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20 June 2011

Everything is happening very quickly these days. There is almost no time to stop and think. From the police charges in Plaza Catalunya to its mass occupation; from the events in front of Parliament to a city inundated by thousands of people from Plaza Catalunya to Pla de Palau. The chronicles of all revolutions tend to bear witness to the limited margin left for reflection. Which doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t any thinking going on. Thinking on the run, active thought. But I would like to pause in the face of some images: without a doubt those of people taking to the street; a girl shouting at a policeman questioning why is he pushing her as she hasn’t done anything; a woman in front of a police van; policemen wielding truncheons and pushing their weight about; a boy with a bleeding gash in his head; politicians protected by the security forces, shielded, isolated; a rubbish bag flying towards the head of a man in a suit entering Parliament, with his bald patch covered in graffiti. As well as the headlines of newspapers that change “Indignados”(The indignant) to “Indignación” (Indignation) in reference to the same man in the suit.

Frequently in art criticism workshops I say that a critical text sometimes only needs to be a good description. In describing of some of the above images it would be enough to think about the meaning of the word violence. It seems that it makes the whole world uncomfortable. It doesn’t seem out of place to stop and think about who uses it, who is the true object of the violence and who monopolizes its use. The physical use, with truncheons, thumps, bruises as well as the more figurative use through need or exclusion.

We are all against the use of violence. But the ones who categorise it, are Felip Puig, the political elite and the press, who have qualified the events in front of the Parliament as kale borroka (in reference to the street violence in the Basque country). The question is just what would they call a Molotov cocktail? An atomic bomb! Or the atomic bomb? The Big Bang! Precision in language is an imperative: the blockading of the entry to Parliament; throwing rubbish bags; spraying of graffiti; pushing and shoving; police charges; brutality and truncheons. Lets just stop and think about which of these forms of violence have made the most noise and which have hurt us more. And also, who is doing the victimizing and who is the victim.

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