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.