Archives for category: 15m

Today’s post features a single image, and appears to be the work of Brooklyn-based Iranian artists Icy and Sot. Much of their art is heavily political, and as the title suggests, their work focuses on the plight of refugees and other oppressed peoples. I really love how the power of people is captured within the body of the lone demonstrator–a really significant image for anyone who’s been living here since the famous “crisis” began and was able to witness the birth of the now-famous 15-M movement.  I haven’t posted a single image in quite a while, but this one really had an impact on me when I stumbled upon it a few months back, and was probably one of the best shots that day.

On the shoulder of this profile, you can also see a horse figure, which is the work of Francisco de Pájaro, aka El Arte es Basura (Art is trash), and whose work and installations can be seen in Barcelona, along with many other cities.

This image was found in the Raval on Carrer Princep de Viana, just off the Plaça del Dubte2016-01-19 11.25.17.

 

 

Near one of the city’s most important transport hubs is the neighborhood of Sants, from which the train station gets its name. Once an independent village separate from the city of Barcelona, this residential neighborhood has a strong sense of identity due to its industrial root, and is home to what is considered to be one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, the Carrer de Sants.

Because of its rich industrial history, many of its buildings are perfect places for the once-common phenomenon of youth squats which become something like self-managed community centers, hosting all sorts of activities. As they are squats, there often arrives a moment when the building’s official owners decide to take control of the space, which usually means that squatters are asked to leave.

Such was the case of Can Vies, a squat that was established in 1997, and which became an epicenter of all manner of activities, performances and workshops. Its moment in the spotlight came in early 2014 when the building’s owner, the Barcelona Transport Authority decided to demolish the building.

The occupants, as well as others sympathetic to the squatter movement, didn’t take the forced eviction lying down, and the result were some intense days of street protests which made national news, and also spread to other Spanish cities.

The city ultimately decided to cancel the demolition, but not before destroying a good portion of the building, leaving basically ruins and parts of some of the walls. Two of the photos in this post show what remains of the squat, which has become something of a monument to resistance. The Can Vies website is still active, and activities, and plans for reconstruction, still continue.

Another photo is of a mural tribute to Can Vies which is on the previously mentioned Carrer de Sants. Finally, there are some random tidbits I found while wandering the surrounding streets.

Up from under the boot

This image is one of several that have been popping up around Gràcia. They all seem to have a political message, but their most distinguishing feature is their size. All of them average the size of a small garage door. Because of their scale, they tend not to last as long as smaller pieces of art, and because of this I try to get as many shots as possible, even if it means interrupting the momentum of my morning runs. I’ve already posted one piece that occupied a wall near the Plaça del Sol, and this one can still be found near one of Gràcia’s most beautiful streets, Carrer Verdi. In the image we can see a group of people trying to lift themselves from under a rather oppressive piece of footwear which has become all too present one the streets of Catalunya and Spain as popular ire continues to rise.

Resistance on the corner

These four images come from the Casal Popular de Gràcia, an occupied building that can be found in Gràcia on the corner ofTorrent de l’Olla and Ros de Olano, one of the major cross-streets of the Vila. According to the blog, it’s been a center of social, cultural and political activity for 15 years. It seems that it has also endured a number of eviction attempts by the city government, adding to its status as a symbol of resistance. Regardless of your opinions on the okupa (squatter) movement, I would recommend passing by this corner any time you visit Gràcia, as the artwork is constantly changing. These shots are from the late summer.

Stuck in the middle

This pierced rodent has endured for months on this doorway which lies hidden in a dead-end alley somewhere in the Born. The name of the street escapes me, but at the entrance of the alley is a skinny, Charlie Brown-Christmas type tree, with a handwritten sign reminding passersby that it is indeed a tree and neither a urinal nor a trashbin. I’ve got a few shots of this rat, but I think this is the one that most deserves a place here. As the sociopolitical cauldron in Spain/Catalunya continues its back and forth between simmer and near boil-over, the rodent finds himself trapped in a scene that’s become quite common on the streets of downtown Barcelona: the rubber-bullet wielding riot squads and their targets. The targets in this case are armed with tennis rackets. In reality most street protesters aren’t as well prepared, and the results can be quite tragic, as in the case of this unfortunate young woman.

BCNeta

This graphic is a tribute to the police action by the Mossos d’Esquadra anti-riot squad when they brutally broke up the 15 May movement protesters in Plaça Catalunya. It was called a cleanup, which is why the caption is BCNeta, the municipal cleaning crews. In case you missed it, the police action is here.

Game over

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail. Image by Alec Monopoly and tmnk.

Art is my weapon

If this is true, Barcelona is a pretty dangerous city.