February 27, 2002
For immediate release
TRIENNIAL ART WORK DESTROYED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Contacts: Las Agencias, MACBA, Mayor of Barcelona
The ShowBus was a vehicle designed for artistic and activist reclamation of public space. It was outfitted for video reception and screening, was equipped with a sound system, and had a stage on top for performances. It provided a workspace for neighbourhood and antiglobalization activists and artists, and at massive gatherings it served as a nexus for developing and coordinating direct action.
Originally funded by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA; contact email@example.com) for the 2001 Triennial, the ShowBus was run by artist-activists Las Agencias (firstname.lastname@example.org), and quickly came to be used by antiglobalization networks as one of their primary tools. It appeared in a number of anticapitalist and antifascist festivals in Barcelona, Pamplona and Valencia.
The ShowBus was scheduled for use in the upcoming anti-EU meetings in Barcelona, Zaragoza and Sevilla. It was also to be the centerpiece of a video-activist campaign in Italy in April.
On February 15, three days after having successfully obtained all official inspection certificates, the ShowBus was attacked in broad daylight. Its controls were smashed, its gearbox and all wheels destroyed. Finally, the wooden parts of the ShowBus (work-tables, closets, plattforms) were methodically taken apart, piled into the back of the bus, and set on fire, destroying the motor.
This procedure would have taken several workers well over an hour. It was a systematic and professional job.
All of this happened at 3 p.m. on a weekday. Quite inexplicably, Barcelona police did not stop it from happening, and firefighters never showed up, allowing the bus to be completely destroyed.
For activists in Barcelona and elsewhere, the destruction of the ShowBus represents a significant loss of resources that will be difficult to recoup. For all of us, the destruction of this functional and effective work of art, with the indifference or perhaps complicity of the police, might stand as a big question mark: is this the value placed on art that doesn't just look good?