divendres, 26 d’abril de 2019

Barcelona as a global brand. From "The best shop in the world" to "Tourist, you are the terrorist"

Barcelona As A Global Brand.
From “The Best Shop In The World” to “Tourist, You Are The Terrorist”
[“Tourism and Seductions of Difference”.
Tourism-Contact-Culture Research Network / Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC), Leeds Met University /
Portuguese Network Centre for Anthropological Research (CRIA). Lisbon, Portugal / 9-12 September 2010]

Andrés Antebi / Gerard Horta / Sergi Yanes
(Observatori de la Vida Quotidiana)

This presentation is both the result and the continuation of a line of research begun in 2007 by Observatory de la Vida Quotidiana with economic support from Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya. A team of seven researchers has been analysing tourism phenomena such as uses, consumption, occupation, and itineraries tourists follow, elaborate and produce in the streets of Barcelona city. The result of this work, A voltes. Pels itineraris turístics de Barcelona, is one of the first social anthropology monographs about tourism and transit in the city's streets. One of the most motivating factors for this work has been the significant absence of research and reference work about tourism ethnology in the city.

Why is this not a matter of interest to social sciences beyond the cyclical supply of widely published statistics? How is it possible that such a relevant sociological phenomenon –not only because of economic reasons but because of the type of social processes it has unleashed– has not yet reached a deserving place in public administration donations, research groups, academic curricula and a long etcetera?

According to Llorenç Prats (2003), one of few experts on the subject in Catalonia, this relative lack of attention towards tourism is not general in the world. However, this seems to be the case in the Mediterranean context of anthropological research. The economic perspective, both from public administration and private enterprise, has dismissed qualitative aspects in favor of quantitative ones. The tourist phenomenon of Barcelona seems to only be explained from the number of visitors or the level of economic profit , ruling out socio-anthropologically burdening with problems  other aspects of this process and unleashing certain processes..

Despite the fact that this research paper could be related to classic studies linked to impactology and acculturation (Turner and Ash, 1991), (Santana, 1997) , Young (1973) and Doxey (1975), such has not been our intention at all. Without taking respect away from the importance of the traces left by the tourist, we have explored new territory using conceptual and analytical tools belonging to urban ethnography and those specific for work on the anthropology of tourism.

Walking around Barcelona's city centre nowadays constitutes an excellent opportunity to ask oneself about who speaks through a city's physical body. Who and how does one own a city? What mimetic relationships are developed inside its physical and psychological space? Is the tourist “outside” the city or, as opposed to it, is he just a given reaction against a certain, multishaped way of “being” in the city?  Walking around Barcelona, and looking at those who look at us, also makes us ask ourselves about the motivation behind the trip. What premises and representations do tourist experiences in the city respond to? Are tourists themselves victims or concious consumers of city after city standardised and typified representations?

If Bauman's liquid modernity has overtaken solid modernity, is it possible that the next step to a gas modernity begins to configure through tourist cosmovision and experiences? Liquid runs through fingers but gas adopts the spectral category of presences that suddenly appear and dissapear.  An immense physical mass of zombie-like automated bodies walk around places and paths without knowing where they are coming from, going to, why they are going, or for what. They are often induced by institutionalised idillyc representations during which the tourist destination starts to take shape.

If the tourist trip gives place to the surfacing of a repressed self that is hidden during most part of days and nights of the year, how does one articulate, then, the unending body of social relationships made out of gestures, attitudes, behaviours, regards, silences, surges, words, interrelations, and experiences linked to the presence of the tourist in the street? And how does the encounter that will end up shaping, or perhaps end, the relationship between host and visitor, as differencial subjects, weave in the street?

From Barcelona to BCN
The city of Barcelona has become one of the most visited places in the world during the last two decades. The transformation process into global tourist capital has been as vertiginous as spectacular. Some key figures: between 1990 and 2009, the number of annual visitors has increased from 1.5 million to 6.5 million. The number of hotels has gone up from 118 to 320, most of them located in Ciutat Vella. The number of conventions, congresses and incentive trips –adding up to half the number of total  annual visitors– has increased from 373 to 1873.

