6 digit on Thu, 4 Apr 2002 18:06:53 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The End of the Showbus

some bad news...


February 27, 2002
For immediate release

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 press@macba.es) for the 2001 
Triennial, the ShowBus was run by artist-activists Las 
Agencias (info@lasagencias.net), 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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