Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Impresionante. La memoria completa sobre las iniciativas e intervenciones ciudadanas, virtuales y físicas, para el empoderamiento urbano. En pdf, publicada por VIC y La Casa Encendida. Se enfoca mayormente en las intervenciones en Madrid en los últimos años. Con fines democráticos, podría servir como prototipo para participación ciudadana en cualquier ciudad.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
In the middle of a severely segregated city (economically and racially)--NEWARK, NJ--one can find Intrinsic Cafe, a bubble tea shop, that is working its unifying magic across social differences. I've
come across this bubble-come-together phenomenon in many cities.
Gov't officials and college cafeteria administrators should re-think their intercultural programs.
Future academic paper "Deconstructing Neo-landscapes and Post-transcendence in a Bubble Tea Society."
Friday, June 27, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
1) it took place in the Plaza Salvador Seguí in the historic Raval neighborhood of Barcelona--Barcelona's most socially diverse neighborhood where many lower-income immigrants and elders live, where prostitutes work, and where police are always watching like hawks. over the last 3 decades the neighborhood has suffered much abuse, speculation, and gentrification. the local gov’t has allowed real estate and construction companies, architects, (multi)national investors to demolish around half of the neighborhood's historic buildings (most dating from the 18th century), their inhabitants and businesses are displaced. why? in order to create apartments, hotels, and shops for tourists. large neighborhood associations have tried to stop this bestial force, but they have been ignored, bullied, and in some cases received death threats. there’s been no stop, no limit, to the destructive tourist speculation. most tourists don’t know about this.
2) public space in Barcelona and most global cities has become extremely regulated, monitored, privatized -- video cameras, controlling urban furniture, police force are ubiquitous and usually inconspicuous. nowadays, before one can carry out harmless activities (such as singing, dancing, resting, meeting in a large group…) in public, the local gov't must give their stamp of approval (because they want to ensure a smooth image and space for the tourist industry). #FemPlaça #HacerPlaza #MakingtheSquare comes from the idea that humans should be able to "be" comfortably in the public space (that they pay for with their taxes) without asking for permission and without being bombarded by an atmosphere that pressures you to spend your money or look at a restaurant menu. at #FemPlaza #HagamosPlaza #LetsMaketheSquare spontaneity played it’s part in enabling all sorts of creative activities (i.e. at one point the kids decided they wanted to paint, later a theatre group appeared and did a skit…).
3) given this surveillance situation, public space in Barcelona (and most global cities) is increasingly “zoned" spatially and segregated socially. us humans (and our spatial needs and desires) come in many ethnic, economic, linguistic, gender, ideological colors…etc. but global downtowns are now surrounded by a new mural, and murals within murals, and in the residential zone they say if you can’t afford $2000/month in rent—stay out! and if the food zone they say: if you can’t pay $20 for a sandwich, stay out! now take a good look at these photos. you’ll see that many different type of activities were occurring simultaneously at #FemPlaça #HacerPlaza #MakingtheSquare (sitting, chatting, singing, eating, drawing, playing…). also, the event encouraged human differences to come together. usually cultural events are organized by a specific institution (a university, the government, a church…), a corporation or bank, or an identity group or club to bring together similar-minded humans. ("separation perfected" Debord called contemporary life.) #FemPlaça #HacerPlaza #MakingtheSquare wanted to advocate public space as an inclusive space so, for this event, anyone could organize activities and participate, regardless of their personal situation. this seems so obvious and normal, right? yet when residents passed by they were like cats checking out a new space--they slowed down, stayed to one side and raised their eyebrows. their first instinct was that: a private event was occurring. we had to make an effort to let strangers know that: hey, this might sound crazy, but this is actually, really, public! you are welcome here! come and enjoy your public space, have some food and drink or chalk or whatever you like!
Friday, June 06, 2014
Friday, May 30, 2014
How long will it last?
