May Our Number Make a Racket and Spur Us On!

Original Publication:
Ediciones Asimétricas

In 2015, Grupal Crew Collective organized a dance contest within the programming of La Plaza de Verano de Matadero. The award: a portable speaker. When Matadero closed that night, a group of people took it with them to the Glorieta de Legazpi and stayed up deep into the night, dancing. In 2016, that roundabout gave birth to a fetish, and riding on the initial impulse of the Grupal Crew, it saw the foundation of a Committee of Festivities for the Romería de los Voltios. In 2017 things got loose. That yearly attempt to vindicate the right to dance in the streets adopted a name of its own: “Romería de los Voltios.”

I have taken part in this invented tradition in distinct ways. On the one hand, the pleasure and joy of an inexperienced dancer. On the other, I have brought the institutional backing of the MNCARS, and through projects such as the exhibition Charivaria, co-curated with Andre Zarza in CentroCentro (Madrid), that explored people’s sonic positioning within public space. And also, via writing—the text I composed can be accessed and read below.

La Romería de los Voltios functions in this text as both the excuse and result through which I approach, in a historic-artistic fashion, other romerías, such as that Romería de los Cornudos conceived by Cipriano de Rivas Cherif and Federico García Lorca, or their predecessors, highlighted by the “romeros voltianos”—I’m thinking of the sonideros or sound systems of Meso and South America, Berlin’s Love Parado, the fabled Ruta del Bakalao, etc…

In short: these pages become an attempt to analyze the possible (favorable or bitter) consequences of powering through the modern by way of the popular and the primitive, but the crux is its defense of street appropriation and the forthcoming subversion of the established via popular celebration. Its determination “that the streets are ours, of the people who inhabit them, walk through them, and dance on their pavements.”

*This essay was published in Programa sin créditos, edited by Selina Blasco and Lila Insúa.