Images from Madrid’s Sequestered Archivo 15M Are Exhibited in New York City, January 9-February 15, 2013 at Bluestockings. Show of digital images from the self-organized 15 May movement archive in Spain. The physical archive is bricked up inside Casablanca, the evicted social center, along with the Bibliosol library of the 2011 camp.
Digital prints from the Archivo 15M in Madrid will be exhibited at the Bluestockings radical bookstore and activist center in New York from January 9th to February 15th, 2013. The show was prepared by the caretakers of the archive of the famous encampment in the square of Puerta del Sol in Madrid. This camp sparked the 15th of May movement throughout Spain, the strongest European echo of the Arab Spring, and the forerunner of Occupy Wall Street.
The Archivo 15M group was formed only five days after the plaza takeovers flowered across Spain in May 2011. They began by asking people for materials that “spoke about the settlement,” documenting events and activities as they occurred.
All the originals of this material are now bricked up in the building which housed the evicted social center Casablanca. The self-organized occupied social center was evicted September 19, 2012. A re-occupation attempt failed, and now the building is sealed to its top floors and guarded by police.
Locked up in the building are all the banners, posters, letters, records, minutes, news, pictures, etc. that were collected during the events and demonstrations organized by the 15M movement. Supplies and furnishings have been lost as well, all materials purchased with the financial support of the 15M movement as a whole.
Archivo 15M was only one of many projects housed at Casablanca, serving childcare and education needs as well as numerous cultural groups. The Archivo had a sister project there – the BiblioSol, a fully fixtured library with over 10,000 books mostly donated during the 15M camp. These are also now sequestered.
The 15M Archive Project is self-financed and self-organized, operating in a horizontal and voluntary fashion. It is an integral part of the broader continuing 15M movement. It is not only an archive of activism, but also an activist archive.
The assembly of the Archivo 15M writes, “All material stored in the CSO Casablanca has a single owner and that is the people of Madrid who in an act of rebellion camped in the Puerta del Sol in May 2011. We insist on this point, the materials collected are the collective heritage of the people from Madrid and must be of public use.”
The eviction of the Casablanca social center in central Madrid, bare blocks from the Reina Sofia Museum, was unusual. It was carried out by national police, not as a result of a normal court case. The eviction was widely seen as part of a repressive campaign against the people organizing the peaceful civilian siege of the Spanish Congress on September 25th (the 25S movement), which had been meeting at Casablanca. The week previous, special police units intervened against an open assembly of the 25S movement in the park El Retiro, intimidating and taking names.
In his text on the situation, Miguel Martinez, a squat researcher with the SqEK group and an activist with Casablanca detailed the history of the building, which is a poster child for the kind of speculation which has ruined the Spanish economy.
A discussion event is also being planned for Bluestockings, a live Saturday afternoon chat with movement activists in Madrid. We would like the show to travel to other interested venues in the U.S..
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The Archivo 15M assembly writes:
“La librería Bluestockings acoge la Exposición 15M Archive desde el miércoles 9 de enero al viernes 15 de febrero de 2013. La exposición recoge una pequeña selección de carteles, pancartas y fotografías con las que podemos viajar al verano del 2011, cuando España se vió sacudida por una ola de protesta. El 15 de Mayo, el pueblo de Madrid tomó las calles y las plazas y dió vida a la primera acampada en Europa, “Acampada Sol”. El movimiento 15M no ha parado desde entonces de reclamar una democracia participativa y no subordinada a los intereses de los grandes poderes financieros.
La exposición está a cargo de la Comisión Archivo 15M de Madrid. Este colectivo asumió espontáneamente desde el primer momento la tarea de recoger todo el material documental generado por este movimiento de protesta. Con esta exposición pretendemos estrechar los lazos con movimientos inspirados por una misma sensibilidad en todo el mundo.”
Melissa García Lamarca, “Threatened Archive of a Protest Movement”
Communique from the Archivo 15M [October 13, 2012]
Madrid: CSOA Casablanca evicted
¡Viva la CSO Casablanca! | Facebook
“police intervened in the El Retiro park” –
Miguel Martinez, “The Necessary Squats”
SUBMITTED BY: 15M