El Haouma, that is, the neighborhood

09/06/2015 admin 0
What happened to these young men that were so celebrated in 2011, the main actors of the so-called 'arab springs'? In recent years we only hear news about politicians, leaders, terrorists... but what about normal people, where have they been? The answer is simple: in their neighborhoods. In Hay Hlil, in Oukacha, in Hezbet el Haggana, where there is the same anger and frustration that there was before the protests.
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A dead city

21/01/2015 admin 0

Like chinese boxes, this documentary not only brilliantly shows the institucional and political corruption behind the police-orchestrated hoax known as ‘4F’, which began on February 4th, 2006 in Barcelona’s calle Sant Pere Més Baix, but it also extends in a coil the understanding of horror to wider levels of society: from the police, to the judges, to the press, to social services, to the city council, to gentrification, in brief, to power in itself. Like before Joaquim Jordà’s De Nens (2003), now Ciutat Morta leads us from a particular history to the deep and terrifying comprehension of the general, of society, of the city. To the memory of Patricia Heras, the dead poet.

Sydney, a (post)colonial city

22/11/2014 admin 0
On the occasion of the opening of "Australian 'Ndrangheta", webpage of a UCL research group of which our friend Stephen BENNETTS is a member, we propose a series of interesting videos and texts from the other corner of the world, on topics such as the expulsions of Aboriginese from native lands and urban neighborhood as Sydney's Redfern.
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The ghosts of San Berillo

21/03/2014 admin 0

Different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, writes Italo Calvino, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves. At time even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices’ accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new gods are better or worse than the old, since there is no connection between them… We recommend you another Italian documentary movie: Edoardo Morabito and Irma Vecchio’s I fantasmi di San Berillo (2013), first prize at Torino Film Festival. The demolition of this old neighbourhood in the centre of Catania (Sicily), in 1958, was the biggest urban evisceration in post-war Italy, linked (as everything in the country) with Vatican’s Società Generale Immobiliare: 30.000 people where displaced towards the peripheries. It was the same year in which brothels were banned: prostitutes were forced to work underground, and what was left of San Berillo turned into one of the biggest “red light districts” of the Mediterranean. So the story of the neighbourhood went on for another half century, until 2001, when a new police operation evicted again prostitutes and transvestites from their houses and streets. Today many plots are still unoccupied, and some became new favelas (see this 2012 video). The documentary shifts visually from past to present, and the images are associated with the fascinating words of writer Goliarda Sapienza, born in San Berillo in 1924.

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The Secret

08/02/2014 admin 0

In the middle of January, many neighbourhoods of Naples still celebrate the ritual of the cippo di Sant’Antonio. After New Year’s Day the young boys search the whole city for firewood, also very far from their neighbourhoods. Every gang gathers its woods in a secret place – “il segreto” – to protect them from the raids of the other gangs; they wait for the day of the bonfire, among the frenzy of the search for wood, and the clashes among the gangs, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, to defend the treasure from the attacks of the “enemies”. Everything happens in the streets, almost twenyfour hours a day: at morning they often skip school, by night they guard the hiding place. To accomplish their aim, the gangs pass over all the obstacles, either if it is their neighbours complaining for the yellings, or the police threatening them to confiscate the firewood. At a closer look, though, an internal set of rules can be found: codes and habits that are preserved from one generation to another. They are the same children that in school appear empty, lazy, apathetic, or the opposite, uncontrollable and agitated. During the days of the “cippo” you see them passionate, interested and disciplined. In the adventurous game they built with their own hands, they appear transformed, until the final catharsis arrives: when the fire is lit, they dance around it, singing, and throwing in the flames the firecrackers and their own clothes.

