Code: (12.c.COV)


Title: Cover Me Latina (Cúbreme Latina)


/// Authors: Atxu Amann + Gonzalo Pardo + JARD (in collaboration with the collectives STOY, ESPECULACCIONES and DAI from the School of Architecture of Madrid)

/// Year: 2012

Keywords: Noise     Textual Corporal        Assemblage      Translation     Nocturnalia     Obsolescence    Liquid        Kairos  Days    0.00 €            No    (i) Legal       Commons         Quotidian       Gender  99 %    Ludic        Affect  Visibilise      Contagion       Otherness                 Collaborative Participatory   Exogenous        Massive Ad hoc  Awarded Public  Pedagogy        Exposed


Before anyone could notice, the summer was over and the courses already started at Madrid´s School of Architecture. From the first day, our seventy freshmen students of DAI started to fear the worst. However, the twenty members of the experimental group “Especulacciones” were looking forward to go out to the public space with the older members. Also, it was not necessary to insist much on the involvement of STOY group as one of their addictions is playing on the street. As well, some of the students of Gender Landscape wanted to join the action.




It was Friday, during a hot September that none wanted to end, and we knew that we were going to go over well when a voluntary army of one hundred or maybe two hundred- neighbors, onlookers, friends, students, professors and random people went down on the access ramp carrying sheets, needles, threads and thimbles to occupy that empty space.


Basurama people, responsible for organizing the Nuit Blanche in Madrid, planned a public competition where we proposed half dozen of ideas for urban actions which were not chosen to be executed. As an alternative, they offered us to work in the “Island Space” -public swimming pool- designed and created by the collective EXYZT in the empty plot left by the demolition of Plaza de la Cebada and, of course, we agreed as we have never known how to say no, especially when it is about urban actions.


It was easy; Delso, Argota, Gon and Atxu have already discovered the pleasure of getting together periodically to share affections, grab some food and plan anything, with an intensity which grows directly related to the amount of people able to be involved and inversely proportional to the failure we could assume.

Two days before the action, at midday, we went out from La Latina metro station and we were introduced to a group of semi-naked bodies who were grabbing some beers in a bar built of the same wood, lightness and temporary nature than the wooden structure of the Island Space. This assemblage covered a water channel directrix that crossed the plot, now empty, of the former swimming pool. Our eight feet lasted less than ten minutes under the half meter deep layer of water, that was clean and fresh, before we started a water war which could allow us to survive the nearly forty Celsius degrees from a relentless sun  without any kind of protection. When we were walking towards Ribera de Curtidores, the action was already created.


We looked at each other´s eyes while we tried to swallow the mythical calamari sandwiches. We had to cover that island; it was necessary to create an oasis in the middle of an old Madrid that has always been without a fucking shadow. It was necessary to create a place that allowed to do nothing, just being. But being fine; reading alone or in company; getting some fresh air with the feet in the water, listening to music, dancing, playing basket, chatting… like when by the river, like when with the chairs in the street, as the grandmas, like… We were experts in tracing possibilities and scanning all the variables to find the best solution: collective action, as an exquisite corpse, activism action, simple, linked to our own abilities, costless, without formalisms and difficulties; leaderless, but with tracks of each of us.


It was easy: to sew a large roof among all of us. There were 24 hours to launch the message in the neighborhood stores, to the neighbors, to our friends’ network and members of the different collectives we were involved in:


CÚBREME LATINA: Tomorrow Thursday at evening, we will build a large roof for the Island Space in the plot of La Cebada. Bring a used but clean sheet, a needle, a thread spool and a thimble.


As we arrived, we displayed our sheet in the empty spaces that others were leaving. Nobody gave instructions. We were acting as we have being doing this thing our whole life. Our grandmas’ abilities appeared in our hands. Not everything fitted perfectly; but we did not pretended to. It was necessary to improvise to make sure that everybody had a place. Like life itself, there were twin, queen or King sized sheets, from cradles, fitted, top or bottom sheets, cotton or polyester made; like life itself, all of them were different, but all of them were sheets.

We sewed their perimeters while we knitted our conversations with words, looks and stitches which made a murmur of an action which finished at eleven o’clock in the night when the sun was already gone.

Everything was a huge shadow and the night cooled our sweat. It helped us to hang our exquisite corpse from the temporary metallic fence of the plot. We did not think how to finish off this part of the action. We tied knots with ropes and clothespins as we stretched our sheets while the neighbors leant out of the balconies with curiosity.

It was too heavy.

Latina couldn’t bear that so many people covered her.

Barely ten minutes.

Tired and satisfied we went back home.