2 Creative experimentation

The product of human creativity, the European intangible cultural heritage, is a fertile breeding ground for encouraging any creative and multidisciplinary work process. Which aesthetics, which memorial culture, what sort of relationships between artistic production and audiences could serve to remember and bring the informal city to the present?
The creative experimentations proposed include different local and international artists or collectives’ residencies for the realisation of an anchored artistic intervention in each context, the process of which is followed up by the communities and partners. This part of the project also incorporates other artistic and creative processes emerging from the Extended Community Laboratory, sustained by the communities of memory themselves along with the partners. The results of all artistic and creative work processes are publicly presented and celebrated in public space during the project development.


The research about migration processes between the rural and the urban areas of Portugal and the resulting community dynamics and imbricated knowledges have been the source of the creative experimentation “From the mountain to the factory”.

This is a multifaceted creative process composed by a set of sonic experimentations ranging from interviews to songs and soundscapes as well as a collective performance with video, experimental music and sound installations involving former inhabitants of the shantytown.

The experimental video “The mountain fairy returns to the city” explores the research experience from another perspective, that of the immaterial and ethereal dimensions of the displacement from the village to the city. All these diverse artistic productions have been shared in a mixed-media exhibition including the documentation of the research process.


Building on the relations, tensions and nodes of content that emerge from the different spaces of community laboratories, an extended creative process has been hosted by a group of young people from PataRat.

Based on the experiments with language, rhyme and rhythm as well as the storytelling laboratories, a three month residency with the playwright Petro Ionescu and the theatre director Raul Coldea took place with the aim of creating a performative piece.

The residency process focused on the possibility of creating an alternative narrative of the informal city from the perspective of childhood and adolescence. This collective creation process results in a theatrical piece that articulates sketches of life stories through imaginary letters and poems that have been socialised in a community event.


Over the past two years, the relation between LaFundició and the sound art collective UltraRed has resulted in an exploration of the potential of soundscaping and collective listening in relation to the memories of the informal city. Following the fragile physical traces of the former barraca neighbourhoods, and through the methodological and creative exchange with UltraRed we came to understand the relevance of the social moments of listening and storytelling as a space for community organisation.

Exploring the potential of human voice and oral history, we have held a series of creative experiments merging the visual surface of super8 footage and domestic archives along with the voice of former residents retelling their stories. As stated by UltraRed in their publication Five protocols for organised listening, “listening has the potential to contribute significantly to the constitution of collectivity”. Thus throughout the process, we have experimented with different approaches to listening and podcasts as mechanisms to organise around memories.

Another dimension has been a more specific investigation relating to the experiences of the Aroma communities and their movement from the former barraca neighbourhoods to the housing projects in Hospitalet. This process has led us to dig into the potential of traditional and popular music as a surface of contemporary creation as well as a vehicle of memories and collective knowledge. Thus a series of songs telling the stories of the families who moved from the barraca to the blocks were composed, and a walking route took place through the vestiges of the informal city.

Depriving communities of their agency to tell their stories in their own terms is one of the core mechanisms of domination. Setting an hegemonic narrative of what is and what is not worth being called “a neighbourhood” is one of the necessary collateral processes that accompany big urban transformations. Hospitalet and Barcelona have experienced several waves of “urban renewal” and many communities have thus been relocated from their informal neighbourhoods to new housing projects. Following the traces of the ways of making a neighbourhood inherited from the barracas, we accompanied a collective exercise of self representation of the stories and symbols that are meaningful for the communities that live in one of these housing projects.

Hacking the tools of expert writing is one of the ways we use to challenge the assumption that the right to tell the facts of history is reserved for scholars and scientists. This is the reasoning behind the publishing of monographic issues where former neighbours tell their own stories and choose which are the aspects of life in the informal cities that should be told. A cumulative process to compose polyphonic memories.