Destruction of Barcelona | Wayward Wandering.

Biblioteca Nacional Vijećnica de Sarajevo | 1995
National library Vijećnica of Sarajevo, 1995 | Source: bosniangenocide

The destruction of a historical building, of a place in which it has been transmitted to know of an ars, of one τέχνη,, in that a craftsman has lived and operated on ignorantly of the existence of the history, the industry, the scientific management, removed from one economic laws that the prostitution of the language insists on calling democratic, a place in which the time has settled getting dark the days, it is comparable to the destruction of a book.

As Fernando Baéz says in his exceptional universal History of the destruction of books, the destruction of the books – that has happened from time to time and it continues happening, including between the advisers of the destruction persons of the culture as René Descartes, David Hume, Martin Heidegger, Vladimir Nabokov (the one who burned the Cuisse before more than six hundred pupils) – represents the annihilation of the memory, of the heritage of ideas, the destruction of what is considered to be a threat to a top value, perpetrated across a considered sacred way.

The principal way used for the destruction was the fire, sacred because source of life and death, with that the man plays at being a god, as that April 14, 2003 in which a million books were burned in the fire of the National Library of Baghdad, after the capture of the city by the American troops. The following days burned the National File, the Library of the University of Baghdad and dozens of university libraries of the country. The archaeological works were plundered and transported to London, Rome, Berlin and New York, to satisfy the private collectors, since always it has happened along the history. Similar facts happened in 1995 in Sarajevo, when the Serbian ones burned the National present Library in the city destroying two millions of books. The means of destruction – as the fire, the water, the earthquakes, the storms – were symbolized by the sword, considered a divine attribute.

In the contemporary case of the destruction of the cultural heritage represented by the buildings and the historical trades of Barcelona, the way of destruction is abstract – so abstract as it it can be the juridical language – concretely the law of urban leases (LAU) that, promulgated in 1994, opened the way for the element that governs the contemporary economy: the speculation, in his meaning that nothing has to see with the philosophical reflection. The financial market permea the metropolis, wraps it, destroys it. Since in a picture of Grosz, the investors assault the city with the voracity that only the money and the desires of conquest and destruction can produce, faithfully represented by attorneys’ bureaus of renown. Multinationals – without face, without soul, abstract and with tax concessions – they represent the nonchalance of the objects transformed into goods, and are the transposition to our epoch of the cynical businessmen of the Berlin of the twenties of Grosz‘s pictures.

A considered sacred way, the economic law – economy that does not have any relation with the just distribution of the natural and cultural resources – annuls the memory, the heritage of ideas – heritage which etymology is ‘to make be able’, ‘make remember’ – destroying what is considered to be a threat to a top value, the speculation of the investors.

The memory, the heritage of ideas that wants to be destroyed is to be able to do – the ars – of the craftsman, autonomous and independently from the industry and the power, which it decides and arranges of yes same, avoiding the submission that needs the system of industrial production. Booksellers, tailors, luthiers, pastrycooks, bakers, dyers, manufacturers of creative toys, carpenters, chandlers, herbalist’s, which to know threat, which presence makes a different possibility opened for the production taylorista, the scientific management that is necessary, to survive, an equipment of bureaucrats to the service of totalitarian ideas with the function to destroy the past to invalidate any critique, as George Orwell it prophesied eighty years ago in his 1984.

A destruction without fire, silente, as a drowning which deus ex-crane is an invisible god who uses a sacred instrument of destruction, the law, as a modern sword. The heritage, the accumulation of knowledge, events and saberes materialized in the warehouses, shops, workshops and historical trades of the city it is the threat that has to disappear, the book that it is necessary to be hot, the alive heritage of a culture informs. An invisible god who enters all the places and annuls them, taking them to the sterility and anesthesia of the assembly line. An invisible god who represents the only element that permea our cops, the only language that is learned from the first moments of the obligatory school. Language that nothing has to see either with the communication or with the education – ex-dūcere liberation, liberating, libertarian-. To be surprised for the destruction of the trades and ancient workshops of Barcelona is a pure hypocrisy, until piece does not dismantle for piece the educational area and turns (go) towards a real aptitude to question, before questioning. The places, his creation, his destruction, are the projection of ideas and formae mentis that alone a length and complex (without there being complicated) process of personal revolution it can change, liberate, ex-dūcere..

The same one to operate is evident in the way of intervening in the architectural and urban area. Historical buildings loaded with memory, events, hands that touch and voices that they shout and enjoy, are restored by means of his emptying, the destruction of his entrails to leave the skin, grotesque mask of what they were and photographic perfect image for the sale of a sham of memory on the part of the construction companies, in connivance with the architects, the politicians and the attorneys’ bureaus of renown like, once again, in Grosz’s picture.

The buildings and the historical trades of Barcelona that are destroyed by means of the law are books that burn, a threat that represents another possibility, another way of living, another way of thinking.

Antigua pastelería Colmena, Barcelona
Old pastry shop Colmena, Barcelona | Source:

Wayward Wandering
Author of the blog Perspectivas Anómalas
Barcelona, February 2016

Wayward Wandering

Viaje en el espacio físico de la ciudad, las ideas que lo crean, la materialidad que lo compone, las excepciones y desviaciones que proponen posibilidades nuevas.

Wayward Wandering es teórico de la arquitectura. Colabora con varios medios en el ámbito del pensamiento crítico y es consultor de la Universidad de Edimburgo en el área de las artes y la arquitectura.

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