A difficulty, a wonderful one, that we have had thus far in trying to conceptualize the space within the current legal structure, is that it it doesn't fit into traditional legal jargon or categories. It's not owned by any person or group of people. It's not a garden or a plaza, not a park or a playground; it is a mixture of these places and much more. Those who have been informally maintaining the space don't want to define it as a definition would exclude future possibilities.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Seniors in Spain ("yayoflautas") take action against budget cuts.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Murakami was on to something when he placed one of his novels, Afterdark, in a Denny's in Shibuya (Tokyo)
I mean, that what he wrote really reflects an overlooked reality
...what follows is not really new, but I'll repeat……..
all these folks who come into this sparkling clean quiet place at midnight, or 1 or 2 or 3am
when most people are in bed
most come in individually and slowly, dressed nicely, occassionally a young couple comes in
with the exception of the young couples, they spread themselves out over the large restaurant
they sit in floral plastic-covered American-size booths that are divided by sheets of glass
shortly after they sit down they look at the large menu and press the plastic brown buzzer-bell
a waiter/waitress quickly runs over and bows
they all order something similar: something small and inexpensive (an orange juice, a lemonade, a green tea, a red-bean sundae…)
they consume their drink/ice cream slowly and most of them stay sitting there for hours after they've finished it, there's no hurry
some get up to use the bathroom
some put there arms on the table and fall asleep
others stare at their cell phone
the couples, sitting in front of one another with good posture, talk quietly
and there are a few like me who are writing on a their laptop, waiting for the sleepy feeling to come before walking home.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
We are holding guayava fruits, which were REALLY delicious.
I found this video of Soleida and her apartment in La Havana Vieja on Youtube. I think all of us regret not having enough time to accept her invitation to experience her apartment (which you can see in this video below).
Her poems are in books and also dispersed over the internet. Here are a couple that have been translated to English: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/rios/roto.html
Sunday, December 22, 2013
In lieu of Spain´s increasingly violent police force and recent Security Law (Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana):
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Luis Moreno Caballud's insightful recap on Spain's current economic crisis and political resistance (15M, virtual communities...). In English.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Monday, November 04, 2013
1. What do you think?
2. Why do you think that?
3. How do you know this?
4. Can you tell me more?
5. What questions do you still have?
for the complete article: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/five-powerful-questions-teachers-ask-students-rebecca-alber
Friday, November 01, 2013
I would love to know your feedback! What do you think is missing? What is incorrect?
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Interpretación visual de la obra de teatro de Arrabal.
Difícil de encontrar. Se puede bajar AQUÍ en pdf, en color.
(Este cómic podría dialogar bien con la obra de teatro Esquadra hacia la muerte de Alonso Sastre.)
Temas: guerra, violencia, existencialismo, el absurdo, la humanidad, compañerismo, universalismo...
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Today for the first time in my life I picked up a hitchhiker. Maybe it
was because he was dressed like my father. He looked to be around 75-80.
Slowly driving past him I remembered my sister’s 2.5-day love celebration (aka wedding, a couple weeks ago) and how, afterwards, I told myself I would try to be more generous to the realm outside my workplace. I also thought about David Sedaris’s, Roald Dahl’s and Jack Kerouac’s hitchhiking stories. (Now I wonder how could I have thought of all those things in about 10 seconds?)
I slowed down the car and parked the right side of the car on the sidewalk.
Probably he didn’t have a gun and was too weak to hurt me.
I put on my tough face, walked over to him, and asked him what was wrong?
He smelled like soap and was happy to see me.
He told me that he had a contact stuck in his eye and needed a ride to ER.
I asked him why don’t you take a taxi?
He told me because he didn’t have enough money and that the hospital was only 2 miles up the road.
I tried to remain skeptical. He pointed to his left eye. I looked at it and could see a blue lens in the upper corner.
For some reason I asked him if I could try to remove it.
He asked me if I was a nurse?
I told him no, but that I was frequently removing my own contacts.
The contact was in fact really glued to his eye, so I drove him to ER.
Moral of the story: hitchhikers always make for interesting stories. And West Chester, PA needs better public transportation.
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Monday, August 05, 2013
Public urban spaces can be used for an infinite amount of different and creative personal and collective activities.
Instead of folks that live and/or work in a area having a say in what policies are enacted in such area, an abstract and powerful minority is increasingly controlling public areas of high consumption (with surveillance cameras, police, and the design of such space...). When we think of physical/material spaces that keep us away, we tend to think that fences, gates, doors, walls... But there are many more inconspicuous examples of these material blockers. Urban furniture attempts to limit our public activities, often unconsciously.
