Dancer, musician, historian: although they come from different practices, Israel Galván, Niño de Elche, and Pedro G. Romero could all be described as heirs of flamenco tradition. That is, if we understand the heir, with Jacques Derrida, to be “someone capable of turning against those who claim to be the possessors of a legacy.” To inherit flamenco is not to possess a patrimony but rather to be ready to betray, to risk (invert, pervert, gamble) the father’s name in order to reinvent his legacy.
Born into the dancing family of José Galván and Eugenia de los Reyes, Israel Galván (born in 1973) has gradually transformed into an unclassifiable dancer and choreographer. Galván recodifies the physical language of flamenco, using not only modes of expression genealogically close to it, such as bullfighting, but also performative aspects of other rituals of popular culture, from football to activism and cross-dressing. He produces a multiplicity of bodies for a flamenco that is itself going through a process of change.
An academically trained singer and guitarist, Niño de Elche (born in 1985) erupted into the flamenco scene in an unorthodox fashion, his lyrics replete with political statements originating in street protest, part of the avant-garde Spanish flamenco scene that includes the Bulos y Tanguerías experiment, Flo6x8’s flashmob protests, the collaborative project Los Flamencos with Antonio Orihuela and Isaías Griñolo, the Zemos98 festival, and the musical group Pony Bravo. He bastardizes flamenco with elements of antimilitarism, anarcho-libertarianism, queerness, and transgenderism as well as other musical traditions. Niño de Elche updates the popular form of the pregón, or proclamation, for the era of digital communication and global neoliberalism.
Pedro G. Romero (born in 1964) is an artist and historian, inventor of taxonomies and tireless compiler of flamenco texts and references, a translator between art and the diverse traditions that make up the dance form. In his projects Machines for Living and the PIE.FMC Independent Platform for Modern and Contemporary Flamenco Studies, he explores topics such as the history of the anti-Francoist movement within flamenco, the relationship between flamenco and artistic avant-gardes, its relationship to philosophy from Ludwig Wittgenstein to Giorgio Agamben, and its contribution to radical critiques of urban space.
Galván, Niño de Elche, and Romero all reconstruct flamenco’s clandestine, underground, poor, popular, bodily aesthetic. For documenta 14, they are working within a large constellation of European Roma artists to create the performance and installation La farsa monea (2017), the latest in the series, which investigates interconnections of sexuality, the body, and capital within flamenco culture.
—Paul B. Preciado
Translation of image text, left to right:
“and you will be as a false coin that no one wants, going from hand to hand”
“An art of the poor ones. An art of the poor, of the gypsy, and of the ham actor, as Baudelaire wrote.” “In the underworld, under the ground, there is a hidden treasure. A survival art”
“And in this construction, flamenco is produced with its own aesthetic and its own economy, singular, speaking from below, from a low and delinquent point of view, below the guts and the pocket, skimming the ground.”