Lavapiés, from intervention to interaction






In the very center of the oldest and most abandoned part of Madrid you may find the Lavapies quarter, once a Jewish quarter, and ever since "barrio bajo" of the capital city, where gipsies, migrants and other "dangerous living" people have come to live.

Now there you are with someone having discovered Lavapies as a city center, and thatís big business always. And it is even bigger when you may reach money from the EU devoted to social rehabilitation, and wait till the people living there have fled, and then you can buy the whole buildings without "bichos" (kind of insects).

Nothing new of course, but Lavapies happens also to be the place where a significant  number of young people related with arts, musics and the like, are living, mainly because it used to be a cheap place, and it contained some of the last streets in madrid where you still may find people talking at night in front of their houses, and that always gives you the fucking sense of a lost community and blablabla.
 
 


For La Fiambrera it was quite logical to start working with the grass roots community groups, a couple of years ago, when problems with evictions and rising prices started. We had been working with these people as political activists for years before...then we went home and kept working in our Fiambrera projects, which we liked to consider like some kind of wild signs and the like.

But now it had to be somthing different, we had to assume the consequences of all our bloody theories about site-specifity, contextuality and all that, to let the work as an operative dispossitive in the situation we were entering.

From the very beginning we started as one more of the social movements of the lavapies network, there was a particular group of people who knew how to deal with real-state holders, another who knew how to manage with the police (when you are coming from africa and do not have "los papeles") , our squattered house "El laboratorio" was also there...a network including some twentysomething organizations all joined to fight the gentrification of Lavapies.
 
 

There were some artists who went and said, well now, you are working with all these neighbours, squatters, and migrants... how will you manage not to lose your "artisticas integrity" ...or : aha itís okay for you to work with those people but surely you will be having a kind of "paternal" relationship with them...
 


 

Somehow it was easier for us than all that, mainly since we had already been networking with these same organizations on other political contexts, though not always "as artists"...nevertheless that previous work surely established some necessary respects and also some necessary losses of respect...

To us it is absolutely imperative to note that there were not two different poles of the "artistsí initiative" and the social movementsí ...This, of course does not mean the absence of any conflicts, but these conflicts would not be determined by our being artists, but would be purely political conflicts between different ways of understanding the construction of the political agenda and references...
 
 
 
 

At  this time we have been referring to what happens and what does not happen in our barrio: With the condition of the migrant peoples, with our public spaces, with the housing conditions, the politiciansí promises....
 
 



 
 

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