The designation of Barcelona as 1992's Olympic Host City marks the beginning of the trend. Ever since that moment the city started consolidating as a regeneration project of multidimensional transformation –very visible in relation to short term economic and urban aspects but very profound with regards to issues related to expressive, symbolic and identity dynamics–.

Maximalist architecture and its huge symbols were used to represent the change in productive sector. New greatly built Olympic facilities, together with the vedette show of architecture, had room within the integral regeneration project for the historical city centre. Spaces traditionally used by locals such as La Rambla, Plaça de la Catedral or Plaça Reial, emblems of an emerging cultural tourism, such as MACBA and CCCB (Fumaroli, 1991, analises the role these cultural institutions hold as the new religion of state), or totally regenerated spaces in leisure areas, such as the  beach front, were promoted as symbols of this “revitalising” huge process. This term is only ever used  in order to refer to working class neighbourhoods as if they were dying neighbourhoods one has to redeem of their forced agonising condition. These became, together with the Modernist Route and all the other routes that followed, new centres of tourist pilgrimage. Paralel to this, an ideological and symbolic arsenal has acted as configurating factor of a sophisticated citizen utopia. And so, good citizens are represented, now more than ever, as bearers of innocent qualities, with a lack of conflictive attitude, subjugated and consumed, attached to the old concept of host.

Barcelona's political, economic and cultural elite imposed a program for the scrapping of the industrial city and the birth of a new third sector focused city, centred around cultural, tourist and “knowledge” industries. This was done in reference to a conceptual scheme of urban regeneration  linked to a “spiritual reform” of the city. Barcelona became BCN in the middle of a permanent  performance. The promotion and canalisation of incoming tourism, which began to exponentially multiply year after year, got configured gradually under the control of what Smith (2005) calls “urban regime” or “symbolic regime”: a strong strategic alliance between the private sector, government bodies and community leaders, joined together by the objective of giving a definite boost to the city's integral transformation into a first class tourist destination. The creation of Consorci Turisme de Barcelona in 1994 implies, in this sense, the definitive adoption of a management model that equates the city to a commercial brand. This brand is destined to compete successfully in the global market of cities. Barcelona began by being “The Best Shop In The World” according to one of the first marketing campaigns of this body. The tourist boom was testimony to it. We are talking about Barcelona, a city that had been known as the Rose of Fire  by a large part of Europe's working class during the 20th century. The name came as a reference to the anarchist, emancipating fight of its citizens.

A new social model is then outlined under the shelter of self-promotional tourist slogans such as “Barcelona More Than Ever” or “Barcelona, Make Yourself Pretty”. This model was presented as exemplary and required absence of conflict through, wrongly assumed, collaboration from citizens. Everyone was meant to be mobilised, recruited as volunteers for this new paradise emerging in the south of Europe: “One can perceive the hospitality and kindness of its inhabitants walking around the streets, full of people and life” read the text of one of the leaflets given to tourists by the Consorcio at the time.

From Brand To Theme Park
Concepts such as 'festivalisation', 'thematisation' or 'disneyfication' (Augé, 1998) have been widely used to refer to Barcelona's evolution as tourist destination during the last twenty years. Many of the tourists walking around the Gothic Quarter in the evening often ask “What time do they close?”. They don't consider that there are people who still live there.

With regards to public space, the success of Bus Turístic –more than 2 million users in 2009– has diversified the supply into all sorts of guided tours and rental options for movement: bycicles, scooters, rollerblades, skateboards, segways and electric cars. The birth of a new tourist territorialisation based on intensive street use. Such offers are mainly oriented towards easing movement around the urban tapestry and towards making this moving around an exciting “adventure”, under the rules of consumerism, of course.

