Formas de vida: prácticas de gozo: wheat pastes en Lavapiés

Plantas y flores pintadas delicadamente sobre papel, recortadas, pegadas con engrudo sobre paredes escogidas: colores, tags, plantas que ya están ahí, o abriendo espacios a otras que podrían estarlo.   Gestos de cuidado: wheat pastes de Dingo Perro Mudo.  Aquí hay un poder, pensamos.  Placer, deseo, relación con las demás: capacidad de gozo.  El poder de lo erótico, diría Audre Lorde:  la escritora feminista africano-americana nos recuerda que la palabra “erótico”, del griego eros, significa  “la personificación del amor en todos sus aspectos”: nacido del Caos, “Eros personifica el poder creativo y la armonía” (1978):

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Graffiti on Doors: Imagining While Walking

Come down, go out:  walk down the streets of cities.  Walking as practice.  Thinking of Thoreau, who wrote an essay about Walking in 1850 and another on Civil Disobedience in 1849, philosopher Fréderic Gros notes that walking may teach disobedience:  “walking forces us to take a distance which is also a critical distance.”

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Graffiti on doors in Barcelona:  tags, wheat pastes, stickers. Works of desire: come down to the street, choose a place,  be alert. Walk and situate yourself in front of doors: make maps and Continue reading

Graffiti en puertas: andar imaginando

Bajar, salir: recorrer las calles de ciudades.  Andar como práctica.  Pensando en Thoreau, que escribió un ensayo sobre el andar (Walking, 1850) y otro sobre la desobediencia civil (Civil Disobedience, 1849), el filósofo Fréderic Gros observa que andar puede enseñar a desobedecer:  “andar nos obliga a tomar una distancia que también es una distancia crítica”.

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Graffiti en puertas de Barcelona:  tags, wheat pastes, pegatinas. Trabajos del deseo: bajar a la calle, escoger la superficie, buscar un sitio, ponerse al lado, estar alerta.  Andar y situarte frente a las puertas: hacer mapas y series de Continue reading

Wheatpastes in Lavapiés: Street Work: Shared Landscapes

Shared landscapes on calle Provisiones: handmade unsigned wheatpaste cows and calves: black contours, bodies drawn on newspaper: wheatpaste figures glued at eye level on the metal plates of the building of Madrid’s old tobacco factory or Fábrica de Tabacos de Madrid:

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Eight or nine wheatpaste cows that have morphed in the last Continue reading

Wheatpastes en Lavapiés: trabajos en calle: paisajes comunes

Paisajes comunes en la calle Provisiones: vacas y becerros de papel:  wheatpastes sin firma hechos a mano: cuerpos dibujados en línea negra sobre papel de prensa y pegados a la altura de los ojos sobre las chapas del edificio de la antigua Fábrica de Tabacos de Madrid:

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Ocho o nueve vacas de papel que has visto transformarse a lo largo de Continue reading

Stickers: Disturbing the Order of Things

Walls of Barcelona: schools of fish. Hand-made stickers placed unrequested on fences, walls, metal plates, windows. Routes of desire and uses of time: drawing, cutting out, going out to the street, choosing the surfaces, finding a spot:  stick, stick, stick, keep on walking.

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Practices of desire:  stickers on the streets, popping out as gifts: schools of Continue reading

Pegatinas: perturbar el orden de las cosas

Paredes de Barcelona: bancos de peces. Pegatinas hechas a mano pegadas sin permiso sobre vallas, paredes, chapas, ventanas.  Rutas del deseo y usos del tiempo: dibujar, recortar, salir a la calle, escoger las superficies: pegar, pegar, pegar, seguir andando.

