Aspirar alto, aspirar profundo
Take it easy, because it takes years of work to accomplish this route.
This route starts from an indeterminate South, which is inevitably thought of as South from a place that is articulated as North or as Center in an act of
1. The first thing is to learn to position yourself. Nach vorne (forward). Nach hinten (behind).
At 52.4901242,13.3875182,17 in Nostitzstrasse they teach flamenco lessons in German. You learn the directions and the numbers to be able to make your first sevillana dance and then forget it. You do not feel comfortable in a place that presupposes as your corner. A few streets away, you live and work as an Au pair (among many other things) for a wealthy family that understands itself as a cultural class. They chose you because their previous Au Pair came from the same place as you. The father of the girl you care for, a philosophy professor at Freie Universität, describes his former nanny as “a woman of race, dark and exuberant”.
2. The second thing is to learn what your place is. In this attempt to achieve absolute perpendicularity, one gets tired of kicking the ground.
You are at the top of the mountain 41.4064406,2.1683763, in a classroom of a private school in Barcelona from which you can see the sea. Everything here seems to be suspended in the air. Every day you go up to the highest tower in the building, which houses the library —because the books are always on top— to feel that you belong to that world where gravity is lighter, even if it is not entirely true. You open your mouth, you inhale the s and you don’t finish a word. Your colleagues laugh, because talking is not allowed in libraries and you, on top of that, eat the words and the knowledge escapes you when you clench your teeth.
You sweat. Downhill. You run. You’re late at the next place. Right next to what would be the dirty area of the private school, of the museums with names and surnames, of the tourists who gather on the fake stones of the Born. You open the gate of “Paraíso flamenco” 41.3850174,2.1783694,17 that no longer exists. You work here without a contract, like a parody of yourself. You have been chosen again because the saleswoman who previously occupied your place came from the same place as you. You start to wonder what it is that has brought you to this coordinate. Out of all the curriculums you have distributed, they have chosen you, here.
To all of you.
For the charm.
For the salero.
For the languages.
For the knolwedge in social media.
For the experience in your field.
For dancing once a sevillana.
Because you just got here.
Because you accept to work with no contract.
Because you have no choice.
Because it is close to you.
Because you have to pay the school.
Becuse it is timeless.
3. The third thing is to find your place. You start to believe that you can make it. You continue to work in textile paradises, like your ancestors, and at the same time you manufacture symbolic capital that is deposited in this city, just like your ancestors.
From the highest tower of “El Corte Inglés” 41.3855647,2.1682019,17 that no longer exists, you can see the Ramblas that go down or up, depending on the day. And you go with them. You replicate the movement looking for a genealogy that accompanies you and that moves away from what configures you, finding out names that have been erased, turned into romanticism, or what is worse, spectacle. How are you going to find those biographies and make them yours, if in the South they no longer remember their names because they have been burned in their Sun costume and in the North they are only recovered in the museum’s cold storage units? How are we going to position ourselves in this here if we lose our names, if we do not call ourselves as South, if we do not take responsibility for our way of working always in that outside?
I wonder what places we can occupy.
Coordinates, from North to South.
This route was for February, but now it is March. The midpoint between these times is the 28th. Happy Andalusia Day. The stories that appear here are fragments of truth from migrants living in Barcelona. The coordinates have been stripped of their orientation.
Text by Maria Alcaide for GRAF.