Saturday the 11th was a big day. And by “big” I don’t just mean special: everything was larger than life. The TAF! (Photographic Action Workshop) and some members of the association of people affected by the mortgage crisis, Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), got together to participate in the Inside Out Project Barcelona, organised by The Influencers festival. Together, we created this photographic intervention that covered an area of approximately 20 x 6 metres, using portraits by 20 photographers who had participated in the TAF! workshop organised at Enmedio and led by Oriana Eliçabe.
Almudena, a PAH member who was the subject of one of the portraits, was the first to pull on a pair of overalls and don rubber gloves to paste her own portrait on the wall. This inaugurated the wall in this public space in Plaça dels Àngels, located between MACBA and the CNT in the heart of Barcelona, which was the site of our intervention. Under the portraits, we pasted a phrase by José Luis, another mortgagee in danger of being evicted at any moment: “the dreams of mortgagees are the bankers’ nightmare.” Blown up to 9 meters long, this sentence summed up the feelings of the 41 members of the PAH who participated in the Inside Out Project.
During five hours, some 50 of us worked together, sharing our personal stories, which had now been transformed into social conflicts. Words merged into glue, photographs, and the cold weather on the day. The temperatures were low but they didn’t dampen our excitement.
Just before we finished the mural, almost exhausted, the logos of the banks responsible for the evictions started to pass through our hands. Catalunya Caixa, Deutsche Bank, Banca Cívica, La Caixa, Caja Madrid, Unnim and all the rest. The brooms with glue worked non-stop, everybody wanted to contribute to denouncing the symbols of capital that are causing so much hardship. It felt like an auction: “Sabadell, Atlántico, BBVA, Pastor! Any other offers? Barclays!, me, me, me!”
In a sense, carrying out this intervention was like building a big house. A house made of visions, dreams and struggle. Maribel’s family – her husband, her brother and her mother – holding hands, creating the shape of a house, became a roof for everybody else. Their hands now shelter these photos which will remain in place until the rain, the wind or the municipal cleaning service finally tear them from the walls. But not from our memories.
PS. This is just the beginning. Soon, very soon, there will be more surprises. Thanks to everybody who participated. For TAF!, it was an unforgettable experience, and we’re thrilled to have shared this wall with you and other brilliant projects such as Stop Balas de Goma.
PD: Esto es sólo el principio. poronto, muy pronto habrá más sorpresas. Gracias a todos y todas las que participaron. Desde el TAF queremos decir que fue una experiencia inolvidable, y que estamos muy felices de haber compartido esta pared con vosotros y otros proyectos tan interesantes como Stop Balas de Goma.