when Gramsci wrote this in his Prison Notebooks and today’s worldwide re-emergence of fascist, nationalistic, and religious anxieties, GRANDEZA STUDIO will discuss how today’s “planetary interregnum” could also be seen as the time-space in which inherited “truths” reveal themselves as historically contingent constructs and, therefore, are susceptible of critical enquiry and transformation.

Through a multimedia session and an exhibition showcase at the CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning, GRANDEZA STUDIO unpacked how their creative practice entangles with research, design, writing, performance, filmmaking, and pedagogy. The team embarked on a multi-scalar journey across a series of allegorical scenographies of the “interregnum”, including the Great Barrier Reef, a gigantic mountain of salty debris in Barcelona, ​​the Pilbara region in Northwestern Australia and the surface of Mars, amongst others. By delving into the material and discursive traces of violence reshaping these territories, the team makes tangible and connects local phenomena with complex global dynamics inscribed in current processes of extractive, ecosystemic and social destruction.

Understood as architectural recompositions of bodies, discourses, objects, and territories, these allegorical scenographies become a departure point from which to engage in acts of radical political imagination. In these acts, GRANDEZA STUDIO put their bodies in service of a perpetual rehearsal, trial and error, hypothesis making, world-unmaking-and-making, and a necessary process of collective unlearning.

Publication on the exhibition: e-flux