dimanche 24 avril 2011

Cultural Video Project

Barcelona is the squatter capital of Europe. More than 100 squatters have been evicted, but at least 300 remain. The squatter population is due to the major housing crisis the Baecelona is having because owners are opting to rent to tourists instead of residents. As a result, many buildings stand empty when it is not tourist season. But they enjoy a large amount of public sympathy, which makes it difficult for authorities to weed them out. The squatters fill the empty buildings and create a community for the other residence where before, there wasn’t one. The squatters in La Makabra, the building with the photo of the tree painted on the building, decided to smarten up during their occupation, and complained that the owners had deliberately let it deteriorate as a prelude to speculative re-development of the site. Locals were pleased to see the empty factory occupied, and brought them food parcels. This is also the group that held the “Naked Protest”. The protesters stripped off their clothes and invaded the platform as the mayor was presenting a new cultural policy for the Catalan capital back in 2006. They grabbed the microphone and shouted to the public: "The city hall has stripped us bare; but culture will not be evicted."
While doing this project, I made a point to go around and visit ever old squatter home I could (my professor mapped them out for me). Most were either repainted or destroyed and not worth photographing but the active one up the road is still bright and beautiful. Just like with the cave dwellers, these are a people I would want to get to know and possibly move in with. Then, architecturally speaking, it is fascinating to see how people take ownership of a space, especially when artistic people are involved

Professional (architecture) Video Project

just a link until youtube allows me to post it here...

Now I’ve told you all about the legitimate cave dwellers in the above video but the ones not so legit. On the opposing hill from Albaicin are the caves of the squatters. No one knows who exactly owns the land but in the past thirty years it has slowly been taken over and populated by foreigners and squatters. They slowly carved out their own caves from the existing ones but, unlike the caves in the Sacromonte neighborhood, these do not have running water or any sense of formality. In essences, it is perfect. As a dirty hippie at heart, the prospect of living underground without modern comforts speaks to my idiom. Walt Whitman would be proud. He was a transcendentalist who used the clarity of nature to explain the mysteries of our universe through his poetry. He would spend years at a time, isolated in the forests of America contemplating and writing. While this is a little kooky, there is some merit in his method. Nature is inherently perfect and so, by default, it is the perfect influence for any creative process. This is why I believe firmly in Bio-Architecture. From caves to cob to recycled materials, focusing on nature as our source point for architecture will only benefit us in the long run, such as demonstrated with Eden Project done by architect Nicholas Grimshaw. This is where the project truly speaks to me. While taking photos and exploring these hillside homes it has reaffirmed my own architectural idiom. 

Personal Video Project

So climbing, where to begin. Well we can start with the specific kind of climbing I do is bouldering. It is a kind of climbing that focuses on individual moves or short sequences of moves. It is very unlike traditional climbing or sport climbing, which generally demand more endurance over longer stretches of rock where the difficulty of individual moves is not as great. Also, one key difference is that there are no ropes. There for it requires much more technique and initial strength over endurance along with ingenuity. The routes for bouldering are called “problems” and that is exactly what they are, problems for the climber to solve. And this is where the awesomeness of the community comes in. when climbing, especially with bouldering; there is always a gathering at the base of the route/problem with people who are working it. They give each other beta (advice) and try and work the problems out together. There is no real competition, only friendly, and everyone wants to see those around them get better and reach new heights, literally.
In Spain, I have had the exact same experience with climbers as I had at home. First, when I was trying to find the tunnel, some found me wondering around, led me there, and really took me under their wing. Ed and I came really good friends, he speaks the most English, and we even found a few American friends for a few weeks (they are the ones I interviewed for the project). All-in-all climbers are awesome. That’s all there is to it. 

samedi 12 mars 2011


so i have been bouncing ideas around for a while now about what exactly my "documentary" should be about and it has not been and easy decision to make. i've danced around with multiple social and economical issues, such as the squatter population and La Rambla touristic terror, but none have captured my heart as much as ROCK CLIMBING and the community it includes. Climbing, or more specifically bouldering, is an activity i already enjoy back in the states. But, being able to continue doing it here and finding that the community of people are just as, for lack of a better word, cool and friendly with anyone has truly been my best experience here in Spain. it is for this reason i want my final project to be a documentary on the climbing community and the relationships that blossom from a common passion. my only regret is that i will also be climbing through out Europe and will be staying with other climbers (compliments of Couchsurfers.com) but it is not until after our final project is due.

dimanche 6 mars 2011


My photographic idiom is all about the marco. I love revealing the smaller universe around us and show new angles on the world that we live in that would otherwise go unseen. Some of my favorites are of nature and flowers looking up to monumental piece of architecture. It really messes with your sense of scale but also is an interesting commentary on the odd mix of nature and the city that we currently live in. Usually, I try to leave out people so that I have complete control over your since of placement in the photo but that is not to say it can’t still be done. Another one of my favorite photos was taken recently when I was slacklining with my new Barcelona friends. It is taken directly up the slackline pointing at Ed. The lines on the slackline shoot you straight at him but the angle is such that he appears to be a giant balancing on the end of this massive rope! All-in-all I just enjoy messing with people and shoving new ideas and perspectives at them, whether they like it or not.  

mercredi 2 mars 2011

new places new friends

this past week i've made friends with a local climbing guy Ed and his friends. we found each other on my tumblr when i posted a question to "Fuck Yeah Climbing" desperately trying to find a local climbing tunnel (its a revamped traffic tunnel on Montjuic made for rock climbers and boulders). Ed was the one answered my desperate plea for help and since then we have become fast and good friends! expanding my circle and becoming friend with locals is a more rewarding experience then i ever thought it would be and i cant wait to see what happens in the next few months!

this is from one time Ed and i slackligned in the Citadel Park

jeudi 24 février 2011


This photo was taken while I was on my class trip to Toledo, Spain this week/weekend (note:that is why my last blog post was late because I only had my iphone with me) and I believe many of Mr. Wright’s “rules” can be applied to it. First of all I had to get down and dirty in order to get this shot. I was bent over, knees in the mud, and hanging over the edge to a 50ft castle wall all in pursuit for this shot. Needless to say it was a bit beyond the call of duty Mr. Wright called for but we sacrifice ourselves for our art. There are also the angles of the composition for this photo that’s, while I was hanging on for my life, were all very carefully constructed. The transversing line created by the rock wall itself stretches from corner to corner creating a tile to the image. But this is then balanced by the heavy green moss and reaching blades of grass on the far right. There was also a considerable amount of shots before and after this one all taken at different angles and with different settings. With this final product I ended up using a wide angle lens, my macro setting on high, and a neat filter that comes on my camera names “pin hole”. It  is a reference to an old style photography in which light was let in from a single tiny hole in a box onto film in order to create a picture. Pin hole camera’s are extremely easy and affordable to make now-a-days but I prefer my little setting on my digital camera, at least for now.  I wouldn’t particularly say the lecture was helpful, any art or art related major should already know a great deal about composition or basic photography, but it did help me explain why I take photographs to way I do.

Here are some of some photo I took this fall on my film camera that I am quite proud of: