With Unofficial tourism, artist Iñaki Larrimbe seeks to customize a caravan and turn it into an `unofficial´ tourist office. By locating it in the streets of Madrid, the aim is to inform foreign cultural consumers (tourists) by offering maps and guides containing alternative routes of exploration. Different to those delivered by the `official tourism´, these itineraries have been made by six people living in Madrid, and who are related to its most alternative culture, its `underground´ or counterculture.
Mauro Entrialgo and Adriana Herreros have created a guide to Advertising neon signs; Guillermo de Madrid has put together a route of Urban Art; Jimina Sabadu shows us public spaces where motion pictures were shot; John Tones invites us to walk into various arcades and stores that have kept the old school game machines; Santi Otxoa delivers an itinerary to One hundred year old taverns in Madrí and the Todo por la praxis collective, encourages us to meet the unheard-of human fauna and urban flora in the neighbourhood of Cañada Real.
The Unofficial tourism project aims to attach itself, through humble resources and with support of `do it yourself´ culture, inside those mechanisms created by cultural economic interests and tourism. In every way this is a parasitic type of activity that creates parallel structures to official versions by using public spaces and infrastructures, and in this manner intend to create and spread different views and interpretations of Madrid. It involves the idea of transferring the format of a `fanzine´ transmission onto tourism by creating an `underground office´ with the help of resources available to the ordinary citizen: a caravan.
To sum up, Unofficial tourism aims to be a project that responds and tends to the cultural entertainment necessities that, as suggested above, the new cultural policies based on socioeconomic criteria have generated. But Unofficial tourism does not intend to raise a critical voice. The idea is to participate in reality from a nihilistic point of view. The reason for this is that institutional critique today is not possible. A virgin space does not exist, there is no non-institutional realm, which can serve as a basis to generate criticism.
This new project by Larrimbe carries on with the theme of cultural tourism, something he has already been dealing with in his latest productions. In a similar manner as last year, when the artist recreated a `hotel´ in a small private space in his home town Vitoria, and with scarse resources tried to fulfill the needs for accommodation that the Museums, art Centers and cultural venues have created locally Unoficcial tourism is the beginning of an `alternative tourist office´.
As the critic Peio Aguirre states in his book Sauna finlandesa o descenso de barrancos "The figure of Larrimbe as a cultural agitator inside the cultural framework of the city situates him in a difficult position in order to assume the role of an artist supported by a representational legitimacy. He is conscious of this satellite position. If, as he himself notices, the critic has already been digested and the auto-sabotages can't be taken any further, it seems to be a better choice to be playing the game of inscribing himself inside those mechanisms (as oil added to the machine) against which he daily fights.
So, knowing the artistic position he holds, it seems to be a good option to try and interrogate, once again, about the nature of the critic and the limits of the institutionalized insides and outsides. Is it the same thing to do, to write a column in a newspaper analyzing the activity of cultural policies or to carry out a project where a whole device of communication and infrastructure is being represented?
Obviously it is not the same thing. However, the message is not too different. Does the caravan-device alibi reinforce or neutralize the critic? Does the content of the statement revolve against its own form of communication? How does having to contribute in any way to Larrimbe's project affect the institutions?".