iD Barrio Barcelona. On the 27th and 28th of November, an international seminar took place in La Capella, bringing together a group of people who exchanged experiences, projects, and studies, as well as the hope of introducing changes in city policy regarding the various districts and communities. 200 people participated in the seminar, and 32 lecturers from various countries, who, with individual or collective presentations, brought together various ideas on how to work on a district scale, originating in the arts, architecture, social activism or anthropology or activism.
The debates following the presentations were intense, acknowledging that we stand before a changing panorama of collective action, one which requires an expansion of creativity beyond the disciplines which have traditionally dominated the social sphere. To approach certain practices from a single perspective has become obsolete and inefficient, while creativity can expand the capacity for action, providing a tool and a political weapon within every citizen's reach. To spread creative capability, to develop projects collectively , to be able to instil the necessary trust for sharing projects, to be able to involve others in a project; all these imply broadening strategies of participation, a quantity which is in danger of becoming overrated.
The idea of participation was a constant theme in all the presentations and in the following debates. How to approach it, where to apply it and how to motivate it remain common doubts, but there should be a good reason to activate a participative process, depending upon what it offers and what might be expected of it. If participation cannot be achieved by means of a transparent process offering complete information, or if it is a cosmetic process, better if the community were not to be involved. But if the objective of community involvement in a process of participation is to encourage critical awareness , to bring a community together, to generate processes by which to exchange experience, and to motivate a particular change affecting the context, then we are also promoting social creativity in order to apply it to collective actions, whether this might be achieved through art, social engagement and collective constructs, since the objective is to influence all kinds of community issues.Participation becomes a political action, because it stimulates the potential and will [the desire?] for transformation, for exercising every citizen's right to be active in building a better world. For some, this world is the district, for others, the city, and for still others, the constant movement between different places. Participating in these processes of transformation is a right, as David Harvey writes, "The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city". But it also reminds us that the city is the arena for confusion, conflicts and violence, and as history has proven, protest and civility have been an exception. The city provides the stage for constant creative destruction and rebuilding, and possibly for reinvention and innovation through new creative actions. All participative processes require this simultaneously creative and destructive practice . This is why politicians tend to exercise strict control over participative processes.
The interest aroused by the seminar has reinforced the organisers' conviction that there is a need for those working on and carrying out community projects to share experiences and methodologies.
iD Barrio | Barcelona
Social collectivity, creative action and artistic practices
Seminar: November 27-28, 2009
The two-day seminar that tool place in Barcelona focused on the analysis of the urban environment through creativity, participation and artistic practices. A special emphasis was placed upon the management of participative processes, and the dynamics of work in local environments in relation to ultra-local processes and discourses. Artists, cultural officers, experts in urban transformation, and representatives from projects active in their local environments, took part in the seminar in order to analyse differences and draw out common points between the respective domains.
Contents and participants
Local context and global dynamics in the cultural institutional space.
Hans D.Christ, Iris Dressler. Directors of WKV Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. They have curated various projects, amongst others, On Difference; Politics of Space.
Daniel G. Andújar. Founder of Technologies To The People and director of various internet projects such as art.net.dortmund, e-barcelona.org or e-valencia.org. His work questions the democratic and egalitarian promises of new communication technologies.
Jordi Vidal. Director of HEART, Haute École d’Art de Perpignan, France. Noteworthy books include Résistance au chaos; Traité du combat moderne: Films et fictions de Stanley Kubrick;Servitude et simulacre en temps réel et flux constant and L’Extinction des Lumières to be published in 2010.
Active architecture and cartography. Spaces for exchanging experiences.
Basurama. Collective dedicated to research and cultural management which has focused its area of study and performance on the creative possibilities which arise from the generation of waste involved in contemporary processes of production.
Santiago Cirugeda. Architect. Carries out subversive art projects in different areas of the urban environment. He is currently working on self-construction projects in various Spanish cities, in which groups of citizens decide to create their own urban public spaces.
Martin di Peco. Architect, graduate of the Universidad de Buenos Aires. He is a member of various collectives of experimentation and research on society – art – territory. Sin|studio. Group of emerging creators dedicated to researching the link between architecture, art and social issues related to the commons. They carry out interventions in public spaces, with the aim of working within specific social contexts.
Traces of Autism. Interdisciplinary collective which works on the analysis and cartography of territory, by taking long walks through public space and producing an archive of their discoveries, converting them into maps, texts and videos.
Martí Peran. Independent curator and lecturer in art theory at the Universitat de Barcelona. He has recently curated the project Occasional Cities and Architectures Without Places. He is a member and editor of “Roulotte” and collaborates with various art magazines (Exit Express, Artforum International).
Creative mediation and community in artistic intervention processes.
Francesca Comisso. Curator and member of the a.titolo collective, dedicated to artistic practices which tackle the social and political dimensions of public space. She is a lecturer at the Turin Polytechnic.
Paola di Bello. Artist. Photography lecturer at the Brera Academy of Arts, Milan. Her work explores socio-political problems which define the contemporary city.
Viviana Bravo. Visual artist specialising in Integration between Art and Architecture. She carries out collaborative projects and interventions in run-down public spaces. lecturer at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de la Universidad de Chile and the Escuela de Artes de la Universidad del Desarrollo.
KUNSTrePUBLIK. Collective which produces in situ projects and strategies for public spaces which are either unused or undergoing changes.
District, participation and social diversity.
Gary W. McDonogh. Anthropologist. Lecturer and Chair of the Growth and Structure of Cities Program at Bryn Mawr College. Philadelphia.
Fadhila Mammar. Graduate in Spanish Philology from the Universidad de Grenoble (France) and Tunisia. Master in Migrations, Refuge and Intercommunity Relations. She is a mediator, and an expert in Intercultural Mediation.
José Luis Oyon. Architect, professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Among his books are: Atlas histórico de ciudades europeas; Barcelona, 1930: un atlas social; El cinturón rojinegro and La quiebra de la ciudad popular.
Montserrat Santolino. Journalist. Representative of the Associació Cultural Florida-Waslala which has participated in the Plan de Desarrollo Comunitario of the district and in the process of defining the Plan Integral, extended as a result of the Ley de barrios.
Sergi Alegre Calero. Deputy mayor of Urbanism, Territory and Environment and councilor of Plan de Actuación de Sant Cosme, Ayuntamiento del Prat de Llobregat.
Loïc Wacquant. Sociologist. Author of “Urban Outcasts”. He has analysed the suburbs of Paris and different American cities. Teacher of sociology at the University of California, Berkely. [He participated in the seminar with a text which was distributed to the assistants].
Video screening about collective actions in a district context. Carried out by Manuel Delgado, anthropologist and professor at the Universitat de Barcelona.
Directors of the seminar: Gaspar Maza, anthropologist, lecturer at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona and Ramon Parramon, director of Idensitat and lecturer at Elisava.
iD Barrio | Barcelona an IDENSITAT proposal for La Capella. Ajuntament de Barcelona in collaboration with the Goethe Institut and the Netherlands Consulate in Barcelona and the Genetalitat de Catalunya. Departament de Cultura.
iD Barrio | Barcelona.
Place: La Capella. C.Hospital, 56. 08001 Barcelona. Tel: 93 442 71 71
Seminar: November 27th-28th 2009
Workshop: From november the 30th to december 4th 2009
Touring Device exhibition: November 26 - December 8, 2009
iD Barrio | Barcelona is an IDENSITAT proposal for La Capella. Ajuntament de Barcelona in collaboration with the Goethe Institut and the Netherlands Consulate in Barcelona and the Genetalitat de Catalunya. Departament de Cultura.