Visual Assembly

Visual Assembly in Madrid

People sit in front of the Reina Sofia Art Museum on Plaza de Juan Goytisolo in central Madrid Spain at night

On Thursday, May 06 we discussed the forthcoming Visual Assembly (V-A) to be held in Madrid in the Square in front of the Reina Sofia Museum in September 2021.

It will coincide with the year since the death of David Graeber, as a continuation of last year’s Carnval4David.
David always had a deep respect and childlike enthusiasm for Carnival culture and what he called: laughing in the face of death.

This is why all of David Graeber’s annual memorial celebrations emerge at the cusp of hope and despair, courage and fear, past and future. 

The first Visual Assembly was made by Nika, David, Chariey, Clare and Clive just over a year ago in Portobello Road in London. 

 We chose for the second Visual Assembly the public Square in front of the Raine Sophia Museum in Madrid as a gesture of hope, because we’re desperate. 

It will be linked to the arrival of the Zapatistas delegation to Europe that marked 500 years of Colonisation of what the european called the New World.

We hope that a collective public art project will help us – all those who speak different languages and represent different cultures – to find common ground. 

In planning the V-A, we have to answer many questions: 

  • We need to decide on a visual language. Our stencils need to be inexpensive to produce and large enough to cover most of the area with them. 
  • The theatricality and playfulness of the event – the mixing of audience and participants during the visualization in the Square. How do we mark the people who are in our group? Clare and Savitri suggested using ruffs, colored hats and balaclavas.  
  • We plan to use washable materials, so the Square could be clean by the next day. It will save us from having to get permits for our public art project. It is also beautiful and meaningful to build something that will stay only in our memory and stories about it. However, these materials (acrylic and chalk spray) are quite expensive, and the area is large. 
  • The moderation is a dialogue between a group of Zapatistas and a group of English-speaking activists. But we are waiting to hear from Jamie, who is a facilitation expert.
  • This time we want to prepare our media campaign in advance and set up the correct framework for filming and editing The Museum of Care Visual Assembly 

The first Visual Assembly was about the City of Care, 

The second will be about the Museum. (Museum of Care).

We chose Museums – these sacred spaces used for justifying the horrors of capitalism, which many still call “civilization” – as the main theme because the decolonization of the Museum is perhaps the single most important step we have to make if we want to change the status quo. Together we want to imagine a new Museum: where objects do not matter, but relationships do, where life is more precious than objects, where there are no doors, no locks, no directors and no guards. We want to conceive and map the Museum that welcomes everyone in the role everyone chooses for themselves. 

The location we have chosen for the Assembly is very important. Five hundred years ago, Spaniards went to what they called New World, stole a bunch of staff, brought it back to Europe to make what we called now “developed” or “the first world.”

We are grateful to Daniela Ortiz’s proposal to speak at the next Assembly on May 21 about the history of the Raine Sophia Museum’s area. 

It is important to integrate local activists working and living in the area and the Museum itself, which has taken steps to decolonize its collections and its policies. 

Before the Assembly starts, we will paint the area with rectangles that outline the framework of the Museum of Care with unconnected rectangles or circles painted in light colors. 

During the Assembly, “rooms” can be filled with different contents by using stencils, from a collection of dreams to a list of our fears and whatever else the Assembly will decide to do. 

The Assembly members will direct facilitators working on the ground to connect or disconnect rooms with arrows, words and other stencils.


We decided that the off-line coordination of spraying and painting and general movement of the people on the Square would be coordinated by Reverend Billy, Savitry and the Church of Stop Shopping.  

John Fass suggested using cardboard to make the planning of the Museum three-dimensional and the museum walls movable. 

Elizabeth Travelslight and proposed the term “Lexicon,” which is central for the preparation of the Assembly. We will need to invent and distribute a list of words for the artist, who will create the stencils, that will be understandable and meaningful to as many people as possible. 

Here is a link to a google doc to invent, suggest and edit words

Clive and Charlie suggested organizing an open call for designers, asking them to choose words from the Lexicon and create one or two A3 stencils. 

At the next Assembly on May 21, we decided to draw up a to-do list and a list of people responsible for different areas of the project. 

All the results of the planning of the Visual Assembly will be open for use for anyone, but the working group would be restrictive with participants.

Closer to September, it will be clear whether it makes sense to do many Visual Assemblies worldwide, as we have done with Carnival, or whether it is better to concentrate on the Madrid Assembly. 

We will make a timeline for the preparation. 

Precise agenda for the 21st meeting would be sent by May 19th. 

Here is the link to the video of the last Assembly. 

Please join us, sign up for the list by sending an empty email to this address. 

Our next meeting is on May 21 at 8 pm GTM +1

Please, bring hats and masks, like always!! 

V-A committee 


Just wanted to put an example of the costumes to discuss in the future: Clare and Savitri suggested using ruffs, colored hats and balaclavas.  

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