In a medieval Barcelonan side-street, urine, rubbish, and a bewildering array of graphic imagery splatters the narrowing walls between two major thoroughfares. A contemporary conflict between residents, unknown artists and others is played out using banners, bottles, stickers, posters, stencils, spray paint, and bodily substances. In this shadowed liminality, local and global debates are superimposed upon substructures constructed from disease, prostitution, and the Saint of the Plague. The continuing urban struggle constitutes temporal statements of dirt and purity, violence and humour, dominance and resistance, death and salvation. Like the renovated facades masking the crumbling remains of structures long neglected, the local government’s literal whitewashing of the art is a temporal cover-up of a discursive symptom stretching from deeply embedded preconditions. Our research focuses upon investigating this use of material culture within deeper urban temporalities through ongoing survey and documentation, Geographic Information Systems, and historical documentary research.
Orengo, HA and DW Robinson. In Press. Contemporary engagements within corridors of the past: temporality and the urban space of St. Rock Street, Barcelona. Journal of Material Culture.