CICdB is a series of collective creation and research processes aimed at restoring the memory of the informal city and activating it in the present, that is, the construction of knowledge and the establishment of practices around informal manifestations (past and present) of the urban. CICdB is an initiative that wants to adopt strategies, ways of doing and perspectives that are typical of the informal city, the barraca (self built hut).
The work processes of the CICdB are organized around the History Workshop, an ongoing space of participation and collective organization open to the former residents of the barracas of L’Hospitalet, as well as any other interested parties.
Some questions that have arisen from these processes are: can we recapture the stories and subaltern knowledges from the city outskirts? Can we collectively construct new ones? From the barraca can we organize new epistemological devices that are not subject to the hegemonic models of production of social space?
LaFundició launched this project in mid-2015, as a result of previous actions and processes linked to the informal city and its memory, and out of a desire to critically reflect on the idea of institutionality. Our work has enabled us to observe how institutions are articulated within a wider web of factors, that is, between the institutions and the network of relationships between discourses, ways of doing things, policies, tools and structures that shape them.
LaFundició initially got the project moving by, opening the process upto a wide and varied network of collaborations with people, groups and organizations. Neighbours of Bellvitge and Gornal (former residents of the La Bomba, Can Pi and La Cadena neighborhoods in L’Hospitalet), the amateur archivist Jorge Blasco, the Research Center of L’Hospitalet, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, and La Virreina – Image Center have all been actively involved in the project in different ways.
In 2015, CICdB was selected as the runner-up for the CCCB’s 1st International Cultural Innovation Award. In 2018 the CICdB evolved into the European project Where the city loses its name with fellow partners Binaural / Nodar in Portugal and AltArt in Romania.
Un año más reiniciamos el Taller de historia del CICdB en el Centre Cultural Bellvitge-Gornal. Todos los jueves de 18 a 20 h.
El Taller de historia es un espacio en el que antiguos vecinos y vecinas de los desaparecidos barrios de barracas de L’Hospitalet se encuentran para recuperar colectivamente la memoria de los lugares que habitaron. También está abierto a todas aquellas personas que quieran colaborar en esta tarea. En el taller no sólo hablamos de las historias de estas barriadas sino que es
también un lugar de encuentro y desde el que organizar acciones para difundir esta memoria: desde la Sardinada o los boletines hasta la iniciativa para un futuro monumento a los vecinos y vecinas de la Bomba.
Habrá comida, presentaremos dos nuevos números de los boletines del CICdB así como un avance de la publicación Where the city loses its name (resultado de estos dos años de colaboración), con...
Un año más reiniciamos el Taller de historia del CICdB en el Centre Cultural Bellvitge-Gornal. Todos los jueves de 18 a 20 h. El Taller de historia es un espacio en el que antiguos vecinos y veci...
Hace cosa de un año y medio organizamos en La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, junto a la asociación Lacho Baji Cali del Gornal el tercero de los Rromano kidipen (lo que podríamos traducir del roma...
El próximo jueves 7 de febrero, de 18 a 20 h, el Taller de historia tendrá lugar en L’Harmonia, el espacio de arte del Museu d’Història de L’Hospitalet. Crear una radio-novela de las barri...
How do we organize an archive that meets the characteristics of the informal city, how do we think about the archive from the barraca? If we consider the archive to be a device of power and control, is it possible to think of an archive that does not reaffirm the forms of oppression that have historically been exercised over the informal city through its representation? Is it possible to build a community archive, that is, an archive built to serve the community, to appropriate the means of production of symbols and knowledges?
These are some of the questions that have articulated the conception and creation process of the CICdB archive. The CICdB archive to date collects images and documents in digital format contributed by former residents of the informal districts of Hospitalet (who still keep them under their custody and care). The structure of the CICdB archive was initially devised in collaboration with amateur archivist, writer and independent researcher Jorge Blasco in 2018. Luca Rullo provided technical response to this structure, creating the digital platform for the archive.
