El Carrito: Week Ten, Saturday, March 26, 2011

Public Proclamations: Loving and Mocking in Fort Pienc

On Saturday morning at the Plaza ort Pienc, the members and participants of Espai Jove (The Young People’s Space, Eixample District Association) hosted a festival and Calçotada (a barbeque of a green onion like vegetable called the Calçots traditional in Catalunya). Upon arriving to the plaza with El Carrito, we saw the banner of “I ‘heart’ Fort Pienc” hanging from the trees. Turning towards the library building, another banner hung, presumably by the Espai Jove members, with a remark that loosely translate as “go to s…t”  taking a stab at humor and politics. While a Calçotada provokes expectations of music, food and people, politics had an unexpectedly large presence.

Politics in Public Space - Advocating for Catalan Independence

Barcelona Decideix, often present in the city’s public spaces on the weekends, had a booth in the plaza distributing information and taking mail-in voter ballots towards the independence of Catalunya from Spain. (The movement, begun in 2009, has gained international momentum with a presentation last week at the UN headquarters in New York.)

Politics and "Participation" from Solidaritat Catalana

I noticed another political group, Solidaritat Catalana, when one of the three members asked me to take a photo of them at their booth – a fold up table with a banner in front and a flag of Catalunya as a table cloth on top. To my surprise, they also sought resident participation! After a few minutes back at El Carrito, I wanted to return to ask more information about their objectives and process, but they had (to my surprise, once more), already left.  While I understand the objective of Barcelona Decideix, the latter political faction seems dubious in their proclaimed interest in resident participation that seems to have amounted to little more than a photo of the members. While I cannot understand the subtle motivations behind this political party, participation can easily be used as a tool towards self-aggrandizement instead of as a platform of listening to the real voices and needs of residents. Caught up pondering politics, participation and motivation, I decided to turn once more to the happier thoughts of the Calçotada festivities on hand.

Calçotada in the Plaza

At just before eleven in the morning, the plaza was full of activity. The youth members prepared for the festivities. The elderly observed them filling large containers of water at the fountain; parents with their children played and talked. It was also a sunny day. We set up El Carrito along Ribes Street to engage the residents strolling through the plaza. However, once the festivities began, El Carrito received little attention.

We decided to wait until after the games and Calçotada. While waiting, two brave Raons members (Martin and Alice) participated in the pre- Calçotada games, which were as follows: 1) the Trash-bag race; 2) Limbo; and 3) Water Container Relay-Race:

Raons at the Races

Meanwhile, El Carrito waited…

Patience at El Carrito

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