Agostamiento (Withered). Abierto x Obras.

Basurama proposes an interior landscape for Abierto por Obras. It has been extracted from the plantation of 7000 sunflowers it has cultivated on Gran Vía del Sureste Avenue during the summer of 2016 with the community of the Ensanche de Vallecas area on the very southeasternmost edge of Madrid. An impossible public space welcoming everyone for a chat and a few sunflower seeds. (Sunflower seeds are one of the most popular snacks in Spain and have served as the cheapest form of entertainment for decades).

What was to be the main boulevard of the 60 meter- wide avenue is actually a secluded terrain vague of 350 mts long and 30 mts wide that has been standing there for years, waiting for a plan that is not to be completed. Is one of the many leftover that the burst of the 2002- 2007 housing bubble left in Madrid. A bleakly heartbreaking and unsettling urban landscape, set out and reinvented as an agricultural landscape, and becomes a meeting place, producing both crops and relations.

Among that leftovers of the new city, there are people living, who have decided to put their lives and their communities in their own hands, taking care of them and its public spaces. When the August ploughing comes around, the cycle of life and inflorescence gives way to space for life to be built and shared.

Photos of the process

Some more info:

 

ABUNDANCE

Never before has there been such an ABUNDANCE.

 

As José Luis Pardo said in the talk named Never was trash so beautiful:

Book One of Marx’s ‘The Capital’ opens thus: ‹‹The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities”››. Today, we would have to say that the wealth of those societies, in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as an immense accumulation of trash. Indeed, no other form of society either previous or external to ours has produced trash in such quantity, quality and speed as we have”.

 

Never before has there been such an abundance. Abundance is regarded as prosperity in our time, such that it has actually become invisible within the landscape. Abundance could be infinite, due to its condition of being desirable and reproducible (production systems). Indeed, there is always more. In capitalist societies, trash is a symptom of abundance. The most inherent feature of our society is consumption, whose most apparent imagery, albeit invisible and overshadowed, is cardboard: the box that once contained all or nearly all the goods.

 

When walking around the city, boxes accumulate at our feet imperceptibly; those boxes that had carried everything we had admired, bought and consumed in the daytime. Inhabit the abundance is an installation art site specific which covers the gallery’s façade to then colonize it. The artwork welcomes and invites us to enter the gallery following a signposted way, while it spreads out itself, invading the space. In parallel, it makes it inhabitable, turning it into a cosy space, yet cavernous and odd. By using collected cardboards and unofficial waste collectors from shopping areas in downtown Madrid, the work plunges us into and absorbs us in the accumulation, so that we feel the abundance, experimenting its excess, its overflow, its vastness.

 

Within the installation, some photographs of the projects conceived by Basurama with unofficial waste collectors occupy the walls. These waste collectors and recyclers are essential in the trash recovery process and they are usually undervalued by society. They have been a key part of many Basurama’s public and collaborative art interventions and they are experts at managing the waste we produce in cities. The photographs show both the surroundings and tools used by these waste collectors and recyclers operating in an informal economy. For this exhibition, the artworks selected are: “Los buzos del vertedero de La Duquesa” in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; “Carro de un tamborero” in Mexico City: “Mina de cartón” in El Cairo, Egypt, where the Zabbaleen survive by processing thousands of tons of cardboard; and a picture from the tryptych “A lomo de caballo criollo se hizo la patria” in Montevideo, Uruguay.

 

Likewise, the exhibition includes two video pieces: “Chainwork Reverted” and “Still lifes of Abundance”. In the first video, a shopping trolley, a symbol of consumption that links consumers with recyclers; the transportation of newly bought goods and rescued waste. In the second one, we see everyday still lifes that could be found in any city in the world late on any afternoon, just before sunset, when abundance emerges, when it becomes visible yet at the same time remains unseen. The show ends with, a photography series called Poemas Invisibles, a landscape of 30 pictures based on the hidden meanings that revolve around the cardboard and the hundreds of hands that work with it, transport it, write on it, read it. These are photographs of cardboard boxes collected from different cities all over the world. The artists propose possible new interpretations by tracing the memories that the cardboard has left throughout their short lives (yet long journeys). By coming closer to these boxes, the pictures bring to mind visual abstractions that might evoke the works of other contemporary artists.

