Emerging photographers 2017
“God loves you”. This is the solace of a neighborhood fearing extinction.
The inhabitants of La Catalana have been waiting for more than a decade to be ejected from the neighborhood and for their homes to be demolished as it was planned. In the late 50s, hundreds of people were looking for a place to settle on the outskirts of Barcelona. That’s where they built their homes with their own hands. The neighborhood, at the right margin of the Besòs river, was far away form the city center at the time, but as the years passed the city growth ended up swallowing the area, which became the target of urban speculation. The old one-family houses had to be replaced by large buildings and new neighborhoods.
“La Catalana has a few days left”, said a neighbor staring into spaceand with a certain feeling of melancholy. “Whatever must be will be”. He was about 80 and had a weathered face thateasily showed the reluctancy in his words. His life, as that of his place, was withering.
With the new millenium, La Catalana lost its identity. The old neighbors that used to come outside their homes to see another day pass begun to see themselves surrounded by people on the verge of marginalization looking for a place to hide their alienation from society in the old shacks. La Catalana became a ghost town, where the old inhabitants lived acknowledging their district’s death was close, while some of the newcomers waited for their own death. La Catalana had become a branch of the drug market.
In 2010, a new urban plan conceived to clean up La Catalana condemned the old houses that were to be torn down.
In a couple of months, La Catalana was almost empty. Only four small families remained a few more weeks, wandering around the town, gazing around, making fires or burning copper wire to sell it. The remaining old men stood in the few quiet corners left. All of them wanted to stay until the very last moment. The good placement of La Catalana makes it an ideal and safe place to consume for the junkies. At the time the neighbors were beginning to leave, several groups spread among the houses since most of them were equipped and contained some objects that could be sold. They even broke into some houses where there were still owners reluctant to leave their home. There was a fight and shots were fired in one of those encounters. Everybody heard them, yet nobody said nothing.
Before becoming a piece of waste ground, that ghost town resisted thanks to a group of people that kept giving life to it, at the same time it was a either for those who knew were about to lose their home and for the ones that had already been homeless for a long time, eating up the neighborhood until the end.
This is a story that has passed for 9 years. Its life, decay and death of La Catalana.
“Vestigium” gathers the trace, the trail, the mark. In the end it represents all those memories of a dying town, leaving both a spiritual and a physical void behind.