ARCO, the International Contemporary Art Fair, is being held in Madrid from February 25 to March 1, with one very exciting art installation as Spain celebrates Colombia as their guest country for this year’s fair. And who better to celebrate than Gabriel García Márquez, best known affectionately as ‘Gabo’ throughout Latin America?

TELEFONICAThe celebration of Gabriel García Márquez is fitting in its enormity as they celebrate the author, who was described after his death by Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos as “the greatest Colombian who ever lived.” The installation was initiated by the Colombian Embassy in Spain along with Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, operating in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. The installation, Crossing the States of the Word, is quite an operation in itself as the cultural link between Spain and Columbia, as it features 50 3D printers operating simultaneously printing over 7,000 of the famous author’s words.

twoWith the sea as a theme in the 3D printed words, it’s meant to symbolize the connection between Colombia and Spain, as well as working with a common undertone in so much of the author’s work, along with inspiration from a famous speech García Márquez gave in 1997 with the quote “bottle into the sea to the god of the words.”

The 50 3D printers will be working around the clock to re-form his words into a new and interesting work which is itself the interactive artwork. With help of video art, visitors will ‘leave’ Cartagena de Indias and travel through cultural landscapes while enjoying reading excerpts, which conceptually release words which are then to be 3D printed by a variety of artists participating in the installation.

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It sounds like just the sort of mix García Márquez would have appreciated, as the show does certainly have an air of magical realism about it, with the whimsy of the words but the solid realism of 3D printing and the magic it seems to wield worldwide, connecting a vast community of makers.

Not to stop just at ARCO, the show will also travel as a workshop, including the 3D printers and words, to schools throughout Spain and Colombia. The art installation is meant to operate as an expression of the link Telefónica has with Latin America, along with their dedication to the Spanish language and connected heritage. The exhibition is also tied to the (Spanish-language) website Los Estados de la Palabra, where visitors can interact directly with the author’s words (and can use the hashtag #EstadosDeLaPalabra on social media to share experiences).

Have you heard of this art installation, and is it something you would like to see? What do you think of the mix between the author’s work and 50 3D printers whirring away simultaneously? Tell us your thoughts in the Gabriel García Márquez forum over at 3DPB.com.

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