|Memory Walk is about the world changing around you,
about not having a great deal to say about it, about the privatisation
of public space and about the loss of a sense of identity connected
to locality. It is simply a meandering walk through the neighbourhood
of Poble Nou, along the Diagonal del Mar and the side streets that
feed into and out of it.
Memory Walk is set in Barcelona, a city I don't have a close connection
to. I started the project - without realising it - on my first visit
there. The first walk took place 22 February 2004; I was wandering
through the district of Poble Nou. Once known as the “Catalan
Manchester” Poble Nou was purpose-built as an industrial town
outside the city, and like cities such as Nottingham, the workers
lived in clusters around the factories.
As I walked, I took a variety of photographs of the area, The images
of old industrial buildings, many of which which were being torn
down, were especially pleasing in the late afternoon early-spring
sunshine. Strong, elongated shadows, rough layered textures, sharp
juxtaposition of colours.
My second walk, the “Memory Walk”, was made on 23 October
2007. This walk was made with the aid of the photographs taken on
the first walk, three and a half years earlier. An attempt was made
to locate and photograph the same places photographed in 2004. It
was very difficult. Almost nothing is left of the Poble Nou area
around Diagonal del Mar. The record remains, in my photographs and
elsewhere - in people's blogs and testimonials - of the shape and
culture of old Poble Nou just before it disappeared.
At that point, my position as a flaneur photographer shifted from
that of an observer of the textures and fabric of the city, to that
of an engaged participant. My photographs have ceased to be solely
“artistic objects,” but have become recordings of a
political issue, a social process. Whatever I might choose to do
with the images, they will always have this dual meaning.
Gillian McIver 2007
"Memory Walk" was exhibited at IN SITU,
Farinera del Clot, Barcelona 2007