If you want to sit in these places in Barcelona, you will need to bring a heavy plank of wood with you:
(I don't recall seeing these little barriers before, my guess is that these they were installed 1-3 years ago.)
A more common example: the bars between the benches in order to prevent humans from laying down at airports, in plazas...etc.
For later reference--connect this with the Situationists International proposal of "a la derive."
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
Last Sunday I had the luck of spending the day at an old farmhouse in the
tiny historic town of Fontclara (~ 20 inhabitants, near Gerona). I
finally had some free time, so I decided to record some sounds and
scenes from around the house with an SLR camera. later I put the clips
together in iMovie.
Given our shrinking attention span, I tried to keep it as short as possible, it's 2 mins long.
Maybe it can transmit some good feeling.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Partial list of new ingredients the Moors gradually introduced to the West via Spain (8th-15th centuries)
-- Santich. 1995. p.25-26.; Freeman. 2007. p. 135, by James Moore
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
PLEASE DON'T PICKPOCKET US!
(# saw another female tourist crying today)
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Trying to make sense after a day full of inspiring talks and presentations by dozens of European independent "gestión cultural" (cultural management) organizations. That is-- non-profit organizations that work directly with local communities (everyone, regardless of identity or citizenship) in order to create art and social awareness projects. I was really amazed with many of their projects, their efforts to be INCLUSIVE, and also the collective and economic situations that enabled them to be carried out. I asked a ton of questions and found out some things--
- many of the groups are financed by a big mix of sources-- donations, municipal subsidies, the European Union/Commission, cash earned during local festivals (from selling drinks, t-shirts...etc.)
- all of the groups had to fight very hard (writing letters, holding protests...) against local gov´t and corporate powers in order to claim a space as their own (i.e. to have a cultural center)
- all the groups relied on both a physical and virtual (internet) space
- all of the groups took several years to establish themselves and flourish, projects didn´t have a quick turn-around
- about half of the the workers I met are volunteers, the other half earn a modest salary and are on renewable year-long contracts
- most of the projects, even though they prioritized getting locals involved, they were not strictly local, rather they involved workers/volunteers/networks/
- many of the paid workers studied a BA or MA degree in something related to cultural arts
Questions I still have -- does this career or these opportunities in gestión cultural exist in the US? They asked me about the US situation and I could only think of opportunities like this that are sponsored by universities, religious, or political-lobbying groups. I guessed that open groups like this may exist in some progressive urban neighborhoods i.e. on the East or West coasts...but I´d have to research it, I don´t know.
If jobs in gestión cultural exist in the US, then it would be a new direction to send our students when they ask us "what can I do with a degree in liberal arts?" (I get this question weekly.) But... I think this sector doesn´t really exist in the US. Any comments?
Friday, June 14, 2013
- more Catalán flags hanging from balconies
- more young foreigners in Gracia (20-30 age group)
- more international consumption in Gracia (new Japanese shops and restaurants, lindy hop dance studio, English language 2nd hand bookstore...)
- new jamón serrano store on upper Rambla
- three new American-style diners (2 in the left Eixample, 1 in the Born)
- a gourmet cookie bakery in the Born
- vending machines that sell electronics in the metro, and in the Lesseps metro station they have installed a massive (like 12 feet by 10 feet) wall-size vending machine that sells refrigerated foods and drinks (Lesseps is the stop where tourists get off for Park Guell)
- hot dog stand on the Ramblas (near Carrefour)
- more Asian presence, both locals and tourists
- U of Barcelona campuses now boast American style paraphernalia stores
- 4 or 5 new tattoo parlors (Gothic and Gracia neighborhoods)
- more Arabic tourists (from the language I hear and the women's hiyab)
- something weird-- for over a decade I'm used to Catalan-speaking shop-owners in Barcelona to treat me coldly or to not treat me at all, but now in the touristy areas several of them, upon entering a shop, several of them have greeted me with a forced fast "hola" (perhaps there has been some tourist district customer service training or something)
- dozens of chatarreros/as, sifting through the trash bins, filling large grocery store carts (Prof. McDonough says chataerros take their chatarra to Badalona where they can cash it in)
- not as easy to distinguish locals from tourists anymore
- and (the most surprising which checks off the last requirement for Barcelona to enter the club of globalized cities) two new bubble tea joints in the tourist Gothic neighborhood (on C/ Avinyó) and in the Raval near the Ramblas (on C/ Tallers)
- as of July 18, 2013 there is now an announcement that plays in the metro, in a variety of languages, that warns tourists about pickpockets
Most point to globalization, increasingly similar cultural package offered in other global cities (homogenization), more "typical Spanish" consumption opportunities for tourists, cultural influence from US and Asia...