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Prácticas de deseo:  pegatinas por la calle, como regalos: bancos de Continue reading

Feminist Wheatpastes in Lavapiés: Practices of Memory

Forms of intervention in the city, using the street as a platform: Lavapiés, Madrid, January 2016. Wheapastes with white background, displaying a brief biographical note on the left, a black and white photo on the right, and a statement of intent under each photo: in this neighborhood,  “to exercise a practice of memory…to introduce and to value” the struggles of those “women, lesbians, and trans who have contributed to destroy power.” This practice is understood as an act of recuperation because the social, political, and cultural struggles and achievements of these women have not been registered in the official history:

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Using wheatpastes on the walls, a collective woman subject seeks to produce a circuit of acknowledgement and value for those non-normative lives devoted to freedom.  The posters do not bear a signature, so their weight focuses on the message delivered and the choice of place: meeting areas in public space.  One of them is the small plaza de Ministriles (2007), a space of Continue reading

Carteles feministas en Lavapiés: ejercicios de memoria

Formas de intervenir la ciudad, usando la calle como plataforma.  Lavapiés, de enero de 2016. Carteles de fondo blanco, con unos breves apuntes biográficos a la izquierda, una foto en blanco y negro a la derecha, y una declaración de intenciones debajo de cada foto:  en este barrio, “hacer un ejercicio de memoria”:  “dar a conocer y valorar” las luchas de “mujeres, bolleras y trans que han constribuido a destrui[r] el poder”.  Acción de rescate porque esas acciones no están inscritas en la historia oficial:

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A través de los carteles pegados con engrudo sobre las paredes, un sujeto colectivo mujer busca producir un circuito de reconocimiento y valor para esas vidas no normativas dedicadas a la libertad.  Al no llevar firma, el peso de los carteles se concentra en el mensaje y en la elección de los lugares:  lugares de encuentro.  La pequeña plaza de Ministriles (2007), espacio de socialización del Continue reading

Economies of Life and Death: Wheatpastes in Madrid

A series of good-size wheatpastes with the outlines of animals sacrificed to factory farming circulated in a number of streets in Madrid and through Instagram and Twitter in the middle of the summer:

redesycalles IMG_6130“The egg industry hides suffering, exploitation, and death.” Av. San Luis, 15 August 2015.

These wheatpastes catch your attention due to their extreme economy of means–white background, black line, a clear slogan–and to the potent effect created by their location:  they spring up, without signature, out of the walls of busy streets in Madrid, altering the course of your walk and your thoughts.  It is not the defense of animal rights what is most thought-provoking about these pieces, with their messages spread on the outlines of different animals:  besides the hen of the picture above, cows: “Milk consumption hides suffering, exploitation, and death!”:

redesycalles IMG_5516“Milk consumption hides suffering, exploitation, and death!” Calle Fuencarral, 6 July 2015.

sheep (“killed because they’re not human”), fish (“eating animals is cruel and unnecessary”) and pork (“meat is the dead body of someone who wanted to live.”) Rather, drawing on the animal question, these pieces allow for a look over the abyss of the vulnerability of life, of the living, in neoliberal societies, and from there we can pose questions about the ways in which these societies administer the economies of life and death.  In this sense, the pieces dialogue with ideas posed by Cary Wolfe in Before the Law.  Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (2012).  Wolfe shows how the animal questions allows for an analysis of the ways in which neoliberal societies  “make live” and “let die.”  Wolfe calls attention to the fundamental ambivalence of Foucault’s notion of biopower:  at the same historical moment in which the scale of factory farming, and the optimization of the killing of certain animals, reaches nightmarish proportions, other animals are receiving unprecedented levels of care, through, for instance, the highly specialized and expensive pet care industry:  “the pet care industry in the U.S. grew in total expenditures from $17 billion in 1994 […] to $45.5 billion in 2009” (53).  In his review of Wolfe’s book, Gabriel Giorgi elaborates this ambivalence:  certain forms of life that include non human animals receive legal and economic protection (in the form of health and care insurances for some domestic animals), a protection that is not secured for vast numbers of others (both human and non-human), and which consequently exposes them/us to different forms of violence and death.  This is, of course, not a philosophical musing if we take into account the brutal cuts in social services, public health, decreasing aid in the care of children and the elderly.  As Giorgi points out, these political economies of make live and let die respond to the logic of global capital, “that makes the living body an instance of propertization and commodification in ways that have exponentially increased in the last decades.”

From the streets of Madrid, in the midst of the hottest summer in the last forty years, these pieces take us by surprise, inviting us to consider that we belong to a community of the living, to a life assaulted by global capital. These wheatpastes are one of the many responses to the suicidal logic of capital’s attack to life:  they open a space for reflection through a visual language produced by inhabiting the streets, with no desire to inscribe a name, using an epheremal medium, and with an economy of means.

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