Oli Baudach at Hatch Kingdom (Berlin) gave me a rare and very special collection of political street art stickers from Catalonia dating from the late 1970s and early ’80s. Oli is originally from Barcelona. A friend of his father’s gave them to Oli, and Oli in turn shared some with me. From what Oli told me, many of these stickers were put up in public places to protest the Franco regime, and doing such a thing at the time could cost one dearly. I’ll be working with Dr. Marina Llorente and one of her Spanish classes at SLU this fall to do research on the stickers. The name of the class is ESPAÑOL 439: Literatura, cine y cultura de masas en la España contemporánea, and I have developed an assignment in which students will write about the stickers as if they were writing exhibition text panels. Chapters from Lyman G. Chaffee’s book, Political Protest and Street Art: Popular Tools for Democratization in Hispanic Countries, will be used as readings for the students. Here are a few examples of the stickers below and on Flickr here.
In addition, an SLU student, Sara Boardman ’12, collected 19 contemporary stickers from Madrid this summer (on Flickr here), many of which deal with the current economic crises the country is facing. Marina will be able to incorporate these new stickers into the assignment, too, since she is examining the Spanish indign@dos movement in the course.
Here is the assignment for Marina’s students.
Political Catalonian Street Art Stickers: Writing Assignment
- Chaffee, Lyman G. Political Protest and Street Art: Popular Tools for Democratization in Hispanic Countries. Chapter 1: pages 3-22. Chapter 3: pages 37-52.
- All of the Catalonian stickers can be viewed online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stickerkitty/sets/72157629970686868/
For this writing assignment, you will work in pairs to analyze small groupings of 5-7 political street art stickers from Catalonia dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s. You will write a short, but very concise bilingual interpretive “text panel,” much like one you’d see next to a work of art in a museum, but in this case, your work will appear online in an international database about contemporary street art. You will also “catalogue” the stickers by creating keywords and/or tags for subject and description fields, as one would do in Flickr, for example.
The international street art database is available on the gallery’s Web site at www.stlawu.edu/gallery and click on “Contemporary Street Art.” The current database is being re-designed this fall, and the new Web site may or not be ready in November by the time you get this assignment. Stay tuned! You and your classmates are the first students at St. Lawrence to provide text panels and keywords/tags for this digital image collection.
Your text panels can be no longer than 350 words, and in a writing assignment like this, and every word counts. You should provide the following:
- Careful description. List the main elements of the sticker. What are you looking at? What do the colors represent? Translate the text into English and Spanish, if necessary.
- Historical context. Can you identify certain figures or dates? What do they signify?
- Visual analysis. How are image and text combined to create meaning? Why did the artist/s choose these particular images and/or texts?
- Interpretation. What does the street art sticker mean to you? What evidence supports this? What did it mean to place stickers like these in public during the Franco regime? Is there anything from the reading that relates to these stickers?
Come up with the best five keywords for the subject field and five keywords for the description field for future scholars to access these stickers. This is known as metadata – data about a digital image.