Hence, the good citizen, kind, Mediterranean, active and compromised, has become one of the first raw materials from which the Barcelona image given to the world nourishes. The moral qualities of locals begin to be promoted as added value to the sea, shopping or Modernism. This is specially so since the years preceding the celebration of Fòrum de les Cultures 2004 (Horta, 2004; Horta/Antebi, 2006), when the city is sold as a paradise of civic behaviour, cultural diversity and tolerance. Another example of this is the regeneration of Rambla del Raval (Horta, 2010). What is the tourist's behavioural response to these ideas? How does their city experience develop? To what extent does this motivate the conceptualisation of the tourist experience of the streets, and in the streets, of the city? Both tourists and locals are participants of this city project and this is the reason why the disposition of the city (ordered, kind, lacking in conflict) pretends to include all citizens (permanent and in transit) under standardised premises of behaviour, consumption and uncritical conduct. Delgado (2005) has questioned these issues upfront.

We see the acceptance of a globalised city as a dialectic process in which local and collective interests, together with response, or coping, strategies for a tourism model that is no always  homogeneous on the part of the citizen, intervene. Tourism is the meeting of some with others,  between two worlds with apparent different temporal interests, that meet and react.

“Is this what we wanted?” is what some locals incredulously ask whilst looking at the multitude of visitors roaming the city centre. They have to push and shove in order to reach city centre located markets in order to buy fruit...

Many neighbourhood associations, and other local entities, report an unsustainable situation –hotels with dubious legal status, unregulated tourist apartments, radical transformation of commerce, indiscriminated increase in prices, over-occupation of public space, massification, noise, dirt, lack of security, etc.– after the speculative process of the last 20 years.

We can find symbolically violent traces of this lack of affection for tourists written on walls in Raval, Gothic Quarter, Park Guell or the beach promenade. Edged on crusty façades, hand rails or walls, we can read: “Tourists, you are the terrorists”, “Tourists go home” “Good tourist, dead tourist” o “Why do they call it tourist season if we cannot shoot them?”. Just this summer, signs have appeared on crowded streets' pavements proposing separate paths for tourists and locals. These are prints on stone expressing a diffuse, ambiguous and paradoxical social upset of forced coexistence, economic dependency and rejection, of course. 

Often, this is about pure simple phraseology, pointing the finger towards the Other, towards those who come from the outside, making them guilty of all the bad things happening in the city, and which, in reality, works as the other side of the coin of classic primary racism, applied towards immigrants. Often, tourists themselves suffer the stigmatising consequences of the dominating model.

It even seems that the administration has begun to take note of this perception of tourism as a factor of social destabilisation. Initial documents for Barcelona's Tourism Strategic Plan 2008-2015 speak of the “feeling of growing conflict and tension”, “the need to ensure sustainability and the continuation of tourism success in Barcelona” and “the interest in achieving the involvement of  locals in order to create a positive consciousness about the tourist reality”.

The chosen path is the “washing” of classic mass tourism in favour of the elitisation of the visitor.   The public mise en scene is done through the multiple presence of luxury cruise ships, new iconic hotels, more propaganda that includes local natives as full rights actors and, paradoxically, an increase of police controls of all kinds. Barcelona's locals are often the first victims of these.

Police hassles African immigrant vagrant sellers at the beach front day after day, right next to the luxurious W Hotel in Barcelona, built right in the sea –breaking the national Coastal Law, which prohibits building at least 100 metres from the sea shore–. This hotel –the W standing for Whatever, Whenever– is one of the last icon buildings of the city's maximalist architecture. Its monumental glass façade projects a symptomatic game of mirrors: the old fishermans' neighbourhood, Barceloneta, is opened right through the middle given the massive arrival of speculators and high class visitors and its long standing inhabitants are forced to pack and leave due to the pressure of real state. Even so, it will still have to be seen whether this process will develop as those in charge have planned the no-future of their subjects.