  • IL SEGRETO (2013), a film by cyop&kaf about the ritual of the “cippo” in Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli neighbourhood; special mention of the Jury at the Torino Film Festival, selected by Paris international festival Cinema du Réel [trailer][webpage][review in Quinlan]
  • La sfida del cippo e la città alla finestra“, by Luca Rossomando, Repubblica Napoli 1/15/2013 [here also translated into spanish], and “Il segreto di Sant’Antonio“, Napoli Monitor n. 53, march 2013.
  • cyop&kaf generally paints, even if at times it stumbles on writing, urbanism, photography. When it took a videocamera for the first time, it had already spent three years before in a dialogue with Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli. The first fruit of that long work was a book, QS, then a movie, Il segreto: two pieces-synthesis, that together try to account the complexity of a neighbourhood corroded by prejudice. To look behind and inside the appearance, often brutal, of things. See also the video Quore Spinato [trailer] and the reportage Fuoco e fiamme [link]
  • Napoli Monitor, review of reportages, drawings, researches and chroniques, explaining Naples and other cities since 2007 [webpage]

A mediados de enero, en muchos barrios de Nápoles se celebra aún <strong>el ritual del <em>Cippo di Sant’Antonio</em></strong>. Después de las fiestas de año nuevo, los chavales empiezan a buscar leña para quemar, incluso muy lejos de sus barrios. Cada pandilla acumula su leña en un escondite – <em><strong><a href=”http://www.cyopekaf.org/il-segreto/#1″ target=”_blank”>il segreto</a></strong></em> – para protegerla de los asaltos de las pandillas de otros barrios. La espera del día de la hoguera, el 17 de enero, se consuma en búsquedas frenéticas y en las peleas, a veces reales, otras veces imaginarias, para defender el tesoro de los “enemigos”. <strong>Todo acontece en la calle, casi venticuatro horas al día</strong>; por la mañana se salta la escuela, por la noche se hacen turnos para vigilar el escondite. Para llegar al objetivo, las bandas están dispuestas a pasar por encima de todo, sean los vecinos del barrio que se quejan del ruido, sea la policía que amenaza con secuestrarlo todo. Observando más de cerca, pero, se descubren reglas y códigos de comportamiento que se transmiten de una generación a la otra:<strong> son los mismos niños que en el colegio aparecen vacíos, perezosos, desmotivados, incontenibles e irrequietos; en los días del <em>cippo</em> en cambio se los ve apasionados, atentos y disciplinados</strong>. En el juego aventuroso que han construido con sus manos aparecen transformados, hasta la catársis final, cuando se enciende el fuego y se baila, cantando y tirando en las llamas los petardos y la ropa.
<li><strong>IL SEGRETO</strong> (2014), una película de <strong>cyop&amp;kaf</strong> sobre el ritual del <em>Cippo </em>en el barrio <em>Quartieri Spagnoli</em> de Nápoles; de una idea de <strong>Luca Rossomando</strong>. Mención especial del jurado en el <a href=”http://www.torinofilmfest.org/?action=article&amp;id=427″ target=”_blank”>Torino Film Festival</a>, seleccionado para el festival internacional <em>Cinema du Réel</em>, Paris <strong>[<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0pPPZpHEV0″ target=”_blank”>trailer</a>][<a href=” http://www.cyopekaf.org/il-segreto/#1″ target=”_blank”>página web</a>][<a href=”http://quinlan.it/2013/11/24/il-segreto/” target=”_blank”>reseña en <em>Quinlan</em></a>]</strong></li>
<li>”<a href=”http://napolimonitor.it/2014/01/16/24309/la-sfida-del-cippo-e-la-citta-alla-finestra.html” target=”_blank”>La sfida del cippo e la città alla finestra</a>”, de <strong>Luca Rossomando</strong>, <em>Repubblica Napoli </em>15/1/2013, y “<a href=”http://napolimonitor.it/2014/02/07/24493/il-segreto-di-cyopkaf-la-prima-napoletana.html” target=”_blank”>Il segreto di Sant’Antonio</a>”, <em>Napoli Monitor</em> n. 53, marzo 2013. <strong>
<li><strong>cyop&amp;kaf </strong>dibuja, aunque a veces tropieza en la escritura, en la urbanística, en la fotografía. Cuando ha cogido la cámara de video por primera vez, llevaba tres años dialogando con el barrio <em>Quartieri Spagnoli</em> de Nápoles. El fruto ha sido primero un libro, <a href=”http://www.cyopekaf.org/books/qs-un-libro-dai-quartieri-spagnoli” target=”_blank”>QS</a>, y ahora una película, dos obras-síntesis que juntas intentan dar cuenta de la complejidad de un barrio corroído por prejuicios. Para mirar detrás y dentro la aparencia a menudo brutal de las cosas. <strong>Ver también el vídeo <em>Quore Spinato</em> [<a href=”http://vimeo.com/84214894″ target=”_blank”>trailer</a>] y el fotoreportaje </strong><strong><em>Fuoco e fiamme</em> [<a href=”http://napolimonitor.it/fotoreportage/quartieri-spagnoli-fuoco-e-fiamme” target=”_blank”>link</a>]</strong><strong> </strong></li>
<li><strong>Napoli Monitor</strong>, revista de reportajes, investigación, dibujos y crónicas, activa desde 2007 [<a href=”http://napolimonitor.it/” target=”_blank”>página web</a>]</li>

