In the Middle: Walking Alongside Tags and Walls

I walk down the streets of downtown Madrid everyday, going to and from work and just for the pleasure of walking alongside tags and walls.

photo by @redesycalles of wall with graffiti in Madrid's city center

Walking close to tags: Barrio de las Letras: the name of the street I do not remember. The peculiar colors of its walls and how they coexist with the tags written in  blueish, white and yellow aerosol and the feminist slogan in black block letters: “Death to patriarchy!”: that, I remember.  While unauthorized, these writings and combinations of colors do comply, though, with the prohibition above, in the orange and green signs: “Post no Bills.”  Different calligraphies in the Barrio de las Letras (Literary Quarter). Different intensities. Walking close to tags and walls in order to, somehow, move in the middle, producing routes.  “[A] rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing … alliance” (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: 25).

Drifting on my way to a commercial center in a downtown Madrid forced to gentrify at exacerbating speed, I encounter tags, throws, traces, smells, peeling walls, singular walls, people. Intensities and potentialities of and on urban surfaces. Look twice.  Become surface.

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.

Barrio de las Letras, calle Abada, Madrid  | 30 diciembre 2017

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