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DELGADO, M. (2005) Elogi del vianant: del ‘model Barcelona’ a la Barcelona real. Barcelona: Edicions de 1984.
– (2007) La ciudad mentirosa. Barcelona: Catarata.
FUMAROLI, M. (2007 [1991]) El Estado cultural (ensayo sobre una religión moderna). Barcelona: Acantilado.
HORTA, G. (2004) L’espai clos. Fòrum 2004: notes d’una travessia pel no-res. Barcelona: Edicions de 1984.
– (2010) Rambla del Raval de Barcelona. Barcelona: El Viejo Topo.
HORTA, G./ANTEBI, A. (2006) Els usos espacials del recinte del Fòrum [Desembre 2005 – Novembre 2006]: anàlisi d’un procés social dramàtic. Unpublished research for Institut Català d’Antropologia for the Inventari del Patrimoni Etnològic de Catalunya of the Centre de Promoció de la Cultura Popular i Tradicional Catalana of Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.
PRATS, Ll. (2003) “Antropologia i turisme”. Revista d’Etnologia de Catalunya, 22: 8-11.
SANTANA, A. (1997) Antropología del turismo, ¿nuevas hordas, viejas culturas? Barcelona: Ariel.
SMITH, A. (2005) “Conceptualizing City image change: The ‘Re-imaging’ of Barcelona”. Tourism Geographies, vol. 7 (4): 398-423.
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YOUNG, G. (1973) Tourism: blessing or blight?  Harmondsworth: Penguin.

dijous, 25 d’abril de 2019

Fotografies del 25 d'abril del 1974 + Grândola, Vila Morena (Lisboa, 15-IX-2012)

Gerard Horta

Pantalla gran. Manifestació “Que se lixe a troika! Queremos as nossas vidas!” (“Al diable amb la troika!”). Els dos primers minuts reflecteixen el so de la multitud, que aviat comença a cantar l’himne popular de la revolució. La càmera de la televisió portuguesa prescindeix de fer primers plans de la gent, gairebé tot són plans generals i de lluny. Al final, la gent crida.

Grandola, Vila Morena
Grandola, Vila Morena
terra de fraternitat
el poble és qui més ordena
dins teu oh ciutat.
Dins teu oh ciutat
el poble és qui més ordena
terra de fraternitat.

Grandola, Vila Morena
a cada cantonada un amic
en cada rostre igualtat.
Grandola, Vila Morena
terra da fraternitat.
Grandola, Vila Morena
en cada rostre igualtat
el poble és qui més ordena
dins teu oh ciutat.

A l’ombra d’una alzina
de la qual no sabia l’edat
vaig jurar tenir per companya
Grandola, Vila Morena.
Grandola, la teva voluntat
vaig jurar tenir per companya
a l’ombra d’una alzina
de la qual ja no sabia l’edat.

Gent sobre un tanc. 

Dones, infant, homes al carrer.

Agent de la PIDE encerclat i detingut
a Largo do Carmo.

Homes que ploren.

Un infant mira la càmera entre mans entrellaçades. Fotografia: Alfredo Cunha.

Mural a les parets de Lisboa que commemora la Revolució dels Clavells.

La Celeste Martins Caseiro tenia 41 anys el 1974. Un soldat li demanà una cigarreta. Ella no en tenia, i com que el restaurant on feia de cambrera celebrava un any de l’obertura i vessava de clavells, oferí un clavell al soldat, que el ficà al fusell. Llavors tot de soldats començaren a demanar-li clavells i els carrers s’ompliren de fusells amb clavells rojos.
Sigueu on sigueu us estimem, Celeste
i companys que vau fer de soldats.

Lisboa, amor, revolució: A la ciutat blanca

[AVUI, 23-VI-1997]
Gerard Horta

A selva enteira nao me faz medo / enquanto houver uma árvore em segredo / que aqueça a história dos homens / e feche a história da vida / à estrada dos predadores.” Cinc cops he rodat per la teranyina de la ciutat blanca. Ella m’ha xiuxiuejat que tots els viatges són el primer, fora d’això no hi ha viatge (potser, a tot estirar, agència de viatges).

