The Mediterranean Spanish city of Valencia is popularly known as the city of gunpowder. During its biggest festivity, Las Fallas, people from all over the country go to Valencia to see the fireworks shows, turning fire into one of the main symbols of this city and an inspiration to local artists. To mark the celebration, artist Eduardo Jairycovich created Prende, a 360 multimedia project consisting of fashion, music, video, photos, and text. In Prende, fire is the main element, as Eduardo uses the element as a metaphor to revolution, dissatisfaction, and randiness. “This project arises from anger, dissatisfaction and wanting to change things,” Eduardo tells GAY TIMES, with the project dedicated to “all queer people and gender dissidents who risk their lives, their work, and even their affective relationships in order to pursue their freedom.”
Although Valencia has an effervescent queer creative scene, it lacks an environment that empowers it to its fullest. It’s this that motivated Eduardo to create Prende. “I have been living here for so many years now, and over time I have realised as a queer person, that instead of opening the doors, they were closing more and more.” Although Valencia is a big city, it can be very provincial in some aspects, Eduardo says, “Sometimes I felt my image or my work was used.” The artist also describes how it is very common to count on the same people to take part in the LGBTQ+ events that take place in the city, “As the popularity of drag queens has increased, they are being invited to all types of events in order to wash their image. Dissidents of gender are being left aside, remaining invisible. This implies that the credibility of our work is being taken just because we live our lives in a different way.” For Eduardo, some queer spaces in Valencia also lack the inclusivity needed to acknowledge the whole LGBTQ+ community, especially for gender-nonconforming individuals who are often left feeling forgotten. “Valencia evolves but it just remains on the surface of the community, that is, gay, lesbian, and a drag queen”, and this keeps the Valencian society from getting to know the whole diversity that exists in the LGBTQ+ community.
Prende is Eduardo’s first venture into audiovisual, “I wanted to give my followers not only something to see, but also something to hear. A very interesting way of protesting is by using our voice so that what you are claiming becomes more present,” they say, referring to the music that accompanies the queer-flamboyant visuals. The hard techno-inspired beat follows motivating lyrics that become a battle cry. When in the chorus they invite us to “prender las calles” [‘light the streets’ in Spanish], this is directly linked to the main message of the whole project. “I’d like anyone in the community who sees this video to feel a feeling of sisterhood, I want them to know that I’m not doing this alone, we are all together fighting for change, and we must keep fighting in order to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Although I don’t consider myself a singer or musician, I do want to explore this, and I would like to tell things through music”, Eduardo says when asked about future works. “Throughout the year, I’ll release other audiovisual projects in which I will seek to express other feelings and address other issues also in an audiovisual format”.
As we talk, they bring back a memory from last summer, “I have many friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and one night we were having a great time, and oblivious to what might be around us, we were just a group of friends, all dissidents.” As we’re all aware, more often than not, nightclubs are the most prominent places where LGBTQ+ people can express themselves freely, whereas Eduardo says Prende aims to be a more inclusive space, for all to enjoy, “I used to not feel safe or self-confident enough to dress the way I wanted and go partying. That night I felt like me and my friends were contributing to give the queer visibility needed in that place.”
Watch the full video below: