Peeling Walls, Writing Walls: Unmaking the Face

Walking the city, walking in the streets.  She leaves the house to take a walk, passing by the recycling center, passing by the lot in the corner. Walking in the streets as means and milieu. Open to the street, she walks toward the walls:  erosion:  peeling walls.

redesycalles IMG_7255        redesycalles IMG_7542

Walls opening up: boiling walls: a kind of writing.  Writing, suggested Deleuze,  “has no other end than to lose one’s face, to jump over or pierce though the wall, to plane down the wall patiently” (45).  He explains: “There is a  whole social system which might be called the white wall/black hole system.  We are always pinned against the wall of dominant significations, we are always sunk in the hole of our subjectivity […] A wall on which are inscribed all the objective determinations which fix us, put us into a grille, identify us and make us recognized” (45).  White wall system: an education of desire.


Spanish painter and illustrator Pincho painted a wall with houses forming a monstruous pile at Muros Tabacalera in Madrid and then the houses took a life of their own, proliferating on the streets of Lavapiés and El Rastro.  In the Madrid of the construction-and-housing-boom (1997-2007) and in the Spain of the more than 3.4m vacant homes (according to the Spanish 2011 census), Pincho’s wandering houses turn into questions about desire.

White wall system of Spain.  Home ownership as the axis of the economy and mechanism of social control:  “el hombre, cuando no tiene hogar, se apodera de la calle / When man does not have a home, he takes over the streets” (Franco’s Minister for Housing, J.L. Arrese, 1957, in Naredo).  The culture of home ownership (Naredo) that began under the dictatorship’s totalitarian state and unfolded vigorously under the totalitarianism of the neoliberal market under the democracy of Maastricht and the Euro.  The construction and development cycle.   A “record-breaking expansion of credit supported a historic increase in household consumption among the property-owning strata, which, in Spain’s case, constituted the vast majority” (López and Rodríguez 11).  The debt economy, has demonstrated Lazzarato (2012), is, not so much an economic, but a political construction:  the relation between creditor(s) and debtor is the  social relation in neoliberal socities.   Capital accumulation and production of subjectivities:  Homo debitum.   Fear and subjection.  “[T]hey do it all for a  salary (says Dorda, for a little meager salary”  (Piglia).

Peeling walls, boiling walls.  “The face is a social production […] our societies need to produce a face,” contended Deleuze, and went on to ask:  “how to unmake the face by liberating in ourselves the questing heads which trace the lines of becoming?” (45-46).

redesycalles COKO_RTFront wall at the Centro de Ocio Kreativo Okupado La Kondenada in Tetuán.  May 2014.

Written wall, intervened wall.  “The wall was stationary, but all its lines were seething and its surface was as changeable as that of the flooding summer rivers which have similar crests near the center, where the currents flow the swiftest and is the most terrifying”  (Arguedas 7).   A flowing wall, a writing wall, and the unmaking of the face:  the praxis of Juventud Sin Futuro (Youth Without a Future), the PAH (the Mortgage-Affected-Citizens Platform), and of so many others, is writing.  Writing, suggest Deleuze and Guattari,  “has nothing to do with signifying.  It has to do with surveying, mapping,  even realms that are  yet to come” (4-5).



Arguedas, José María.  Deep Rivers.  Trans. Frances H. Barraclough.  Long Grove: Waveland Press, 2002. Print.

Deleuze, Gilles and Claire Parnet.  Dialogues.  Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam.  NY: Columbia UP, 1977.  Print.

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari.  A Thousand Plateaus.  Trans. Brian Massumi.  Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P,   1987.  Print.

Lazzarato, Maurizio.  The Making of the Indebted Man. Essay on the Neoliberal Condition.  Trans. Joshua D. Jordan.  Cambridge:  MIT Press, 2012.  Print.

López, Isidro and Emmanuel Rodríguez.  “The Spanish Model.”  New Left Review  69 (2011): 5-28.  Print.

Naredo, José Manuel.  “El modelo inmobiliario español y sus consecuencias.” Coloquio sobre urbanismo, democracia y mercado. Université de Paris 12, Paris.  15-16 March 2010.  Paper. Web.

Piglia, Ricardo.  Money to Burn.  Trans. Amanda Hopkinson.  London:  Granta, 2003.  Print.

One thought on “Peeling Walls, Writing Walls: Unmaking the Face

  1. […] In the gentrifying city, try to proceed from the middle, to see things in the middle. Make maps:  precipitate events.  “What we most lack is a belief in the world,” said Gilles Deleuze in a conversation with Toni Negri, “we’ve quite lost the world, it’s been taken from us.  If you believe in the world you precipitate events, however inconspicuous, that elude control, you engender new spaces-times, however small their surface or volume […] Our ability to resist control, or our submission to it, has to be assessed at the level of our every move.  We need both creativity and  a people” (1990). Walking alongside tags and peeling walls: putting in suspension, during the duration of a dèrive, the legal name and its histories. A kind of writing. […]


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