El 1982 va infantar dos diamants espirituals de la cinematografia europea contemporània: Dans la ville blanche (En la ciudad blanca en fou el títol a l’estat espanyol), del suís Alain Tanner, i Der Stand der Dinge (El estado de las cosas), de l’alemany Win Wenders. Totes dues històries s’esdevenien a Portugal, la primera d’elles a Lisboa, i arran de l’estrena de les pel·lícules, sobtadament, inesperadament, l’imaginari excèntric d’una Europa freturant de vida, decididament alternativa al dolor que aquest continent s’entesta a infligir i a autoinfligir-se, va ordir amb pressa, amb molta pressa, dinàmiques inabastables a partir de les quals una joventut pertorbada va llençar-se cap a carreteres del destí asfaltades i de dues direccions, i també cap a rails antics –caminhos de ferro–, en cerca d’un trajecte que l’havia de dur al Tejo, un riu verd que es fon amb  l’oceà emocional anomenat Atlàntic i que rega clavells vermells nascuts fa mil·lennis en les dues ribes que l’acompanyen. Bairro Alto, Madragoa, Estrela, Lapa... Els clavells havien esclatat amb una potència espaterrant el 1974, però el segle XX és un museu botànic i el seu consell d’administració no pot concebre un exèrcit compost per soldats que reciten poesia a les escoles, que ensenyen la quitxalla a llegir i escriure. Uh!, quina por! Lisboa, tanmateix, és bressol de cançons eternes per als temps remoguts de la fe. Aquesta ciutat ha après, des de la marginació i l’humor, que la fe demana distendre el cos i endurir les entranyes, i somriure a través de l’huracà i del tiroteig de la desesperació.

Als anys vuitanta la joventut europea més agitada, una part de la qual evitava l’heroïna mentre escoltava Joy Division –al caire de l’abisme de la supervivència–, va intentar comunicar el seu conscient i el seu inconscient en un trànsit que havia de tenir lloc a Lisboa, terra d’àngels i mariners, esclaus i éssers lliures, criatures i adolescents, funcionaris i treballadors, blancs i negres i mestissos. Lisboa, zona del caos, porta d’accés a la restauració d’un altre ordre, ritu de pas i d’expiació, espai paradigmàtic per a la manifestació de l’ombra instintiva d’Europa. La primera ocasió de les ocasions vaig petar a Santa Apolónia, llavors vaig reviure a Graça, a Alfama, a Anjos, a Baixa, a Rossio, al Rock Rendez-Vous, a la Praça da Alegria –mares, pares i fills del carrer, pinxos, prostitutes, macarrons, policies, mestresses, escombriaires, bars, carrerons, soroll i silenci, crits, cops, tendresa–, pedres perseverants del principi de l’evolució, enllà d’un Occident inhòspit. El suposat declivi que s’ha atribuït, com una cantarella gastada, a la Lisboa metropolitana no consisteix a perdre poder en el supermercat geopolític del capital. Per contra, la veritable decadència és la que es desferma en les mecàniques fosques dels camps d’extermini, i en aquesta ciutat hi veus  ulls i llengües de tots els colors. Llum clara, blanca, enlloc he vist escoltar el meu català amb tanta amabilitat, respecte i atenció, no necessiten elaborar discursos sobre multiculturalisme, allà no hi ha psicopedagogs mediocres “descobrint” la sopa d’all de la interculturalitat i el mestissatge mentre omplen les seves butxaques de monedes.

A la ciutat blanca un mariner, el Paul (Bruno Ganz), s’hi va perdre: t’has de perdre per poder-te trobar. Els supervivents d’El estado de las cosas creuaven un món devastat, maldaven per arribar al mar dels sentiments benignes; un d’ells era Samuel Fuller fent de Joe, i justament en aquells mateixos temps vaig aquietar-me en el titular d’una entrevista a Fuller, a l’AVUI: “El cinema és emoció i moviment”, ei, “car no ens és dat romandre enlloc”, escrigué R.M. Rilke sis decennis abans. Lisboa ens desafia intemporalment en qualitat de símbol, crida i estendard d’una Europa en moviment incapaç de reconèixer res en una altra banda que no sigui, ja, dintre seu. Lisboa és la gran font, la deu primordial de què brollen quatre rius: hi reconeixem emocions i pensaments i intuïcions i percepcions sensorials. Adonar-te’n no implica de cap manera capbussar-t’hi, malgrat tot un s’ha d’abandonar a les fluències de l’existència en nom de regnes de noves dimensions. La tradició de l’univers es dóna en un rierol, no en una piscina climatitzada.

