Soccer Poble Sec

June 2010

Graduation project for the Master of Design and Public Space (Barcelona). The assignment was to study a neighbourhood and come with an idea for a monument to address a problem in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood I explored was Poble Sec (dry village), which is known for it’s high number of immigrants.

The project started with a cartographic exploration of the area. I used Gaspar Maza’s (one of the tutors) research as inspiration to look at the neighbourhoods’ sport activities in relation to practices of social inclusion. While doing the fieldwork I discovered a dry open field at the foot of the mountain Montjuic. The site was abandoned during the week, but occupied by approximately 250 Bolivians during the weekends. The Bolovian community gathers there during weekends to ‘celebrate’ their ethnicity by means of local foods, music and local sports. Typically for these events are the women soccer competitions. The teams and the uniforms have names and designs that characterise the players’ villages in Bolivia but the events also have Catalan resemblances (for instance many of the male supporters wear a Barca shirt), forming a peculiar kind of mixed identity. I interviewed locals in the vicinity to find out if they were familiar with these weekend events and I went to the site for several weekends to interview the Bolivians. Most of the people living in the vicinity knew about the events more or less and many of them mentioned to be annoyed by the noise. The interviews with the Bolivian women on the site often led to a debate about the change to less male chauvinistic country, but also how the women want to stay true to their traditions and culture of origin.

The idea for the monument emerged from these conversations. A concrete foosball table in which the puppets of the players are on the one side the women in traditional Bolivian clothes and on the other side women in their own designs of soccer uniforms, to give presence to these weekend phenomena elsewhere in the neighbourhood. On the foosball table a website is engraved, for further information. For local residents it is a way to get insight in this phenomenon in their neighbourhood or if might be an invitation to visit the site.