6 digit on Thu, 4 Apr 2002 13:29:02 +0200 (CEST)
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[Nettime-bold] The End of the Showbus
some bad news...
February 27, 2002
For immediate release
TRIENNIAL ART WORK DESTROYED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Contacts: Las Agencias, MACBA, Mayor of Barcelona
The ShowBus was a vehicle designed for artistic and activist
reclamation of public space. It was outfitted for video
reception and screening, was equipped with a sound system,
and had a stage on top for performances. It provided a
workspace for neighbourhood and antiglobalization activists
and artists, and at massive gatherings it served as a nexus
for developing and coordinating direct action.
Originally funded by the Museum of Contemporary Art of
Barcelona (MACBA; contact email@example.com) for the 2001
Triennial, the ShowBus was run by artist-activists Las
Agencias (firstname.lastname@example.org), and quickly came to be used
by antiglobalization networks as one of their primary tools.
It appeared in a number of anticapitalist and antifascist
festivals in Barcelona, Pamplona and Valencia.
The ShowBus was scheduled for use in the upcoming anti-EU
meetings in Barcelona, Zaragoza and Sevilla. It was also to
be the centerpiece of a video-activist campaign in Italy in
On February 15, three days after having successfully obtained
all official inspection certificates, the ShowBus was
attacked in broad daylight. Its controls were smashed, its
gearbox and all wheels destroyed. Finally, the wooden parts
of the ShowBus (work-tables, closets, plattforms) were
methodically taken apart, piled into the back of the bus, and
set on fire, destroying the motor.
This procedure would have taken several workers well over an
hour. It was a systematic and professional job.
All of this happened at 3 p.m. on a weekday. Quite
inexplicably, Barcelona police did not stop it from
happening, and firefighters never showed up, allowing the bus
to be completely destroyed.
For activists in Barcelona and elsewhere, the destruction of
the ShowBus represents a significant loss of resources that
will be difficult to recoup. For all of us, the destruction
of this functional and effective work of art, with the
indifference or perhaps complicity of the police, might stand
as a big question mark: is this the value placed on art that
doesn't just look good?
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