The protector of Phnom Penh

21/09/2013 admin 0
Outsized buildings erected suddenly and without any order; the police occasionally killing protesters; traditional healers slowly converting the millions of ghosts of the genocide in ancestors and protectors of the land. A look on Cambodia's capital.
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WHOSE megaevents?

11/07/2013 admin 0

Who were London 2012 Olympic Games for? Were they for the athletes,  the sponsors, the organizers, the global audience? Or were they for us? Our friend Gynna Millan (from UCL Development Planning Unit; in 2009 she presented a proposal for Repensar Bonpastor competition), together with a group of video enthusiasts, studied the impact of the “greatest event on earth” on public spaces, parks and local communities in London. The result is a video archive available on Whose Olympics? website, and a short documentary [watch trailer]. Two years later, we can ask again: who will Brasil’s 2014 World Cup be for? The world cup is not ours“, write these architects from Río Grande do Sur, quoting Plato. These megaevents are transnational, as the protests they elicit. But the discourse of globalization, that transforms any local event in just another chapter of the same story, it’s not our own either. As we discussed in a recent OACU meeting in Barcelona (where, obviously, we have the precedent of 1992’s Olympics), we are much more interested in differences than in similarities. Anthropology has to keep an eye on correspondences and interrelation on the “macro” level, but it explores mainly the local articulations, what is unmeasurably “micro”: all that can’t be compared, all that is specific to each story, place, events, and to the impact of each phenomenon on every particular territory.

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A photographic and critical “gentrificatour” in Madrid’s Malasaña neighborhood

01/03/2013 admin 0

On february 9th, 2013, Todo por la praxis (TXP), a group from Madrid, organized the first of its programmed critic and photographic walks focused in the process of gentrification which is happening in Madrid’s city centre, specifically in the historic neighborhoods of Malasaña y Chueca. An enterprise of real estate developers, in need for new investments in an era of financial cuts and economic contraction, with support from the City Council, promoted a “programmed gentrification” of the area, which has been renamed Triángulo Ballesta (TriBall). The new triBall brand inspires from NYC’s business zones like SoHo and Tribeca, in an attempt to replace and erase the identity of this popular area of the city. Gentrificatour intends to generate an archive of pictures of posters, labels and luminous of the commercial and productive activities that existed in the neighborhood before their replacement. […] The intention is to build a time-capsule that will allow us to evaluate the effects of a process of gentrification, and, in this way, to make them more visible” we read in TXP’s website. Victoria Herranz, photographer and anthropologist from Madrid, part of the group, explains: “Does Malasaña exist? Maybe; or maybe it exists in a different way. […] The line that divides the rehabilitation of a neighborhood from its destruction is too thin. When a process of rehabilitation limits the options of the neighbors to the point in which families have to leave the neighborhood, maybe something is going wrong”.

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Concrete geographies: displacements and trails on the territory, “Cicle Nòmades” with Xavier Ribas

16/12/2012 admin 0
This sunday 16th at 6:30pm the anthropologist Maite Marín and the photographer Jordi R. Renom invite us to the last nomadic trip organized in "El Centre", Ateneu democràtic i progressista de Caldes de Montbui, doubtlessly so interesting as the previous sessions of Nòmades cycle, that are taking place since one year ago. In this session they will show us the photographic project of Xavier Ribas, and starting from it we will hold a debate among photography, urbanism, architecture, anthropology. To the conversation are also invited the urbanist-photographer-arquitect Kathrin Golda-Pongratz, the architect Emanuela Bove from Repensar Bonpastor, and the anthropologist Núria Sánchez Armengol, a member of our research group. The work of Xavier Ribas Nòmades deals with issues such as limits, frontiers, expulsions from territory, everyday life, simbolic violence and historical memory, starting from photos taken in peripheral territories. Xavier Ribes has been working since 1994 on different projects in urban peripheries. "...Peripheries are not all the same. In Barcelona is not the same thing if you visit Besós or Llobregat, or if you go to Nou Barris, Pedralbes, or Sarrià… I'm interested in periphery, among other issues, because it is a counterpoint, or countervision, to the city thought from the center. If contemporary city differ in something, these are their peripheries more than in their urban centers. So, we could say that the true character of the cities is in there, and that peripheries, more than equalize, generate identities". [link on blog "a sangre" by Francisco Navammuel]