 

Trash is abundance. Abundance is consumption. We die in abundance.

 

Living as Form

Living as Form provides a broad look at a vast array of socially engaged practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art. The project brings together twenty-five curators, documents over 100 artists’ projects in a large-scale survey exhibition inside the historic Essex Street Market building, features nine new commissions in the surrounding neighborhood, and provides a dynamic online archive of over 350 socially engaged projects.

Basurama have included the work Residuos Urbanos Sólidos (RUS) in the following spaces:

  • The Art and Society Research Center, Tokyo, Japan, November 15, 2014 – November 28, 2014
  • Technion / Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, May 28 – June 28, 2014
  • Artport Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel, December 26, 2013 – March 7, 2014
  • Museo de Arte Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico, November 14, 2013 – February 13, 2014
  • The 4th Anyang Public Art Project, Ayang, South Korea, October 26, 2013 – May 15, 2014
  • McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown, Ohio, September 7  – November 9, 2012
  • Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, California, April 17 – November 9, 2012
  • Videotage, Hong Kong, March 1 – May 10, 2012
  • Essex street market, New York, 24th of September and the 16th of October,2011.

Nato Thompson is the curator of the Exhibition. You can read the statement here or watch the presentation

http://creativetime.org/programs/archive/2011/livingasform/curator_statement.htm

TrashLation

TrashLation is an artistic project produced in conjunction with ART­EX program. The purpose of the program is to research and reflect about the concept of consumption-identity and waste.

The purpose of this project is to visualize at world level, how much waste each and every one of us produce regardless our social class, country of origin or age; to be able to display in images how local and global are closely related; to produce talks about consumption and waste; to see others through what generally remains hidden, their rubbish.

These following countries take part in Trashlation: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hungary, India, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Norwey, Philiphines, Southafrica, Spain and Sweden.

When researching on the relation consumption-identity both, evidences and topics raise up, but we also discover surprising correlations among global trash and people. Trashlation follows the trail of concepts and meanings related to consumption and need, consumption and desire, consumption as memory, citizens as consumers, differences between consumption and consumerism…far from being a sociology or survey pretension, it nourishes from the global and collective imaginary and the trash of people, therefore their intimacy taking part in the project.

Trashlation does not pretend to compare occidental excessive/acceptable consumption with the increasing consumption of south countries. Trashlation displays how each participant plunges into their own inorganic trash and select what they believe that represents them better: their life style, their social status, their “taste” as social distinction, their whims, secrets and vices. The truth is that we all make use of a sort of filter when choosing not what really shows who we are but what we want people to identify us with. When choosing our trash we are making a self-portrait of consumption-identity, we show our ”b side”, the most public and at the same time intimate side of ourselves.

 In this tension we situate Trashlation, generating a landscape of our daily life.

 If you want to be part of the project, just send us your portrait and a picture of the waste you produced during the last 24h following this instructions.

 

EXHIBITIONS

 You can check the TrashLation exhibition cataloge.
// June-July 2016. La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Manila, Philippines.
// February-March 2016. Centro Centro. Madrid, Spain.
// September-October 2015. Melbourne University, Australia.

 The exhibition was divided into 3 parts:

CONSUMPTION AND IDENTITY (we are what we throw away) collecting the participants diptychs.
CONSUMPTION AND MEMORY, vacuum zip bags with selected trash of participants from all countries.
GLOBAL CONSUMPTION, UNIVERSAL CITIZEN an edited video morphing photos received.

 

Learning from the mining areas

See many more pics.

We were invited to participate in the exhibition “Learning from Las Cuencas” (Cuencas are the mining areas of Asturias, northern Spain) a research project on the cultural landscape of the Asturian coalfields.

