Open Process

Malcolm Compitello in Madrid.

It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of movement and process in order to understand everyday life in Spanish cities.  Malcolm Compitello, Professor of Spanish at the University of Arizona, and Susan Larson, Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Kentucky, both read Lefebvre’s notion of space as process and not product. This is probably the single most important contribution to the study of the urban experience in the Spanish context. Dr. Compitello was recently honored for his contributions to the fields of Hispanic literature and Hispanic urban cultural studies at the Kentucky Foreign Languages and Literatures Conference (April 18-20, 2013). He was praised for his tireless effort to promote academic as well as extradisciplinary dialogue.

Artists like Steve Lambert see the value in dialogue as well. In his project “Capitalism Works for Me! True/False,” he built the following sign


and placed it in public space hoping that the sign would generate conversation and incite people to reflect on capitalism. He would ask people to vote either “True, capitalism works for me” or “False, capitalism doesn’t work for me” and then he would ask them why they voted the way they did.  Lambert explains the project and some of the responses he received in the following Creative Time Summit video – very funny and informative (click on the photo):

Steve Lambert Creative Time Summit

Intellectuals like Compitello and artists like Lambert understand that open dialogue elicits self-reflection and collective questioning, two practices that form part of the process of social change.

Compitello, Malcolm Alan, and Susan Larson. “Cities, Culture… Capital? Recent Cultural Studies Approaches to Spain’s Cities.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 2, no. 2 (2001): 232-238.