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

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