Meeting with...Helga Massetani of Bitamine Faktoria
Thursday 29 September 2016

In the framework of our looming meeting in San Sebastian, we met Helga Massetani, founder of BITAMINE FAKTORIA. Back on a fascinating interview with a rebel collective, like a free electron in the field of art!

Helga, a colorful personality

Like Bitamine Faktoria, Helga is a crossborder! Committed artist, she is also administrator of an art center that radiates throughout the French and Spanish Basque country.

in Argentina in 2005, she leaves her national teaching career of Visual Arts at the University of Buenos Aires to concentrate on artistic practice and teaching in the Cultural Houses of San Sebastián, Zizurkil and Villabona. She bring from her homeland her passion and a deep open and humanistic vision. In residence at the Contemporary Art Centre Arteleku between 2006 and 2010, she met other artists with whom she launched a "Artitadéto" collective. Guided by a desire to internationalise contemporary art and support the dissemination, but also the production of artists with difficulties in entering the usual channels, she founded in 2011 Bitamine Faktoria.

ultifaceted personality, she is both artist and creative, but also curator, project manager and trainer. A multiplicity that fits her like a glove!

Bitamine Faktoria, a cross-border center of creation

This "Factory Design" is a completely atypical place of 120 m2 located in Irun (Spain) in which intersect artists involved in very different fields, ranging from theater to sound or visual arts to dance. She carries the ambition to lead an innovative, creative, experimental approach for arts. Helga points out: "artist must not only confront, but also stimulate a reflection". This is what the association is trying to do, by using art as a tool for cultural and social development, to offer a more imaginative, coherent and environmentally friendly look into future.

elf-financed structure, Bitamine Faktoria works on a apparently simple principle, that of complementarity.

On one hand, it is an "agency" of graphic design, spaces and furniture that offers all the services of a traditional agency. It also offers services in cultural programming, curatorial and organizes events on behalf of institutions and development agencies. It also conducts training in graphic arts and design in connection with the Khunstal Irun school. These sessions are open to all public and especially to students and the unemployed in order to facilitate the return to employment.

On the other
hand, Bitamine Faktoria is an art center designed to promote, produce and support artists working in the field of contemporary art in the French and Spanish Basque country. Its expositions travel from Bilbao to Bayonne to spotlight local artists productions. It also organizes trade and international artists in residence from around the world. This year, after receiving 150 applications, it is a South Korean artist who was invited in residence. At the same time, a Basque artist is received in Argentina for a residence of some weeks that will offer him the opportunity to integrate a new universe. A great way to discover how this new environment can be a source of creativity!

The free movement of human creativity !

Bitamine Faktoria realised the visual used for our big annual meeting. This image is from an installation created in 2009 called "The free movement of human beings".

Helga remembers the difficulties to move upon his arrival in Europe. With artists of various nationalities, she imagined this installation that questions the circulatory flow and ways to move, legally or illegally. These questions, raised ironically 7 years ago, still have sense now. Helga even bet that the issues raised by this creation will always be as strong and eloquent in a few years!

Helga will be one of our guests in San Sebastian. She will have her speech during one of the debates on the theme of "artistic and cultural participation in the political and social engagement" which aims to unborn proposals for an engaged and independent culture, but also to reflect on how the practices of arts and culture can modify the approach to democracy.

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