  • Place: Laboral, centro de arte y creación industrial. Gijón, Asturias.
  • Date: 27.09.13-23.02.14
  • Other participating artists: Óscar de Ávila, Basurama, Edu Comelles, Cómo crear historias, Antonio Corral Fernández, Bárbara Fluxá, Marcos Martínez Merino, Fran Meana, Mind Revolution, OSS Office for Strategic Spaces, Recetas Urbanas, Daniel Romero

The project defines four scenery that determine landscapes of “las cuencas”: natural, rural, industrial and urban; starting with these landscapes, is proposed an analysis of the artifacts that have been settling through the hybridization of the four concepts mentioned.

Basurama propose a second layer of perception through the design and installation of traffic signals.

Road signs indicate things that are not so clear at first sight: both potential hazards become visible as lines of action or even resources. Their function is to notify the items that we can find in the way and recommend us to behave in one way or another. They serve both to remind the native ( who is so used to that path that gets too
confident) as the newcomer (who is unfamiliar with the environment).

But these signals are produced from a central agency that, through a general protocol, applies this landscape acupunture in local areas.

Would it be possible to extend and deepen this protocol, and manage its distinctiveness among the different actors that populate a landscape?
Even… would it be possible to design, manufacture and geotag our own signs to show the world a subjective story?

This project is an emerging prototype, rather than working directly with a community, the designs have been pre – defined by a few artists. These designs are available to various agents with the intention of test reactions.

You can see the all the signs we worked with in an animated gif above,
and below the interventions did with the five we finally produced





Photo credits: LABoral / Paula A.C

6000km

6,000 km is a documentation project devoted to research into cities’ metabolism, making visible certain hidden landscapes related to production, consume, and waste. Through a series of photographs, data an text, the project seeks to show specific spaces where waste is produced, handled and manipulated. Apart from the obvious ones —such as landfills and scrapyards— transport infrastructures and new models of urbanization are studied.

The project has focused its research in the effects of the real estate bubble in Spain. The last economic expansion period experienced in Spain has increased the use, and miss-use, of land. The research  “landscapes after the battle” focuses on the post real estate boom, and its effects over the territory.

The project used different media streams to display and gather information:

10 tactics for information activism

The 10 tactics displayed in informationactivism.org –a project devoted to provide different ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause– are a good way to explain different features of the 6000km.org project. What methods have been useful to extend the message and empower others to act and spread the message?

1. mobilise people.

The interactive map has been the main interactive platform to display and gather information about places to study. The open publishing web has allowed thirteen users to submit 87 entries. It must be mentioned that half of these users are part of the core group of the project. How these kind of platforms could be more inclusive and more widely used?

  • To make open platform for civic engagement it might be useful to detach the project from the activist-artist-producer and make it a more white label-platform. For good or bad the promoting group, basurama.org, is the author of the project and that could make other activist to make their own projects. Projects like Open Street Map have managed to be seen as open publishing critical platforms.
  • Projects must include tools for participation, but theyl also need promoting tools to be able to spread the word.

2. witness and record

The project is an open archive for all the situations that have a big impact in the territory. A panorama photo from the place, taken from a human perspective, shows directly how the location is. The photo goes along with a text and some data regarding the location.

We are thinking of doing a follow up of the places we have visited so far and have a series of photos of the places across time, as well as the evolution of the story of the place in a wiki style.

3. visualise your message

The meipi tool offers different approaches to visualize the locations posted on the map:  by categories, an interactive mosaic of photos or the map. This sections list all the locations posted in the open platform. Then we decided to make our own curated archive in the 6000km.org site and a book. Does this proliferation of visualization help send the message or are it is “too much” information for the user?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEOEZD9AR9Q]

Anyway, we are thinking in possible new strategies to reach a broader audience by using more media tools in a more intensive way. Here some examples of collaborators: video (TOMOTO) and audio (eneko).

As the project right now is based in big format panorama photos, we are planning a series of videos animated them with different techniques and the extensive use of DIY aerial potography we have explored recently in Saugus Ash Landfill in Massachusetts.

4. amplify personal stories
We haven’t used personal stories, but in its way we try to reveal hidden stories of certain places.