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Solving "la crisis" by increasing an already excessive tourist sector?
8 million tourists a year in a neighborhood where only 104,000 locals remain.
To make room for more tourism, CiU and PP have approved of a plan to
demolish 380 previously "protected" historic buildings (and their
inhabitants and local communities).
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
The convenient bike lot reminded me of a recent disappointment with the apartment complex where I live, in a town outside Philadelphia. When I asked the complex owners where one parks their bikes I was told “bikes are not permitted around the building, they must be carried up to one’s own apartment.” My apartment is too small to comfortably fit a bike (and I don’t feel like carrying it up 3 flights of stairs)…luckily there is a bike rack 1/2 mile down the road in front of a college dorm that pertains to a public university, so I can legally park my bike there.
I guess it sounds naive, but I wish every town and suburb in the United States could have a convenient proportion of these bike lots. (Car reliance is predominately a problem in the United States.) Less driving would imply a lot of social improvements — for health and well-being, for the environment, for culture, for sustainability, for families, for saving time and money, for interacting with differences, for reducing bloody wars…etc.
This ties in with a book I just started reading called Walkable City by Jeff Speck. Here's a passage from it (taken from David Owen's Green Metropolis) that recaps one of the main ideas thus far -- it's not one car that's harmful, rather the entire national (American) individualistic lifestyle of relying on an automobile everyday. This triggers major local and global harms (much of which we don't see because we have distanced ourselves from the harm we produce).
“The real problem with cars is not that they don’t get enough miles per gallon; it’s that they make it too easy for people to spread out, encouraging forms of development that inherently wasteful and damaging… The critical energy drain in a typical American suburb is not the Hummer in the driveway; it’s everything else the Hummer makes possible — the oversized houses and irrigated yards, the network of new feeder roads and residential streets, the costly and inefficient outward expansion of the power grid, the duplicated stores and schools, the two-hour commutes.”There is a very positive trend, however—according to their research, the younger generation in the United States (the “millennials”) is moving into the cities, where they can use their legs, bikes, and public transport.
Update: found this wonderful bike parking structure in Kyoto:
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
NYTimes article on the growing economic division between upper and lower income students in U.S. universities.
We haven't progressed much from Bourdieu's 1971 reality in “Unequal Education and the Reproduction of the Social Division of Labor.”
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Friday, April 05, 2013
Frog thinks Toad is already there, in the same latitude, sharing a parallel evening and similar climate. Frog imagines, “if I were to get into the car right now, and start driving, I could arrive at Toad’s apartment at 4am!...Although that might startle Toad…”
But it won’t, because, as I mentioned, Toad is not there yet. (And also, frogs can’t drive.)
And so I told Frog, “be patient, my friend, Autumn will come soon.”
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Arthur Fowler, Noriko Shigehara, and others (whose name I don´t know) play at the tiny Checkerboard Jazz Bar (Asagaya, Tokyo).
I had read about the mythical, sophisticated music place several times in H. Murakami´s work: the jazz bar/café in Tokyo. I had imagined hundreds of CDs and records of old jazz bands carefully stacked by aficionados in tight wooden squares and rectangles along walls in a dark, timeless bar. Last Friday I experienced it in non-fiction: sitting knees-to-back, shoulder-to-wall on little stools. Maybe in total 12 stools, 12 respectful listeners. The place must have been about 6 by 14 feet. One couldn´t move (it was tricky to take this photo). But a lack of space did not create a repressive feeling, quite the opposite, it seemed not to matter who you were or who you sitting next to, I lost track of time and felt a cozy, melting exception, for which I was very grateful.
