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Thieves. Mabel Palacín

— 6th edition of the Co-Production Award

10 December — 17 January 2020

Thieves. Mabel Palacín
Mabel Palacín, 'Lladres', 2020. Still de vídeo

'Lladres' - the winning project of the Co-Production Award by artist Mabel Palacín -, explores the complex relationship between image and language, as extensively expressed in the audiovisual tradition.

As in the telephone charades, a message leaves Barcelona and crosses Europe, going from one person to another, from one language to another, until it arrives in Moscow were the final recipient issues an answer. The characters never meet in person yet they are connected through the recorded message. Throughout this journey, the true protagonist is the voice, the spoken word.

The message travels in constant transformation from one person to another, until it reaches the final recipient having been inevitably modified. Thieves portrays communication as an aesthetic experience — not in terms of the accuracy with which the message has been conveyed, but by emphasizing the nature of exchange that every act of communication implies. As the French thinker Georges Bataille postulated, Thieves conceives language as a contagious process, nothing more than a conduit for communication processes.

Palacín has deliberately chosen mobile phones to make the project’s recordings, as they are devices that have completely transformed and altered the tradition of screens. Cinema implies a large screen for many viewers, while the mobile screen is designed for an individual viewer, but simultaneously that viewer is hyper-connected. On the other hand, the information and data that users provide on their mobile phones have blurred the boundaries between the public and private sphere. Accordingly, Palacín also analyses this boundary between intimacy and exposure.


The project is a co-production of the Public Network of Visual Arts Centers of Catalonia, Arts Santa Mònica – Department of Culture and LOOP.

** The Public Network of Visual Arts Centers of Catalonia is made up from: ACVIC. Centre d’Arts Contemporànies, Vic; Fabra i Coats: Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona i Fàbrica de Creació; Centre d’Art Tecla Sala, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat; Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida; M|A|C Mataró Art Contemporani; Bòlit. Centre d’Art Contemporani, Girona; Lo Pati – Centre d’Art de les Terres de l’Ebre i Centre d’Art de Tarragona.

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