A dead city
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.
- “4F with names and surnames: a reflection on police, the judiciary, the press and the politicians, during the suffocating silence prior to the broadcasting of ‘Ciutat Morta’“, Jesus Rodríguez in La Directa, 21/1/2015
- “Something stinks in Barcelona“, Argelaga review, 27/1/2015
- Two petitions to sign: for the reopening of the case, and for the resignation of the Judge that seems to have written the verdict before holding the trial.
- Webpage of the movie. It is the same producer of No-res: vida y muerte de un espacio en tres actas, on the demolition of Barcelona’s Colònia Castells neighborhood.
- The mayor of Barcelona presents an award for the directors, but they do not take it: ¿how can they accept it from the same hands that have caused all this story?
Sydney, a (post)colonial city
The ghosts of San Berillo
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.
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]
The protector of Phnom Penh
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.
- “Whose world cup?“, campaign of the Comités populars da copa (Ancop), and video “Who wins with this game?”, on the Observatório das metrópoles website. “Is the world cup ours?“, Jessica D’Elias study about evictions in Itaquera (Sao Paulo), on Rachel Rolnik blog :: “A Caminho da Copa“, videodocumental, 2012.
- Luís Edoardo SOAREZ, brazilian anthropologist: “What I know and what I don’t know about the protests in Brazil“ [in italian in NapoliMonitor] :: Raúl Zibechi, Uruguayan journalist: “Why is the World Cup indignant“, LaVaca.com
- Big sport events and human rights violations in Brazil: article by Fabiola Ortiz on PeriodismoHumano.com, and interview with Sonia Fleury on Brasildefato, about the Dossier prepared by the Comités popular da copa [PDF] :: Article and videointerview with the economist and sociologist Carlos Vainer, about conflicts related with big events. Note the reference to the transformation of Barcelona.
- Mauro Castro COMA (2012) “From the Olympic dream to the Porto Maravilha project: ‘eventism’ as a catalyzer for regeneration”. Urbe, v.3, n.2. [PDF] :: Magrinyà and Maza (2005) “Tinglados de Bar-ce-lo-na: la incorporación del puerto”, Scripta Nova, 139 [link] :: and don’t miss this jewel: “Barcelona Brasil group: Bcn is our inspiration and Maragall my idol“.
- Letizia GIANNELLA, Brazilian geographer in Barcelona: Some thoughts about the protests (2013) on Manuel Delgado’s blog.
- An article by Nazaret Castro about the World Cup and the Olympic Games in Río, in Intensificant vides nervioses blog (very much related to ours)
A photographic and critical “gentrificatour” in Madrid’s Malasaña neighborhood
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”.
- Todo por la Praxis – webpage
- Anti-triball: critique, actions, reflections, images of the campaign organized by Agip-Pro collective from Patio Maravillas social center in Madrid. [WEBPAGE]
- “Gentrificatourtriball” on Paisaje transversal: negociación urbana para la transformación colectiva blog.
- Photo gallery: images taken during the last Gentrificatourtriball
Concrete geographies: displacements and trails on the territory, “Cicle Nòmades” with Xavier Ribas
Tijuana’s Flowers of the Rancho
Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution
Carnival King of Europe: against the domestication of the festival
The Pinheirinho massacre
- Video documentary: "Pinheirinho: a verdade nao mora ao lado", by Coletivo de Comunicadores Populares; and a reflection on the role of independent journalism.
- Brigadas Populares, Justiça Global, Comunidades e Movimentos contra a violência, "Pinheirinho: a first narrative of institutional violence" [PDF]
- More news: Eviction of Pinheirinho settlement [vídeo] :: "Who gained with the massacre?" [article in Brasil Indymedia] :: Ten lies about Pinheirinho [article in OutrasMídias] :: A week after the massacre [artículo] :: Right, state and terror in the case of Pinheirinho [artículo en A arma da crítica] :: Communiqué of Comitês populares de Copa :: A week before the eviction [text Alliance of Inhabitants]
- Dossier: "Big events and human rights violations in Brazil" [download PDF]
- See also the Grupo de Geografía Crítica Radical (GESP)'s webpage, from University of Sao Paulo
Istanbul, a city without limits. Documentary movie
- Ekümenopolis: Ucu Olmayan Şehir (Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits) (2011) a movie by Imre Azem, will be in Barcelona on november 15th, 8pm at Traslaciones festival in CCCB. Director Imre Azem will participate in the debate Istanbul relatos fuera de campo on wednesday 16th at 7:30pm. [Trailer1] [Trailer2] [Web]
“Negros” of the periphery of Barcelona: young Dominicans’ stigma and resistance
“…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 9Los 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.