Madrid November 2013 Accionmad13 Nieves Photographer Abel Loureda.
We’ve been invited to present our Walking in the Way work at the Accionmad13 festival through Belfast based Performance organisation Bbeyond.
For three days we walk about the rubbish laden streets by the Matadero. There is a refuse strike for 12 days with all manner of waste deposited on the streets. We find our route and key points in our three day exploration of the area.
Our first call is the mens cafe club room attached to the Casa del Reloj. Here men hold tables playing Dominoes. We move among them and set up our game.
Portraits of The Duchess of Alba are on show at the entrance exhibition space. We dance a Sean Nós in tribute with our iPods playing in our ears. We are walking now towards the market, stopping here and there among the men, buying some onions, Carmen from our special corner bar passes without recognising us. We find ourselves among the litter in a lane way. Apartments once erected for the workers of the Matadero - once the Slaughter House for the city of Madrid -overlook the alcove.
The rubbish has provided us with materials. Dancing on the wooden base we beat our rhythm echoing it around these back streets. Some passersby are curious and ask about the work. A woman tells her memory of working in the slaughter house. We are placing some clothing with the design of USA and remember the story we’ve been told of the young man who was recently killed in the underground. We write in his memory on the wall in chalk.
The glass pane balances on the foot, fragile and held with the balancing of the door. This brings us to a still place away from the busy market. Grounding us in the history of this area, now a place where some migrant workers live.
We meet them in the barber shop. They are from the Dominican Republic . Yesterday they cut our hair and greet us now like old friends. A chair provides a seat on the corner and the other makes a wailing cry, resounding against the yellow stonework of the apartments. The image is stencilled on the wall reminding of his loss. We are entering the corner bar, the first place we came to on our arrival in Madrid. There is just enough room to squeeze in. The thin man in the leather jacket covers all the comings and goings. . The four bartenders recognise us and bring us complimentary glasses of wine. Carmen is not there.