No. 154 – July 2008
He was Director of the Castagnino + Macro Museum and is currently the Secretary of Culture and Education of Rosario. In this article he tells us about the new challenges he faces in his new position.
Arte al Día: What is your objective in your new position?
Fernando Farina: There is a challenge from the City. Many sectors have been left out of the system. Rosario suffers from poverty like any great metropolis. In Rosario there is hope that this situation can be changed by implementing public policies that combine social, economic and educational matters. And in education, of course, culture plays a fundamental role.
AAD: Is education one of the pillars of the Secretariat?
FF: Yes, the idea is to build a city where all people can have hopes and expectations, which a large part of society don’t have at this moment, due to marginalization and impoverishment in a very particular context. Because Rosario is linked to the new scenario of the provinces.
AAD: Are you working with private funds?
FF: We work with everything, but I insist on the particularity of a new scenario where for the first time province and municipality agree on the implementation of policies. I think it has to do with the deepening of something that we could call Marca Ciudad, although it sounds rather commercial, but the proposal has to do with a particularity of Rosario, where culture has always been important, and in recent years has played a major role in supporting cultural programs. Several of the educational programs have a great cultural impact.
AAD: Are there any projects developed with Buenos Aires?
FF: Rosario is watched from all over the country. It has a personality of its own and the interrelationship between Rosario and Buenos Aires has existed for many years and will continue to exist. It is a productive dialogue because in Rosario there have been constant critical approaches. We are called from all over the country to develop exhibitions, exchanges, training. Rosario’s programs have their own identity.
AAD: You’ve been doing excellent work at the Castagnino + Macro Museum. Do you feel comfortable in this new position?
FF: The position appears in special circumstances. Sometimes, from Buenos Aires, I feel that one cannot perceive the crisis situation that has arisen since March 10th. Rosario is a very sensitive city because it depends on the private sector, so when the country enters a crisis, the situation is difficult. You can’t carry out everything you want; you have to be more cautious. I also believe that crises are good to generate other types of projects and to reflect in a critical way. But you have to acknowledge it. There are many people who are in a very bad position, it is a complicated environment. And sometimes Buenos Aires does not experience it in the same way, or feels it when the smoke comes in or when there is a lack of products in the supermarket.
AA: I would like you to tell me about some cultural projects.
FF: Something we are putting together is the Instituto de Investigación, Conservación y Restauración de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo (Institute for Research, Conservation and Restoration of Modern and Contemporary Art). It will be very interesting because there is no institution dedicated to this in the field of contemporary art, and in some way the idea is that it will become a reference. The Rosario Archive is also being organized, not only gathering all the information from the city’s archives but also trying to bring all that information to the web so that it is accessible to everyone. With the National Culture Secretariat, we are setting up the headquarters for the Museum of Oriental Art. And with the province we are organizing residencies for artists in the city of Melincué to also decentralize Rosario.
BY LAURA BATKIS