5. just add humour
In the quotes that we use for every location we try to extract from high and low culture references:
From Shakira in Marina d’Or urbanization:

“Y ahora estoy aquí
queriendo convertir
los campos en ciudad
mezclando el cielo con el mar”
“Estoy aquí”. Pies Descalzos. Shakira. 1996

to Miguel de Cervantes

“-Por cierto, señor Sansón Carrasco, que tenemos nuestro merecido: con facilidad se piensa y se acomete una empresa, pero con dificultad las más veces se sale della. Don Quijote loco, nosotros cuerdos: él se va sano y riendo, vuesa merced queda molido y triste. Sepamos, pues, ahora, cuál es más loco: ¿el que lo es por no poder menos, o el que lo es por su voluntad?”
Segunda parte del ingenioso caballero don Quijote de la Mancha. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. 1615

With the IESO (Instituto por el Desarrollo de la Sostenibilidad), a kind of Yes Men Scientific group, we have also explored some humorous and media approaches to address similar topics: SostenibleTube.com. See 100% Sostenible video with english captions

6. manage your contacts
We have worked with very different kind of people (environmentalists, artists, experts) and organizations to make the research, but we’ve not maintained them. We are thinking of having an open email list to communicate among collaborators.

7. use complex data

The map is the more complex visualization. We preferred to have more specific-realted quality content, instead of a bulk-GIS approach to the locations. Still, we are looking for data bases that we could use. So far, our geolocations are available in a kml format: http://www.meipi.org/6000km.kml.php

We also contributed to Open Street Map (OSM) project by uploading information about the places we studied. A lot of the landfills we’ve studied so far, were not in google maps and not in OSM. Check here and play with the layers to see how the landfill in Saugus is only in OSM map.

8. use collective intelligence
The collective mapping tool use the crowd-sourced generated information to extend the research and facilitate the work of others.

9. let people ask the questions
All the sites that we have built have open comments and encourage people to publish their own content: collaborate + open call for collaborations.

10. investigate and expose
The whole project is an open end research. How can we make it more open?

“RELAT DE BELLES COSES FALSES” (A tale of nice fake things)

After its display in  Lo Pati Centre in Amposta “Relat de Belles Coses Falses” was re-opened in Arts Santa Monica Barcelona from 15th October 2014 to 25th January 2015.

Participants of the exhibition:

  • Verdolatría: Carlos Aires, Josep Berga i Boix, Joaquim Mir, Mariona Moncunill and Rasmus Nilausen.
  • Appalling Regions: Javier Basiana, Jaume Orpinell, Basurama, Julia Montilla, Xavier Ribas and Joaquim Vayreda.
  • The garden: Pau Faus, Palle Nielsen, Enrique Jorge Ribalta Radigales and promised lands: Miquel Barceló, Patrícia Dauder, Jaume Mercader and Txema Salvans.
  • The Skin: Rosa Amoros, Fina Miralles Francesc Ruiz, Francesc Català-Roca, Angels Ribé and Alberto Schommer.
  • Towards new landscapes: Joan Fontcuberta, Albert Gusi, Perejaume, Frederic Perers and Job Ramos.

No place is a landscape if prior art has not noticed it and fixed in the form of artistic representation. This is the idea behind Relat de Belles Coses Falses, an exhibition of landscapes through thirty works of diverse languages ​​and  backgrounds. The exhibition travels and offers different ways to create the landscape.

Curated by Albert Martínez López-Amor and Blai Mesa Rosés

Balloon mapping workshop

At Basurama we were invited to participate in the 7 000 000 000 art exhibition curated by arlandismarroqui in the EACC (Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló), and we develop a project to fit the exhibition and our purposes: we wanted to start a local chapter of balloon&kite mappers in Spain, using Public Lab tools, and awake the inactive Public Lab mail list in Spanish. To fulfil our goals we organized a 3 day workshop (January 31st – february 2nd 2014) with local groups to produce 3 local maps.

It was a great time in Castellón. We were able to show how to do balloon mapping to a wide range of people (activists, photographers, mappers) and start a small community of users, let’s see how it develops.

