[originally published in catalan in LÃnia VallÃ¨s, #59. Mollet del VallÃ¨s (Spain): 01/16/2004]
In a corner of Barcelona, at the end of Enric Granados Street, a bench has been upholstered. It is one of these benches that have lately been installed in the squares and circuses of our cities, with metallic legs and wooden sit and back and that, quite often, they are arranged as a three-piece suite: a large bench and two individual ones. The main character of this tale is an individual one.
The upholstery has been performed by a non-amateur: tough cloth, printed with a yellow and orange squares pattern according to the buildings around and the surrounding trees; filled with foam cut the same size of the constituting boards; and stapled professionally and with the most care and technique required.
And I’m still amazed: someone has bothered to upholster a street bench! I explain it to my friend and one of them says “it must have been some of these urban artists, what a sort of crazy people they are”. I guess these craziness is quite productive: instead of break, burn or sign the urban furniture, someone is wasting his precious time in improving it in the name of art: the roles have gone upside down and patrons of the arts in the society are, now, the artists themselves.
Let’s put it clear: facing facts like these, we must absolutely forget calling the Administration and other benefactors for grants and subsidies for art and culture. Artists have all their needs covered and, more, they even have time and money to devote to public works. I wonder why they don’t just fix some routes, build nurseries or avoid the erosion of the coast. In the end, I think all of these are priority actions before the comfort of street benches.
By the way, the Administration should keep on with his policy of encouraging whatever freak that might come with the aim of modifying the physics or chemicals of whatever thing he might find, in the name of nationalism, football or his or her political confusions. We should avoid paying our taxes and, on top of that, paying the unemployment subsidies of these people that, against odds, try to get us off the beastie prose.