Jazz café recommendations from Arthur san (hard to find in English!)
Some of Tokyo’s top jazz players play at the Big River, as well as a range of other folks, including us. The “Master” there is fairly good at English and is a good person. It’s about as small as the Checkerboard, but a more “serious jazz” atmosphere. Some of the jazz fans and musicians here like it exactly because when the music is on (30-minute sets), there’s no talking or ordering, so it’s all about watching very good players from the front row. Big River:
This little place is around the corner and down the block on the street that runs along-side the Higashi-Nakano station. I haven’t gone in yet. Thelonious:
Here’s a link to another place that is highly regarded in the jazz world of Tokyo. I’ve only been there once. Meg:
And this place, right up the street from Takadanobaba station is really small! Intro:
Oh, and here’s one other place, just past Meiji-doori on Waseda-doori. It’s on the second floor. I’ve walked by it many times, but haven’t paid the fees to see a show there yet. Sunny Side:
Last Friday at Sunny Side Jazz Café it was open mic night:
Thursday, January 10, 2013
“Don’tworry. Youreallyarepartofhere, really. Alwayshavebeen, always willbe. Itallstartshere, itallendshere. Thisisyourplace. It’stheknot. It’stiedtoeverything.”
“Everything. Thingsyoulost. Thingsyou’regonnalose. Everything. Here’swhereitalltiestogether.”
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
|Tabiwaya, Rebeka, Semaema, and Naomi. July 2012.|
View Larger Map
Saturday, August 11, 2012
An attempt to write something. Again in a geo-transition period (Grinnell-New Zealand in 2009; New Zealand-West Chester 2012), during which my mind becomes mush. Only the most basic words float in the bowl.
I just watched the film Tony Takitani, based on H. Murakami´s short story of the same title. The general plot centers around the loneliness of a man and the relationship with his late wife who was obsessed with buying expensive clothes. The story resonates with what I´ve been experiencing these days. I have spent $______ (a very large amount) in less than a week. I have never ever spent money like this before nor have I ever had the desire to. Plane tickets, apartment deposit and first month rent, new laptop, new furniture… Having to leave so much behind in New Zealand has meant having to re-buy so many things, again. A waste of time? (Not in the long run.) While I can feel a moment of excitement at purchasing something new, or finding some interesting design or color, overall, having to consume so much (especially at massive corps like IKEA and Bed Bath and Beyond) leaves me with a very empty feeling, sometimes a guilty feeling. I suppose I could enjoy it more if I was sharing the shopping. But, I´m shopping alone and placing the objects in a single apartment where they will live only with me. Hopefully I will have company at some time. “So-and-so, I´d like you to meet Volmar Swivel Chair.”
What really matters? It´s all so relative; writing this will make no difference whatsoever. I just like to see the font of the published blog entry.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I sit and sit
and live the slow footsteps
new tramping boots
to the right of me --
ingrained splatter and soft green fuzz
to the left --
broken bottle brushed into the side of an old building
the quiet dampness of last night's sprinkle
the sun will come and warm me up
I wish it wouldn't be so shy!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
A zillion miles away won´t stop me
from thinking about you this morning with
these particular morning feelings
influenced by last night´s particular dreams
these particular pijamas,
this chocolate breakfast,
and this carpet smell.
Will be repeated on the other side of the world,
about 4 hours later.
But from my memory,
I think you will be in
different and familiar colors,
different and familiar pijamas,
different and familiar breakfast and smells
I remember that
right now you´re sleeping,
but in about 4 hours you will sit up and find yourself in a geographical deja vu.
This doubly uncertain future
won´t stop me
from thinking about you.
Friday, January 27, 2012
two nouns in Japanese that don't exist as single words in English or Spanish:
はごたえ = hagotae = the texture a food item has when you chew it
のどごし = nodogoshi = the feeling when a certain food item goes down your throat
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Yesterday on the subway there was a dad and daughter sitting in front of me. The young girl was half smiling half figgity/nervous. I looked up at the dad, and he said to me: "es la primera vez que sube al metro" (it´s her first time on the subway).
