Elii 142 · STILL REMAINS (Restos en suspenso, todavía)

142 · STILL REMAINS (Restos en suspenso, todavía)
Apuntes para un tiempo aparte
Museo Nacional y Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), Madrid
A project by elii [oficina de arquitectura] + Orkan Telhan

The microbiome of our guts, mouths, armpits, or genitals are among the most private landscapes. There lie our interspecies identities made of bacteria, fungi, viruses who live parallel lives adapting, resisting, and labouring our 24/7 lives. They endure the hormones and chemicals secreted by our anxious selves who sweat before deadlines. They cope with the stimulants, amphetamines, and cognitive enhancers consumed to deal with the stress of non-stop tasks and to-do lists. They strive to adapt to our pharmacologic bodies cast by our professions that are tuned to work more and more efficiently, all the time.
This installation conceived by elii [architecture office] and Orkan Telhan for the program Notes for a Time Apart intends to provide a glimpse of this invisible community through a series of leftovers. We invite a series of professionals to the museum to share food during their work breaks. The participants eat, chat, and ask each other: “What do you usually do at this time?”, “How do you deal with your stress?”, “How much coffee do you
drink?”, “What do you do when you need to focus?”, “What is your favourite energy drink?”
We ask our participants to leave the last pieces of their meals just before they finish their conversation. What is left behind are remains of those conversations and the leftovers of the shared food that span across different contexts, professions, social classes and different micro and macro worldviews, which are placed inside a network of freezers timed to preserve this fluidic mix in a sort of time capsules frozen in time.
On these refrigerated surfaces, the microbes that originate from the anonymous participants become part of these food landscapes, slowed down in time. They degrade and mutate. Their animation is suspended, intervening in their preservation cycles. They turn into prolonged “conversations” between microorganisms and their people, unfolding a plural temporality that belongs to no one. At least, until the cold lasts.
Notes is a new Museo Reina Sofía project which aims to explore other formats and methodologies to accommodate devices and projects which transversally make disciplines hybrid.
Its first edition, Notes for a Time Apart, sets forth a reflection on the customary conceptions of time and its registers, scales and rhythms. From different perspectives—philosophy, decolonial thought, queer theory, physics and biology—other modes of conceiving time are approached, beyond its normative and purely metric side.
*An unexpected ending for the piece:
After being open for some time, public access to Still Remains was cancelled for reasons beyond the piece’s control. From then on, the oeuvre continued working at the museum, but with no outside visitors; it became an installation only “for” the microorganisms. This piece was meant to shed light on how our daily realities are challenged when we take the microorganisms’ viewpoint and revisit some human controversies from the microbial scale. However, ironically, it was suspended precisely on account of one of those human issues. As a result, a piece of art on suspending the remains of food suspended in time was itself suspended… And thus this work of art went on to having an exclusively microbial “audience.”

Still Remains / Restos en suspenso, todavía
elii [oficina de arquitectura] + Orkan Telhan

elii [oficina de arquitectura]:
Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios

Coordinators of the project:
elii – Teresa Martínez, Gemma Barricarte

Museo Nacional y Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS)

Organization and curationship:
Museo Nacional y Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS)
Apuntes para un tiempo aparte Programa

Coordination MNCARS:
Soledad Liaño Gibert
Rafael García Horrillo
Beatriz Martínez Hijazo


40,4 m2

October 24 – December 4 2023

Museo Nacional y Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS)

Imagen Subliminal (Rocío Romero + Miguel de Guzman)

Architects: elii

+34 911157658
c/ Maestro Arbós 3
28045 Madrid, SPAIN

elii carries out its professional activity in the following fields: Infrastructures, Urban Development, Public Spaces, Individual and Collective housing, Offices and Work Centres, Industrial Buildings, Ephemeral Architecture and Design of Museum Exhibitions and collaboration with artists. Elii covers all stages of the project, from the design phase to project management, working both in the public and private sectors, in Spain and Abroad. Founded in 2006 and based in the centre of Madrid, its founding partners and current directors are the architects Uriel Fogué Herreros, Eva Gil Lopesino and Carlos Palacios Rodriguez, all of whom have previously worked in architectural firms of international renown. They currently combine their work at elii with teaching (in several Spanish universities of international renown) and editorial work (UHF magazine). Their work and articles have appeared in specialized publications and exhibitions, having obtained recognition and awards for outstanding performance, amongst which are the FAD Opinion Award (2005), or the awards received from the Official College of Architects of Madrid “a la Obra Bien Hecha”(2006), “a la Obra de los Arquitectos” (2011), and “COAM Award” (2013) or the JustMad Award to Emergent Creativity (2013). They have been amongst those selected to appear in the “Arquia Próxima” catalogue (also issued by the Official College of Architects of Madrid) in its 2006-207, 2008-2009, 2010-2011 issues, having been recognized in this last one as one of the 10 most relevant teams of young architects in the region. They have also taken part in the “Madrid 100% Arquitectura II” (2011), catalogue and Itinerant International Exhibition, where one of their works was considered one of the top 100 by the Official College of Architects of Madrid. They were also similarly distinguished in the XII Buenos Aires International Biennial Architecture Exhibition (2011), recently selected as one of the “100 architects of the year 2012” in the exhibition for the KIA Korean Institute of Architects and the UIA International Union of Architects in Seoul (2012) and as a part of the exhibition FreshLatino 2 (2013). Elii is a member of the “Creadores de Madrid” and “FreshMadrid” archives.