You can check the website with maps and photos of the “Defiende el territorio desde el aire” project (in Spainsh).

Our attempt and results

1. Preproduction

We bought 2 balloon mapping kits (with and without kites) and 2 extra balloons from the Public Lab store. We discovered a week before the workshop that the packages was held in customs, we had to pay taxes (74€).

We bought 2 compact cameras: the Canon Powershot a1300 and a1400 (165€) and 16GB SD cards and rechargeable batteries.

We bought the helium and transported it in a big rented van that could fit the balloon when inflated, so to avoid inflating and deinflating it.

2. Contact local groups

We made a public call and emailed/phone called different local environmental groups and citizens. We asked them which places they would be interested to map and made collaboratively a list with potential locations to map. We wanted to support local struggles that were already engaged with the defense of the territory. Castellón region is a good example in Spain to show the destruction the real estate bubble caused.

We got some groups engaged in the project in Valencia and Castellón:

  • In El Saler village, a local organization was fighting to revert the construction of road into a street to recover their historic access to their harbour lake. Map available.
  • In Castellón, a local ecologist group was interested in having a look to what was happening in an industrial area (El Serrallo) in the harbour that contained a BP refinery, an incinerator plant for dangerous substances, and two thermal plants. Map available.
  • A new residential area was going to be built, but it got stopped and left a “broken” mountain at the north of La Vall d’Uixó. Map available. The local group of Ecologistes en Acció is planning to use the photos for their mobilizations.

3. The workshop: theory and practice

We split the workshop in parts:

Theory (indoors):

Friday afternoon we organized a 3 hour workshop on:

  • introduction to Basurama, Public Lab and 6000km project.
  • digital cartographies (Open Street Map, GPS traces, layers)
  • aerial photography (passenger pigeon, pole photography, and ballon mapping)
  • a mapknitter session with existing photos from mapmill (Tidmarsh Farm)
  • free licensing theory, open research
  • discussion on which locations to map. Local groups told what was interesting for them.

Around 20 people showed up: ecologists, artists and local activists. Ecologistes en Acció del País Valencià y Molts Mons.

Practice (outdoors):

On Saturday (10am until sunset at 6pm) we made a session in Castellón outskirts with all the participants from Friday, We taught how to build a rig and inflate a balloon. We made our first flights in the vicinity of the refinery, El Serrallo. We only could get the border of such a huge industrial area, wind didn’t help

After a good paella lunch we continued mapping in Moncofar, in one of those places where streets have been built, but no buildigns are around. We got many motion blurred pictures (we had wrongly set the mode of the camera to aperture mode), not enought to build a good map.

After every flight we downloaded the images to our laptop and to the laptop of one of the participants. For next time we have to remember to tell participants to bring their own laptops, usb or hard drives to bring the images home with them. Later on it is much more complicated to transfer so many images (6200 images that day, 6 flights in 2 locations, 15.3GB). There was not enough wind to fly kites.

IMG_8162

Results were great but we were concerned with the lack of sharpness of the images, check the thread about this in the Grassroots Mapping list. Cheap Canon powershot a1400 and a1300 are great, but not the best quality. The final maps looked good, though!

In some of the images, because of the strong wind (or other deffect), the camera moved inside the 5 liter water PET Bottle with the Rubber Band Rig, and we got some or the corners of the images with the bottle. we tried in the next flights to fix the camera better.

Introduction to the workshop at Casa de la Demaná, in El Saler (Valencia).

Introduction to the workshop at Casa de la Demaná, in El Saler (Valencia).

On Sunday we travelled 1 hour south, to the outskirts of Valencia city, to El Saler to map the CV-500 road that separated since decades villagers from their lake. After a quick introduction (a short version of the Friday workshop + how to build a rig) in the indoors space of the local association we started mapping. We made a boat trip to map the road and the lake as well.

The road CV-500 that separates EL Saler villager from their harbour's lake.

The road CV-500 that separates EL Saler villager from their harbour’s lake.

