The Collective Experience: Participatory Documentary and Social Imaginary
Exhibit presentation of the research project

13.02.2018 – 23.02.2018

Documental Social Participatiu: Plataforma d’Afectats per la Hipoteca (PAH), Associació Catalana per la Integració d’Homosexuals, Bisexuals i Transsexuals Immigrants (ACATHI) and col·lectiu FMTs del Poblenou
Opening: 13 February, 7 pm
Virreina LAB

“An experience is not any lived event, nor any encounter with the world: it is an elaboration of that material in the form of an account that is meaningful for others.” (W.B.)

The Collective Experience is a presentation of the works that the Social Participatory Documentary (DSP – La Virreina) platform produced during its residency at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge between the middle of 2016 and late 2017.

The exhibition sets out, in the manner of an expanded documentary, the itinerary followed with three collectives with which we have worked in partnership: the PAH (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), the ACATHI (Catalan Association for the Integration of Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender Immigrants) and the FMTs collective from Poblenou.

The exhibition features the audio-visual works made by these collectives and showcases the proposal of the DSP platform in relation to its central elements:

  • Mediation between the institution and citizens.
  • Development of a participatory method of working.
  • Adaptation to the diverse characteristics and needs of each collective.
  • Formalisation of audio-visual content.
  • Selection of the audio-visual format of the work (testimony, life history, video clips, awareness-raising campaigns, direct action, streaming and seminars).
  • Involvement of the collectives throughout the working process and in the exhibition.


ACATHI: migration, refuge and lgbtiq+ diversity

ACATHI is an association of people of diverse origins: LGBT+ immigrants and/or refugees (of every kind). A diversity of identities that make up the essence of a project that works to make a difference to the situation of LGBT+ immigrants.

The work carried out by the PSD with ACATHI over the last year and a half has allowed us to understand the huge need for support and social communication of discriminated social groups.

In this case, therefore, the work carried out has not been exclusively based on the use of audiovisual tools as a form of expressive empowerment and social communication; rather, it has been about recognising people’s unique characteristics, their stories and experiences, and their physical and geographical transformations.

This makes the testimony of their unique stories the focal point of the work that we have accomplished together. Work that involves vocal and visual expression as the starting point for acknowledging other people, and thereafter, to allow the possibility of gaining one’s own space.

The long and arduous process of asylum in a new territory, and achieving gender transformation, have also formed the base fabric of the story that the exhibition material articulates, conjuring up the images and chronicles of a crucial journey.


“Els Fumats” Cultural Association

Els Fumats” Cultural Association officially launched in September 2016 in the Poblenou district of Barcelona. Its name draws attention to the former working-class of Poblenou, during an era when smoke from the chimneys provided a backdrop to the neighbourhood’s landscape.

Els Fumats” does not occupy a physical space where it carries out its activities, but it makes the most of its itinerant nature in order to create and strengthen synergies between different organisations in the district: the “El Ateneu Popular la Flor de Maig”, the Citizens’ Platform “Eix Pere IV-Cooperar per Fer Ciutat”, the “Casal de barri de Poblenou”, the allotments and “Apropem-nos”.

We have launched a joint working link between the PSD-La Virreina Platform and FMTs following initial contact, driven by data collection and footage of Poblenou in order for some members of the FMTs group to make a documentary. This contact allowed us to identify what we were doing in Poblenou in terms of parallel research areas.

PSD-La Virreina established links with institutions and neighbourhood groups to boost the creation of an audiovisual archive of Poblenou that could collate the audiovisual footage recorded during the neighbourhood’s convulsive transformation period over the past twenty years and sparse, historical footage. In turn, FMTs activated the Emotional Map of Poblenou, an archive of unique features involving homemade audiovisual footage and memories.

We decided to join forces and knowledge to develop the creation of a Poblenou Audiovisual Archive together. We met during a series of workshops (four in 2017) with the participation of Eix Pere IV, Hangar, the Sant Martí district and the Arxiu Historic del Poblenou, inviting along neighbourhood residents and associations, so that this archive works by using categories that express the concerns of neighbourhood residents. Thanks to the participation and collaboration of historians, archivists, activists and workshop programmers, this allowed us to develop the structure of the Emotional Map of Poblenou in such a way that an interactive database can now be prepared to set this audiovisual archive in motion.


The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH)

The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) works tirelessly for an essential cause: it prevents people from being stripped of a basic and fundamental right, as is the right to housing.

The PAH’s constant, daily resistance is backed up by audiovisual communication as a tool for raising awareness, applying pressure and educating the public about what is hidden and distorted by the press.

The ongoing work being carried out by the PSD-La Virreina together with the PAH strengthens the group’s audiovisual empowerment, in a way that allows its members to develop and produce their own messages. This empowerment, which takes place through workshops and joint activities, has led to the creation of the PAHPress committee: the group’s production committee, responsible for driving audiovisual communication processes, whether through streaming (in the daily battles against evictions) or by recording and creating original material for the PAH’s communication campaigns.

Equipping the PAH’s own group with conceptual and technical tools to publish its activities regarding the right to housing—a right that is closely linked to the right to communication—has formed part of our shared experience during the past year.