Tijuana’s Flowers of the Rancho

24/10/2012 admin 0
Our friend Anna BOSCH had been giving a workshop in participatory photography at Rancho Las Flores, a spontaneous settlement in Tijuana: shanties and self-made houses less than 1km from the most frequently crossed international border in the world. In few cities the inhabitants are so heavily influenced by images built from outside: Tijuana is represented alternately as borderland or as "center of the universe"; as a city without law, or as a "perfect place" for US tourists.
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Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution

27/04/2012 admin 0
The first chapters of Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution are online. The independent troupe of Leil-Zahra MORTADA had been updating this series of videos whose trailers we already linked in a previous post. [caption id="attachment_3505" align="alignleft" width="120" caption="Rasha Azab"][/caption] Chapter 1: Rasha Azab. 29 years old, journalist. She had been involved in social movements since 2000. In the west, she explains, they promote an image of egyptian activists as sweet and non violent: this is a strategy to calm down the protests. "No revolution happens for Twitter or Facebook. Revolutions occur when people take the streets, resist, die, sacrify important things".
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Carnival King of Europe: against the domestication of the festival

21/02/2012 admin 0
"Carnival has often provided an outlet for popular expressions of discontent with the ruling classes, and was actually banned in Spain during Franco’s Fascist dictatorship, under the pretext that the Carnival practice of disguising one’s identity with masks might provide cover for leftist insurgents to launch surprise guerrilla attacks.". Though Carnival King has been tamed almost all over Europe, it could come back to life in other continents of the world. A group of activists based in Fremantle (Perth, Australia) propose since 2004 a Carnival festival in the ancient European style: irriverent, nonconformist, countercultural. Meanwhile, in some parts of the old continent, Carnival is taking back its ancient value as an occasion for social protest.
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The Pinheirinho massacre

31/01/2012 admin 0
In the morning of january 22nd, 2012, 2000 military police broke into the Pinheirinho settlement in Sao Paulo (Brasil) with helicopters, tanks, horses, tear gases, and began the eviction. Almost 10.000 people had been living there for about 8 yeras; they had just regularized their housing titles. But the eviction was promoted by a company whose director fled the country in 1990 for finantial crimes, and that now needs the land to speculate, keeping them empty. In preparation of 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, some 170.000 people are under eviction all around Brasil. Residents of Pinheirinho strenuously resisted the eviction, that ended with 7 dead, and tens of wounded and arrested. Public houses had been promised to the evicted, now stacked in churches or gyms; but "those in charge of building social houses are part of the same bloodthirsty, prejudiced and deceitful elites as the governants..."
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Istanbul, a city without limits. Documentary movie

15/11/2011 admin 0
"In Istanbul, we crossed the ecological limits, crossed the population limits, crossed the ecological limits. If you ask me where it is all going to lead, I will quote from Doğan Kuban: chaos" Mücella Yapıcı, chamber of architecture of Istanbul.
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“Negros” of the periphery of Barcelona: young Dominicans’ stigma and resistance

26/10/2011 admin 0
…blacks always worked like 'niggers'; blacks are the ones who work hardest, because they want to live like whites do…” Simón, 16 years old, living in L’Hospitalet (BCN) from age 9
Los Kitasellos is the name of one of the youth groups in the outskirts of Barcelona with which anthropologist Luca Giliberti (University of Lleida – FPU-ME researcher) is doing his fieldwork. Freeing themselves from the mark ("quitarse el sello") of being different, means for many young Dominicans in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat resisting against the stigma with which they are labelled, even by the institutions - in political campaigns, constant police raids, newspapers always in search of Hispanic gangs - and convert this discrimination in an emblem of black identity.