Intensity and Desire: Encountering COST and ENX in Manhattan

Ubiquitous, these images proliferate all over Manhattan, with a rhythm of their own: black and white posters pasted up high: on brick walls, on glass, on metal: block letters by COST and kimono ladies, wolves, and other animals by his partner ENX. Urban desires in common: to cut a stencil / to write / to print it / to go up high / to raise your arms, to paste / to walk in the streets / to run into the posters / to raise your head, your eyes / to take a picture. The body, the artifact, the city:  a relationship of affect. “Affect,” observe Alison Young and Mark Halsey, “has to do with intensity rather than identity” (“Our Desires are Ungovernable,” 2006: 278).  “Affect,” proposes Brian Massumi, “is the virtual co-presence of potentials” (2002a: 213 in Halsey and Young, 259).  The figure of the pack:  to walk in the streets / to go into the alleys / to search the walls / to run / to inhabit the city / to be in the middle / to leave behind your name, your face, your profession / to form a pack / to disintegrate even for that second / to breathe / to live.

redesycalles jan 4 15 IMG_0777Enx & Cost. Manhattan, 4 Jan. 2015.

redesycalles IMG 0886 Jan 9 2015 Ethan Armen, Enx, Invader, Cost. Broadway, 8 Jan. 2015.

redesycalles 5 Jan 15 IMG_0860Enx and Cost. Bowery, 5 Jan. 2015.

redesycalles 5 Jan 15IMG_0864Cost, Enx & many others. Bowery, 5 Jan. 2015.

redesycalles IMG 0833 5 Jan 2015Cost and Enx. Bowery, 5 Jan. 2015.

To see more pieces, check out their Instagram accounts: @Costkrt and @enx108. A few posts not to miss, among many others:  in the interview “COST is Up” by Bucky Turco and Marina Galperina, Cost talks about his collaboration with ENX.  And this  post on Invader’s collaboration with COST and ENX back in 2013.  And these great shots by Jacqueline M Hadel. And about COST’s comeback, “The Return of COST.”


Preguntas: Questions: Doors: Puertas

“Entre los gestos del mundo / recibí el que dan las puertas. / En la luz yo las he visto / o selladas o entrabiertas / y volviendo sus espaldas / del color de la vulpeja. / ¿Por qué fue que las hicimos / para ser sus prisioneras?”  (Gabriela Mistral, “Puertas“, Lagar, 1954).

“Among the gestures of the world / I received the gesture of doors. / I’ve seen them in daylight / sealed or half-open / and turning their fox-brown backs. /  Why did we create them / to become their prisoners?” (Gabriela Mistral, “Doors,” Lagar 1954, my translation).

redesycallesSun by  artist unknown (to me) & tags:  TIL, SUE, and others.  Madrid, May 2014.

redesycalles 2El rey de la ruina: “0’7% RAP” & tags. Madrid, May 2014.

redesycalles 1Sabek, Laparesse & Ciril:  “Que si quiero, que si tengo.” Tags.  May 2014.

To see more pieces by El Rey de la Ruina, click these pages: flickr1flickr, Madrid Street Art Project, among others.

To see more by Sabek, visit flickr, facebook, among others.

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.

Paredes de Lavapiés: anillos abiertos / Walls of Lavapiés: Open Rings

Paredes de Lavapiés:  “encadenamiento interrumpido de afectos […] anillos abiertos” (Deleuze y Guattari, Mil mesetas: 15) .  Walls of Lavapiés:  “a broken  chain of affects […] open rings” (A Thousand Plateaus: 9)

IMG_6419 redesycalles

# La ballena 70 by Spanish-born artist Jonipunto is part of the series “La cuenta atrás:  la ballena” (The Countdown:  The Whale) which, in his website, dialogues with “Extinciones” (Extinctions) by Uruguayan-born poet Mario Benedetti:

“No sólo las ballenas, los delfines, los osos […]  corren peligro de extinguirse. También enfrentan ese riesgo las promesas […]  la carta magna, los jubilados, los sin techo, la ética primaria, la autocrítica, los escrúpulos simples, el rechazo al soborno […]”   (Not only are the whales, the dolphins, the bears […] in danger of extinction.  So are promises, […] the constitution, retired people, the homeless, basic ethics, self-criticism, scruples, the refusal to receive bribes […]).

IMG_6420  redesycalles

IMG_6421  redesycallesArriba: “¿tiene corazón tu camino? / Does your path have a heart?”  Abajo: RBN.  Lavapiés, Madrid, 1 junio, 2014.

Fish and mammals and reptiles swimming on wood and on a wall.  Stone and wood that undulate.

To see Jonipunto’s street work, enter here.  And here.

You’ll find RBN’s here.