Artist: Claudia Pagès
Exhibition title: Patio de luces
Venue: Yaby, Madrid, Spain
Date: February 25 – March 27, 2020
Photography: Alberto Vallejo / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Yaby, Madrid
It’s always hotter in the city centre. In Raval the temperature is three degrees higher than in Sarrià. The fumes, the metro, the pipelines, they give out heat. The accumulation of people provokes heat. The accumulated heat from the day comes up from the street, the heat from the glare. The entire buildings give out heat and the closer to the ground, the hotter. In the foundations, the cockroaches, all squeezed together, produce heat. On the first floor, the heat of the commodity, of fingertips touching coins and exchange. The heat of cash, incoming and outgoing, of the kitchens, of the shops. In Eixample, building floors are ordered in horizontal social stratifications, the first floor is the largest, with the tallest ceilings, so that the heat that comes up from the basement cools down at the ceiling, and whoever lives there won’t have to climb so many steps that they’re taken by the heat. The higher you go up the floors of Eixample, the lower the ceilings, a hierarchical structure that puts basement and attic on the same level. Upstairs there’s the heat of small flats and tight movement and humidity. On top of the original buildings the double speculation of the penthouse and the penthouse above it, and more structure which means more unbearable heat because the sun hits directly. All the buildings are built on sociopolitical thermic death with air conditioners that throw even more heat outside. But inside the buildings, in inner courtyards, go arteries of communication which are the pipelines. Conducts of rain water, fecal waters, tubes that spit and destroy the horizontal hierarchisation in floors with a crude verticality that goes from top to bottom. What happens in the garret, under the penetrating sun, will go down the arteries of the building, and the first floor will receive its thermic impact. The piled up horizontals get fucked up. The pipelines are destructors of social classes and where all thermic matter goes through. The rats stay in the garrets, in the basements, and they move up the conducts and destroy the bourgeois home.
There’s a new bar, a queer bar, around the corner, should we go and see?
When we go and see, seeing becomes quite literal. We see groups of people in block, prices are high, the counter all fancy. Full Gayxample touching Raval, it’s hedonism with glitter which is not sexy if it doesn’t bite. I go to the counter but I look down to the ground, Anna looks down with me. Our voices won’t come out and we’re thirsty. Between the shoes, across the new and clean floor, comes a cockroach that climbs up my trousers. I don’t say anything. Anna next to me looks down, she doesn’t say anything. Inside capital, everything said is sucked in and turned into a gold necklace, a medal. It subsumes and consumes all past history, it turns it into a single and compartmentalised identity. It comes before everything, all drawers have been emptied. The hyperfetishism of the commodity has killed humans. We are rat, big rat, small rat, all at once.
I go to the bathroom, I want to get rid of my pants and the cockroach. I hear the flush, the conducts from the courtyard, someone who knocks upstairs, some neighbour who doesn’t like the bar. At least the bathroom is intoxicated, the outsides drip inside.