Saturday, December 17, 2011
[The city] isn’t just a place to live, to shop, to go out and have kids play. It’s a place that implicates how one derives one’s ethics, how one develops a sense of justice, how one learns to talk with and learn from people who are unlike oneself, which is how a human becomes human. (Sennet, “Civitas” 83)
- found new library, Sofia Barat on career Girona where I browsed through 15M related comic book "Revolution Complex" and discovered a stretchy transparent plastic book cover. i liked this. i asked the librarian where one could find this, she was nicer than most local strangers I talk to, she told me "probably in any stationary store"
- I decided i wanted to buy the book because it could be useful for my teaching/research, so I walked towards the Raval neighborhood, towards the CCCB. While I was in the Raval I stopped to tie my shoe and an older woman in approached me, maybe French (from her accent), she was looking for the Facultad de Geografía y Filosofía. I took her there and we chatted
- browsed books at the CCCB and purchased "Revolution Complex" with a 5% discount
- leaving the CCCB, in the Plaza de los Ángeles I saw some pee trickling down the sidewalk. I often see trickling pee, but this time it was more than the usual. my eyes followed it to source. An old thin man with blond and white hair had peed his blue jeans... he stared at me with half-closed eyes and his mouth drooped open...
- I continued forward on Ferlandina street and I passed a young African chatarrero (why define him as African? because I´m 99% sure he was an African immigrant and because his skin color is related to his precarious situation). he had accumulated several junk items in a cart. some will critique my response, but I felt bad. it has to be really shitty to make a living going through garbage. I thought about my money in the bank and how much money I spend on sweets. i turned around, walked back towards him and handed him 10 euros and kept walking. This made me feel elitist, and I don´t like that, but I didn´t know what else to do, i only mention it here because it was a yet another unexpected encounter with a social difference and because the dominating media and knowledge-makers ignore chatarreros, as if they didn't exist.
- islamic pastelería. bought two baklava, one chicken curry roll, and one water.
- changed direction, wanted to get photos of the Forat de la vergonya plaza. Walked towards the back of the Boqueria market. A Murakami moment--I spotted a very interesting fenced off Jardin dels gats on the side of a small plaza (Cat Garden). A bit stinky but colorful and safe playground for stray cats.
- Then I came across some red leaves growing down a building behind the Boqueria. my housemate Joan had previously shown me a picture of these. I was taking a picture of this area when two girls approached me and asked for directions to the Guell Palace. the map was in Korean. I walked with them for about 5 minutes showing them where they needed to go and told them that I liked Korean film and we mentioned a couple titles. They seemed really happy.
- I looked at the sky trying to figure out what time it was. I needed to meet a friend to see a film at 5pm. It usually gets dark at 5:30pm and it still seemed quite light out. So, I headed over towards Forat de la vergonya. along the way I spotted a clock somewhere-- 4:50pm. Shoot! I rushed to the Urquioana metro stop and got on the yellow line, I was going to be late for the movie and I didn't have a way to contact my friend... (notice my difficulty in comparison to others'.)
- After the movie ("Interferencies", it was ok...) I went to my friend´s place. She had a migraine and needed to take some medicine. She also needed to meet her boyfriend´s mother, who is from a far away country. She didn´t want to go because the lady is not that nice. she asked me if I would come along. I said yes. We met her at a coffeeshop and I ate a palmera de chocolate. This woman had suffered and continues to suffer from domestic violence and I could see it in her face. It was hard for me to digest this...
- Nevertheless, we were still hungry so we went to eat a piadina, an italian flat bread grilled sandwich. it was very good.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
dominos, soccer, benches, and a garden.
"forat de la vergonya"´s year-round citizen-sustained garden and free vegetables for all in the middle of a dense hodge podge of buildings dating from 20 to 2000 years ago. this area (actually it´s a large plaza) represents a citizen-based victory after a long fight against speculators. a decade ago the municipal gov´t was going to construct a private parking structure here. a large portion of the area was demolished, citizens evicted, small local businesses shut down, police squashed the protests... but after several ongoing protests, the bulldozers withdrew and the people got their plaza back, but of course it was a mess. since then, the local neighborhood association has cleaned it up and maintained it themselves, but police still circulate the plaza.
