Wednesday, March 13, 2013


weetuzoo's International Correspondant Amanda Carlson's Adventure Continues in Madrid. 
Next blog stop: Madrid's Industrial, Cultural Complexes
by Amanda Carlson

Meeting up with friends in Madrid, it took little effort to convince the group of Madrileños and extranjeros alike to check out two buildings that have been repurposed to function as cultural centers – Matadero (slaughterhouse) and La Tabacalera (the tobacco factory).  What we found was a fascinating comparison of how the city’s post-industrial spaces pull in locals and visitors alike, and yield events, organizations, and individuals that can engage in, and with, a broad spectrum of cultural practices.

The two centers, while having origins in Madrid’s industrial past, could not feel more different.  Matadero, a massive complex that highlights some of the best of Madrid’s creative industries, hosts co-working space, a cinema, an institute for reading and the written word, and rotating exhibition space, among others.  The buildings have been retrofitted to capitalize on design trends favoring the rustic, sleek, and minimal. Its spaces permit innumerable distinct activities to take place within the confines, while also making it easy to forget at times the location’s bloody history. 

La Tabacalera, on the other hand, remains the dark, gritty, noisy place that it must have been in the factory’s most productive years - surely contributing to this feeling was our visit coinciding with a Lucha Libre event.  The building, which is administered through the democratic participation of the organizations and individuals that utilize the building’s facilities, seems to churn with the practice, exposition, and informal gatherings. People and activities seem to smash up against each other in ways that would be impossible in an expansive site such as Matadero. 

However different the sensations brought on by these two sites, their coexistence in the city,  their vibrancy, and their accessibility showcase the breadth of cultural practice in Madrid.  Similarly, while visiting such places, it is impossible not to consider how such unique physical spaces help creativity to thrive.

Armed with the self-styled goal of "purposeful vacationing", weetuzoo Writer/Researcher Amanda Carlson loves the adrenaline of arrival. Madrid is her second report in an on going series. Stay tuned for her next adventure- things get crazy. Photos by Yolanda Jiménez.

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