The regional association of associations Avinença had announce the workshop and many people (around 50) came to the workshop. It was difficult to manage such a big group. Our plan was to use the 2 kits and split the group in two, but one of the cameras was missing! It appeared later inside a bag… keep your cameras close!

After a brief meal in a bar we tried to find a place were to show the photos and make a quick demonstration with mapknitter. (5 fligths in one location, 5291 photos, 14.7GB).

Mapping from a boat going to l'Albufera

Mapping from a boat going to l’Albufera

4. Postproduction

After 3 days of intense flying and workshopping we still had to select and knit and print the maps for the exhibition. We made an extra flight in La Vall d’Uixó to be sure we had good images!

Though every night after flying we had ordered the images, we still had to select the good ones and decide which ones could be good enough to build a map. We wanted to make this process collaboratively with local groups, but due to the short time we had left we had to do it on our own (we had to come leave Castellón) Rubén and me, the Basurama team at Castellón.

After a long mapknitting session until late that night we started exporting the three maps. We had some problems with the tool crashing, better export them one at a time.

Next morning we continue fixing some errors in the maps and exporting. Later on we used Inkscape to prepare the maps for printing: add scale, north and explanatory text. Ready for print in 1.2×1.2m paper and hang onto the wall.

mapa-pai-la-vall-duixo

For next time it would be better to to some extra time to make a mapknitting session with the participants, otherwise they don’t get a sense of the whole process (though we have explained it) and maps appear magically finished!

5. Exhibition

The results of the workshop at EACC in the 7 000 000 000 exhibition

The results of the workshop at EACC in the 7 000 000 000 exhibition

The collective exhibition was opening on Friday night, the day the workshop was starting. We displayed previous related maps and a note on the wall saying that we would print the results of the workshop.

Public Lab balloon Mapping kit at the exhibition

Public Lab balloon Mapping kit at the exhibition

Our section displayed:

  • Previous maps: Saugus Landfill (MA, USA), Ruins of PAU ensanche Vallecas (Madrid, Spain).
  • Balloon and kite mapping kit
  • Google maps and Bing aerial photographs of the locations local groups wanted to map.
  • List of the locations local groups wanted to map
  • Screen with photos of the workshop
  • Maps, results of the workshop
  • Balloon (while the helium inside lasted)

Maps

Polígono industrial El Serrallo #
Castellón de la Plana. 1 febrero 2014.

El Serrallo (Castellón)
In Castellón, a local ecologist group was interested in having a look to what was happening in an industrial area (El Serrallo) in the harbour that contained a BP refinery, an incinerator plant for dangerous substances, and two thermal plants. Map available.

Carretera CV-500 a su paso por El Saler
Valencia, España. 2 de febrero 2014

El Saler and the CV-500 road

El Saler and the CV-500 road

In El Saler village, a local organization was fighting to revert the construction of road into a street to recover their historic access to their harbour lake. Map available.


PAI inacabado en La Vall d’Uixó #
Castellón. España. 3 febrero 2014

Mapa de un PAI inacabado en La Vall d'Uixó.

A new residential area was going to be built, but it got stopped and left a “broken” mountain at the north of La Vall d’Uixó. Map available. The local group of Ecologistes en Acció is planning to use the photos for their mobilizations.

The public Public Lab balloon mapping kit

Kit para hacer fotos con globos y cometas de uso público

One of the main goals was to build a local community of balloon mappers. One kit with a camera and a bottle rig remained in the exhibition space, and the other ready for the participants to use during the 3 months that the exhibition lasts, until April 27th 2014. Many people got excited during the workshop, but then we know that it is not easy, even when you have the kit, to organize a flight. Let’s see how it works.

The project has participated inen

The propject has taken part in different forum and exhibitions:

Thanks to / Collaborators

Public Lab  community for helping us think and organize this set of activities
Locations and research: Avinença, Ecologistes en Acció del País Valencià, Molts Mons and Casal Popular de Castelló
Photos: Lot and Lucía helped with the documentation.

This text is partially crossposted at PublicLab.org.