CASTELLON de la PLANA – 1139 km from Turin – April 30th, May 1st,2nd,3rd
Arrival and first meeting
We arrived in Castellon around May 1st holiday. The university was almost empty. The wide spaces and the brand new buildings were standing out under that light, that silence and that heat.
During our first visit to the Campus Jaume I, while wandering around the tangled parking lots of the University, we were greeted by Toni Valesa, the Campus Theater director and coordinator of the social-cultural activities of the SASC (Social-cultural Activities Service).
It is fascinating how the 15 years-old University is built up as a “city in a city” and how it played an important role for all the young students that had to move to Valencia or to Barcelona before, in order to study at university. Now they can go to university in their own city, instead.
Toni, Nati and Rosabel told us about their activities, about the time when the city was razed to the ground but it was then rebuilt in a modern and efficient way, about the excellence of the ceramic production and the life on campus, which was exciting and difficult at the same time.
Later on, Carmen Maria told us that in the last ten years there’d been a decreasing participation and interest in the activities amongst young people, in respect with sometime before. But even if they were still figuring out what their lives could be like, they had always done it with that joy and light heart that seemed to be typical of the Spaniards.
Even though the cutbacks to education had been pretty heavy and led to many difficulties, their being an against-the-stream team, based on the people work, on the social cooperation and the common goals, helped them not to loose grip of the situation.
“We are not regular people” they said, “but this is our opinion about making culture going”.
In the university plaza there is the Caravan, and us, and the television with the intrevistadora cotonada, the backcombed interviewer, and the radio. Donde estan los estudiantes por el taller?! Where are the students for the workshop?
No estan…. There is nobody.
I mean, they are just not here. They’re in some Cafes, lying down on the grass, in the library studying for the exams since we are in the middle of the session now.
The organizers and the cameraman are pressing about doing something to get the students involved, to have them participate in the workshop. We have to do something and we have to provoke a reaction…
What are we going to do?
We approached a group of young people, somebody left, and somebody stayed. We took out three pictures, representing respectively a moment of everyday life, a moment of crisis and one of recovery. Many of them reacted. Someone lay down, someone assumed strange positions, and others that used their best dramatic expressions to represent the crisis, showing their moneyless pockets or wallets. As we went through the groups, more and more people gathered around and we reach a hundred people: clenched fists to the sky, the raised arms in the air to show the rebellion and the strength to come out of the crisis, “la salida”.
In the afternoon, we performed in “Precipito” and some new considerations started to spread around our young audience; then, the appointment was on again for the next day.
We experienced new meetings and new exchanges and we gathered those impressions that arose from the show and from the characters’ stories. The last group we met seemed very into our propositions and in the end we even managed to put up a brief show that represented the overtaking of the status of crisis. The students were very excited, they accepted the challenge and they even added some music to the performance: it was about school, the study and desire of freedom.
What are we bringing?
We were sitting on the grass and impressions and opinions started to arise. The students felt lonely; they were convinced that society didn’t understand their problems and aspirations. They complained about the majority of the private idea in respect with the community one. They felt powerless, without any tool to help them be active, but nonetheless they kept on talking and proposing, even the slightest one. Rosabel is the most talkative, she said that if everybody did his/her job right, things could change. And then Andrea concluded the meeting with a conclusion that had everybody satisfied: he said that projects such as ours contribute to make people talk. At first nobody knew anyone, but then yes and it was not irrelevant.
We thank Rosabel’s insistence, the bulky TVs, the students that were not there or were hard to get.
A crisis can be a good thing if it forces you out of your certainties and pushes you to explore the territories of doubt and uncertainty.
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