Saturday, May 9, 2015

Imminent! SqEK Conference in Barcelona May 20-24

This big annual event, the meeting of our research network, is rushing right up. Funded by the Antipode Foundation, a relative of the geography magazine, the conference concerns: "Squatting Houses, Social Centres and Workplaces: A Workshop on Self-Managed Alternatives." (website: At the reception May 20th, we'll be premiering the new anthology, Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces [PDF link TK].
The conference is still open to participants, pretty much up to the last minute -- although funds for travel are gone, and accomodations may be scarce. But, after all, it's squatters, so a way can always be found, if you feel hardy! Our groupuscule is making an exhibition, for which we continue to solicit posters and display panels explaining autonomous projects. Please give the "call for materials" pasted below a look -- e-files need to come now, but the show will go on to New York, USA, in September, so there's still lots of time to send stuff in to what we hope will be a big suitcase lots of people will get to see.

We meet in Barcelona, not Lavapies, Madrid -- but BCN has scads of "ateneos" from the long-lived anarchist movement

The call for materials is pasted on the bottom of this blog post. The table of contents of Making Room also. I continue here with what I call the "pimp text," the draft promotional text for the book which is being distributed by the venerable Journal of Aesthetics & Protest (
Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces is a first of its kind -- an anthology of voices from the post-1968 squatting movement in Europe which is focused on creative production and cultural innovation. Is squatting art? It is certainly a tactic which has enabled a tremendous body of collective work in culture to be done, and new kinds of lives to be lived. Making Room lays it out in the words of those who did it and study it.
The dark matter undercommons of disobedient culture surveyed in this book begins its roam in a theoretical introduction including autonomist theory, the ways of "monster institutions" and simple economic justice. Then it moves from north to south, portraying by country the specific local conditions of an international movement.
In the Netherlannds, we visit the strongholds of the hippies, the festive "temporary autonomous zones," and the rough-and-tumble conflicts of the Amsterdam squatters who once had that city in their hands. Later squatters were artists, forging international connections, and facing up to government recuperation and a new capitalist stratagem to hold them down.
A cultural manifesto and timeline of the venerable Christiania kicks off the section on Denmark. Then texts roll on to the war of the punks to save their youth house, and the "candy factories" of today's artists.

A rave party in Badalona, Spain, ca. 2000; photo by Molly Macindoe

The last 30 years of squatting in London is surveyed, the flaming boil on the resistant body of the United Kingdom, as well as a close look at the deeply weird communes and squats of underground art cults.
The famously crusty German movement is examined in detail, from its beginnings and imbrications in violent resistance in Berlin, to its house projects and collective workplaces -- its "rainbow factories," "red islands," and Queeruptions. Mural artists who directly support this political movement are surveyed, as well as a series of close brushes with high institutional art culture, and the most recent hipster-squatter alliance in Hamburg.
Italy is the wellspring of the social center idea, which is expertly surveyed in terms of its results -- its places, not only its theories. The legendary street media movement is explained, and the new resistant occupations of precarious cultural workers in Rome and Milan are discussed by participants.
Paris, as we might expect, has developed a cultural policy to integrate the "art squatters" into a new form of bohemia, a house brand of French culture. This institutional recognition is explained, as well as its resistance, the legacy of Situationist positions. One text covers the very strange underground occupations, and another closely portrays a renowned music venue in the days before its certain eviction.

Poster for the cycle fashion workshop, coming out of the Critical Mass bicycle movement

The Spanish movement has been one of the most active in Europe, and here it is examined in its ideological dimension, and in terms of its mediatic images, both negative and self-affirming. The rich cultural production of the movement is examined in a text on "ciclocostura," bicycle based self-fashioning, solidarity research groups with domestic workers, and anti-gentrification campaigns. The struggle of the Casa Invisible to legalize is told by them, as is the story of the wall poem revealed by demolition in Barcelona.
Making Room departs from the national frame in a section called "Everywhere: Transnational Movements, Networks and Continuities." Here authors discuss Puerto Rican occupations in New York City, the uses migrants in Europe make of squatting as well as activists' solidarity in a "universal embassy" occupied in Brussels. The culture of the large Ljubljana squat Metelkova is discussed at length by the programmer of one of its major punk venues.
The book concludes with a group of texts, "Anywhere: Media, Virtuality, and Diffusion." Texts treat of stereotypes of squatters in mainstream media, and the media squatters make themselves -- a steady stream of zines and films, many online. Another author considers the ideology of punk music and the economic networks it has generated. And finally, the book includes a major piece on the development of hacklabs in squatted spaces in Europe, precursors and anti-capitalist runalongs to the rise of the commodified internet.

Presentation of the Beehive Collective's pedagogical banner "Mesoamerica Resiste" (photo by Frederick Blichert). One of the "Bees" will be a guest artist in Barcelona.

