In the front passenger seat, going at 55 miles per hour on the Madrid M-30 motorway, she turns her head to the right. At eye level, a number of graffiti by Siar, Piojo (Chusky), and other Madrid writers zip by on the side walls. Graffiti on motorways and freeways: certainly size and the use of a single color, usually white, are some of the conditions of possibility to be perceived by the fleeting glance of subjects in transit.
She looks up to the towers behind the graffiti: the so called Cuatro Torres Business Area (CTBA), Madrid’s and Spain’s tallest buildings. The CTBA are highlighted by the researchers of Observatorio Metropolitano as an example of the “colonization of Madrid’s territory” (Manifiesto por Madrid. Crítica y crisis del modelo metropolitano, 2009: 54).
The CTBA: “A happy expansion of Madrid’s skyline with four big skyscrapers, which are the social headquarters of large corporations and the pride of the city’s new global identity. In the presence of this new postcard image for Madrid (no longer needing the “bulls and flamencas from the Ventas bullring”), few of us should remember that this business district was built, thanks to a strange change of land use, on the former sports facilities housing the Real Madrid. A trivial amendment (from non-residential use to tertiary for-profit use), which came however with a re-valuation of the land, and with substantial surpluses which allowed to settle the historical debt of the soccer club” (rough translation from Observatorio Metropolitano, 2009: 55).
Graffiti on motorways and freeways: nomad space: “nomad space is smooth, marked only by ‘traits’ that are effaced and displaced with the trajectory […] the nomad is one who does not depart, does not want to depart, who clings to the smooth space left by the receding forest, where the steppe or the desert advances, and who invents nomadism as a response to this challenge” (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Platteus, 2004: 420). Graffiti on freeways: an other way to understand and relate to Madrid’s territory.