Per virtut de quines ordinàries convulsions aquesta ciutat atlàntica i antiheroica va emprendre els viaranys tèrbols dels imperialismes? Per virtut de quines violències brutes havia de ser sacsejada, fa dos-cents cinquanta anys, pels terratrèmols de l’ànima? Per renéixer cal morir; per omplir cal, abans, buidar. Lisboa buida i omple els gemecs del misteri en barcasses i tramvies curulls de gent d’ulls paradoxals, com els de les gitanes i els gitanos magiars i catalans i occitans i portuguesos, que ens anuncien mitjançant la seva mirada alguna cosa inquietant i agredolça. En explorar Lisboa, jo no feia sinó provar d’interpretar un dels reflexos d’aquesta mirada, la qual, al capdavall, prové sempre de nosaltres mateixos, per això el sentit del mirall és travessar-lo. Rere el mirall, amb freqüència, s’hi oculta emfàticament “allò altre”. Als últims anys una part d’Europa s’ha buscat a si mateixa a Lisboa... l’Iraq i Bòsnia ens corroboraren que Europa continuava sense trobar-se. Entre un punt del procés i l’altre hi ha una malaltia col·lectiva anomenada alienació (“la societat de l’espectacle”, en digué Guy Debord). Amb tot, no hi ha trànsit sense temptativa.

Taxis verd-i-negres, tramvies grocs, Rato, Alcântara, Santo Amaro, Madre de Deus, Alto da Ajuda, Monsanto, Bairro Lopes, Picheleira, Alto do Pina... Jesucrist proclamà l’amor solar com a mitjà i finalitat, i en certa manera morí a la creu. El rock portuguès de Represas, al cap de dos mil anys, ens aferma en un itinerari líric lliure de casualitats i capritxos:

La selva sencera no em fa por / mentre hi hagi un arbre secret / que exciti la història dels homes / i tanqui la història de la vida / al camí dels predadors.” Als vuitanta, cinc cops vaig rodar per la teranyina de la ciutat blanca i cinc cops vaig sortir-ne ressuscitat. Lisboa estimada, germana de l’ànima, ei!


Post Scriptum (25-IV-2015): La Revolució dels Clavells foren els soldats assaltant el quarter de la PIDE, la policia secreta de la dictadura de Salazar, i subvertint l’ordre polític i econòmic establert. Els mateixos soldats, amb clavells als fusells, ompliren les escoles per fer de mestres i ensenyar les criatures a llegir. Totes les lluites anticolonials africanes, en el marc de l’ocupació portuguesa, venceren amb la revolució. La socialdemocràcia i el capital, a través del Partit Socialista Portuguès i del seu cap Mario Soares, articularen l’ensorrament de la possibilitat de construir una nova societat. He tornat a Lisboa dotzenes de cops des de la fi dels noranta, i malgrat com han anat les coses, malgrat tot, per mi continua sent la ciutat blanca, la del 25 d’abril del 1974.

Lisboa, 2 de març del 2013.

Clavells rojos sempre, arreu.

dijous, 4 d’abril de 2019

Hiace. Antropología de las carreteras en la isla de Santiago

[Pol·len Edicions, 2014]
Gerard Horta i Daniel Malet Calvo

(Televisão de Cabo Verde, 11-X-2010. Campus Palmarejo de la Universidade de Cabo Verde, Praia [illa de Santiago].)


(Televisão de Cabo Verde, 31-XII-2014. Alliance Française, Mindelo [illa de São Vicente].)

(Ressenya de Manuel Delgado, 6-III-2015, Seres urbanos.)


(Ressenya de Jose Mansilla, VI-2016, Ankulegi.)


 (Ressenya de Julián David Loaiza Pineda, 2017, Quaderns de l'Institut català d'Antropologia.)


(Ràdio Contrabanda, amb en Daniel Malet, 24-XII-2013, a “El Rizoma Malinowski”.)

 Companys conductors de hiace de la vila de Tarrafal a la ciutat de Praia (capital de Cap Verd), després de dinar, tot esperant l’hora en què comencen a arribar passatgers per tornar cap a l’altre extrem de l’illa de Santiago.