Nearly all the texts in Making Room could be the germs of books in themselves, so resolutely has the subject been ignored over years by mainstream media, publishers and academia alike. This book is opening a long-locked door on the tremendous untold achievements of the disobedient movements. It's the beginning of a look at worlds created outside of rent, waged labor, and bureaucratic control; a response, in Brian Holmes' words, "the great unanswered question of a society with no imagination."

A call for the self-representations of autonomous projects
The SqEK network of researchers and activists meets in Barcelona, Spain, May 20th to 25th. We present there an exhibition of posters and information presentations from and about autonomous spaces, from the squatting, occupation and disobedient movements. This show will go on to the USA in September
We call for posters and presentations to be sent by post (please contact for address), or by digital file so that we can print them out on site. Send to awm13579 [at]

One of the Sublevarte activist art collective, from Mexico DF, will be a guest artist in Barcelona.

Explain your project -- promote autonomous culture and activism -- network internationally
Produced by the "House Magic" information project on squatted places in collaboration with the Squatting Europe Kollective (SqEK) at L'Ateneu Popular 9barris socio-cultural center in Barcelona; and in New York City in September at ABC No Rio cultural center, and in collaboration with Interference Archives, Brooklyn.
Barcelona venue:
New York City venue:
final archival repository:
ongoing squatted spaces information project of "House Magic" est'd 2009:
"House Magic" zines:

Entranceway to the Festival Afro at Tabacalera, Madrid

The table of contents for Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces:
Miguel Ángel Martínez López
Whether You Like It or Not
Alan W. Moore
Beneath the Bored Walk, the Beach
Stevphen Shukaitis
Mental Prototypes and Monster Institutions: Some Notes by Way of an Introduction
Universidad Nómada
Squatting For Justice: Bringing Life To The City
Miguel Ángel Martínez López
Creativity and the Capitalist City
Tino Buchholz
The Autonomous Zone (de Vrije Ruimte)
Vincent Boschma
Squatting and Media: An Interview With Geert Lovink
Alan Smart
The Emerging Network of Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ)
Aja Waalwijk
Christiania: How They Do It and for How Long
Jordan Zinovich
Christiania Art and Culture
Britta Lillesøe, Christiania Cultural Association
Bolsjefabrikken: Autonomous Culture in Copenhagen
Tina Steiger
On the Youth House Protests and the Situation in Copenhagen
Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
Partisan Notes Towards a History of UK Squatting (1980 – the Present)
‘Our Enemy is Dreamless Sleep!’ – on the Cultic Creation of an Autonomous Network
Kasper Opstrup
We Don´t Need No Landlords… Squatting in Germany From 1970 to the Present
Ashley Dawson
Sarah Lewison
Regenbogen Fabrik – the Rainbow Factory
Alan W. Moore
A Stay At The Rote Insel In Berlin
Alan W. Moore
Gender and Squatting in Germany Since 1968
Gängeviertel, Hamburg
Nina Fraeser
Activism and Camping in Documenta 10, 11 and 13
Julia Ramírez Blanco
The City For All! The Appropriation of Space and the Communication of Protest
Tobias Morawski
Centri Sociali (Social Centers) in Italy
Eliseo Fucolti
Not Only Liberated Spaces: Italian Social Centres as Social Movement and Protest Actors
Gianni Piazza
Teatro Valle, Rome
Teatro Valle
Telestreet: Pirate Proxivision
Patrick Nagle
MACAO: Establishing Conflicts Towards a New Institution
Emanuele Braga
Situationism and its Influence on French Anarchist Squats
Margot Verdier
Emergence and Institutional Recognition of Artistic Squats in Paris
Vincent Prieur
Paris: With the Artists of La Générale en Manufacture on Their Terrace...
Alan Moore
Jon Lackman
Vive La Miroiterie: A Preemptive Elegy
Jacqueline Feldman
Urban Movements and Paradoxical Utopianisms
Miguel Angel Martínez López
Managing the Image: Squats and Alternative Media in Madrid (2000-2013)
Julia Lledin
Ciclocostura: From the Engine to the Body, Collaborative DIY Textile Crafting
Elisabeth Lorenzi
¡Porque sin Nosotras No Se Mueve el Mundo! La Esclavitud se Acabó (Without us, the World Does Not Move. Slavery is Over.)
Julia Lledin
Patio Maravillas’ Anti-gentrification Campaign against the TriBall Group
Stephen Luis Vilaseca
Málaga’s “La Casa Invisible”
La Casa Invisible
The Wall Poem
Stephen Luis Vilaseca
Puerto Rican Occupations in New York City
Alan W. Moore and Yasmin Ramirez
Fake Tabloid Headlines
Gregory Lehmann
Squatting as an Alternative to Counter Migrant Exclusion
Sutapa Chattopadhyay
Metelkova, mon Amour: Reflections on the (Non-)Culture of Squatting
Jasna Babic
The Universal Embassy: A Place Open to the World
Tristan Wibault
Fair Trade Music
Spencer Sunshine
Hacklabs and Squats: Engineering Counter-Culture in Autonomous Spaces
Squatting in Media/ Media in Squatting
E.T.C. Dee and Galvao Debelle dos Santos