Friday, February 6, 2009

Una visita a Patio


El Patio de Maravilla is the largest squatted social center in Madrid. Just after I arrived in Madrid, strolling about, we ran into a demonstration for the place, which isunder threat of eviction. In the nearby square, before a statue of a revolutionary heroine, many hundreds of people gathered to support El Patio in the face of an eviction threat. It was an excited crowd, listening to speakers on megaphones, whipped up by the big drums of a samba school band -- a festive event. Today I meet some folks at Traficante de SueƱos, a leading political bookstore and publishing company that carries many items on the social center movement. I was there in November to pick up some of these books and DVDs, the colorful independent media products that explain the movement. All of it in Spanish, of course. I can dance to it, but most of it regrettably I cannot understand… I return to Traficante, but the meeting is pushed back. I will return, and we will visit Seco Social Center. Traficante is buzzing, with customers and people working at computers in office suites just visible from the second floor of the bookstore. It is an architecturally curious place, built around and over a meeting hall. I profer a copy of the old book describing ABC No Rio (1985), and receive in return a lovely portfolio of silkscreen works by Taller Popular de Serigrafia of Argentina. These are not specific to social centers, but they are lovely things, militant images printed onto various kinds of fabric, and I will hang them around the room for “House Magic.”

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