The work processes of the CICdB are organized around the History Workshop, a space for participation and collective organization open to former residents of the barracas of L’Hospitalet, as well as to all those interested in the collective restitution of the memory of the places they inhabited. he workshop is not only a place to talk about the stories of these neighborhoods, but it also serves as an informal meeting point (and sometimes a place to reunite with old friends); it is a place where we listen closely, collaborate, and make decisions to organize actions aiming at spreading this memory.
These dynamics contribute to the emergence of specific work proposals that are discussed and developed collectively with the support of LaFundició. Since its launch in 2015, the CICdB History Workshop has given rise to the following projects and lines of work:
CICdB bulletins are newspaper publications that cover the history of the disappeared shantytowns written by their protagonists.
Portrait – made out of texts, images and documents – of the families Soriano Villanueva and Salines Gil, told by Narciso Soriano Salines, a descendant of both families and who spent his childhood in the La Bomba neighborhood.
The architecture and urban planning of informal shantytowns are characterized by a precariousness that does not guarantee optimal living conditions. However, in its constructive practices and informal ways of making a city we can also find some potentials that the planned city has lost. Especially regarding the ability to independently make decisions concerning the built environment and to modify it based on the needs of the communities who inhabit it.
The future headquarters of the CICdB is operates as a display of architectural and urban planning technologies (in terms of construction, regulations and architectural programs) to explore and develop the power of informality in the construction of space and the citizen exercise of right to the city.
In this regard, the future headquarters of the CICdB will explore and update the constructive and social virtues of the informal city, avoiding the skills deficits often associated with self-construction:
The main feature of the program of the headquarters of the CICdB will be the interrelation of the various lines of work of the CICdB and will have to fulfill two fundamental programmatic tasks:
What is the point of talking about memory in the barraca neighbourhoods (informal self-built settlements)? In what way are the barraca neighbourhoods part of the city and European heritage? How can we think about heritage when nothing material remains? What can we learn from the barraca neighbourhoods for a better understanding of the contemporary city?
These are some of the questions that run through “Where the city loses its name”, a project with the participation of LaFundició (L’Hospitalet), AltArt (Cluj, Rumanía) and Binaural/Nodar (Nodar, Portugal), who are developing work processes involving the informal city in past and present in order to analyze current manifestations of “the urban” and to think about its future.
We can understand the city as a palimpsest where innumerable human (and non human) actions have marked its surface throughout history and multiple layers have accumulated and overlapped, slowly sedimenting over centuries.
In the last decades, European cities have undergone deep transformations due in most cases to the spatial, colonising,demands of global capitalism: i.e. outsourcing, construction of big logistic infrastructures, touristification or the gentrification of their historical centres.
The barraca neighbourhoods, as well as their inhabitants, rarely fill more than a footnote in the pages of the history of the cities (if indeed they are not completely omitted). However, in its multiple manifestations, the informal has played and plays not only a significant role in how are cities have come to be, but can also give us the keys to imagining another city.
In the face of a business orientated approach to city governance, and widespread commercialisation in policy and planning (such as speculation, branding, commodification etc.) can the barraca neighbourhoods, and their self-organized ways of living and of making a city, be a reference for building alternatives? Can the way communities are woven together in the barracas be useful to generate alternatives to a society where each individual thinks of himself as independent from the rest?
Finally, it is worth recalling the struggles of the people of the informal city and, whilst distancing ourselves from the narratives that represent them only as victims without agency, we remember and condemn the forms of both material and symbolical exclusion which they historically have faced.
The Sardinada is an annual event fostered and organized by the History Workshop (CICdB) where old residents of the barraca neighbourhoods of Can Pi, La Bomba, La Cadena and La Sargonera meet to eat, drink, talk and share memories together. The event also offers continuity to the work developed from the workshop itself.
In the events organised to date, the CICdB archive has been shared and extended; the different issues of the CICdB bulletin have been presented and distributed; the map of La Bomba has been extended and we have made a series of radio programmes in the street. Furthermore, at each event the new initiatives of the CICdB are presented, such as an exposition about the neighbourhoods of the barracas of Gran Via Sud at the Museu d’Història de L’Hospitalet, a project to install a (working) water pump on the Gran Via as a monument to the people of La Bomba, or the project to self-build a barraca as the future base of CICdB.