More info: http://nevada.ual.es:81/redURBS/BlogURBS/los-agujeros-de-la-memoria-urbana/
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Returning to Barcelona´s streets after a long time away is strangely as easy as mindlessly slipping into an ______[insert old piece of clothing]______.
So much info and mundane responses that had not consciously entered my mind for two years have seamlessly and effortlessly come back to me. for example—
knowing exactly where to look when crossing certain streets, and how to manuever through certain crowded areas,
anticipating street light signals,
reproducing the local way of interacting with strangers (dryly, kind of depressed like),
not giving foul smells a second thought (urine, car exhast, sewer mold),
speaking words that I haven´t said or heard in years (cundir, rentable, parches, despistar, difundir...),
enthusiastically stating a specific preference for a type of bread, cheese or bean that I don´t even recall liking so much (garrafón!)…..
It's as if I have snapped into a different me, a me who has been here in Barcelona all long while the real me has been away.
(Oh this is very 1Q84, parallel realities with glitches.) Yes, some things aren´t registering or matching up and have stopped me in my path. (This is what I expected would happen since the city inevitably would have changed while I was away.) For example, I don´t recognize the new intersection lights, or the red paint on the streets at intersections; I got lost because I got the Ronda de Sant Pau mixed up with la Avenida del Paralelo, and I got turned around in the underground train-metro division at Plaza de Cataluña. Example 4 and example 5
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
For those living in the US and receiving loads of junkmail, here´s a very easy and non-violent way to protest financial corruption (and even support your local post office).
When our representatives don´t listen, we have to get creative. This is very creative.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Re-reading old notes on Henri Lefebvre I came across a passage that seemed so multi-applicable, not just to space, but all objects of analysis across time. Here are a couple lines of it:
"A comparable approach is called for today, an approach which would analyse not things in space, but space itself, with a view to uncovering the social relationship embedded in it. The dominant tendency fragments space and cuts it up into pieces. It enumerates the things, the various objects, that space contains. [. . . ]" (page 90, The Production of Space, 1974)
Someone could say this is naive or obvious because the ideas on social division have been re-worked and re-published over the last 4 decades, but we only have to look around, look at our institutions, the organization of our neighborhoods, our personal work environments, and local ways of political representation to see that the divided conditions Lefebvre assume are overwhelmingly present today, and so his proposal to disclose them is still urgent and worthwhile.
This continuity also evokes the unoriginal and generalized question as to why we have not come very far (this could be measured at least in terms of humans killed per yer) after decades of progressive discourse. I think a main cause lies in the fact that our centers of knowledge and education are still too spatially, geographically and socially isolated, "cut up into pieces." An epitome could be the typical American college campus, separated from the rest of society and the diversity of the nearest city by approximately 30 miles of flat cement and thousands of dollars in tuition fees. In spite of the internet and freer access to information, the reworking and republishing of ideas on social division have ocurred predominantly within these isolated campuses.
The opposite of separation/division would be the lack of any at all, which would be like spatial relativity and chaos. But he's not calling for chaos. I can't prove it right now, but I imagine he's calling for a more public recognition and more democratic dealing with division.
I'll end this post on a related tangent. Lefebvre's passage links me to another spatial and multi-applicable passage I came across the other day in Fernando Arrabal's Carta al General Franco, which was written three years before The Production of Space and reflects on the violence and hatred of the Franco regime:
"España no era sino un cárcel compuesta de pequeñas cárceles que se precipitaban hacia el infierno." (42) ["Spain was a prison composed of little prisons, which precipitated towards hell."]
(I'd be grateful if you could leave feedback because I am currently isolated!)
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The economic ways of some prostitutes and immigrants, thieves, and pick pockets. Their realities of Barcelona were projected on decorative pins and sold in the local bookstore La Central.
Here you can see the pins foregrounding a colorful Bus Turistic:
The municipal government must have found their content scandalous as it has ordered the removal of these pins from the bookstore.
These pins fulfilled at least a valuable component of the alternative tourist package, and more seriously and lesser known, they add to the pile of proof that the contentious workings of city branding are omnipresent.
A few determine what will and will not be acceptable for public knowledge.
Full article here. The artists have made their pins available for purchase directly from their website here.