"We Don't Want Your Money": Wall Writings Against Gentrification in Spain

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionSolo art productionpeer-review


It is estimated that in 2016 more than 73 million tourists arrived to Spain. Spain has been a prime example of transforming into an international travel destination since the 1960's. On yearly basis the Spanish state invests more than 90 million euros on marketing tourism.

Many Spanish cities have conducted intensive neoliberal urban policies in order to boost the use of common space for tourism. This has meant more beds and entertainment for tourists. Last year permanent residents of cities started to get bored of the noise pollution (yelling, singing, fighting etc.) and hygiene standards (littering, peeing, vomiting etc.) of tourists. Many cities in Spain have now new policies which are limiting the construction of new hotels. In Madrid permanent residents are collecting web archive of illegal tourist apartments.

In the beginning of 2017 wall writings and street art pieces against tourism and gentrification started to appear on the walls of Spanish streets. Despite not being as widely researched as street art, wall writings are noteworthy highlighting how they occupy city space for messaging. Walls become an alternative media, a tool for communication. Based on my intensive visual ethnographic fieldwork in Madrid and Valencia in 2016 and 2017, this photo exhibition explores how wall writings can be particularly illuminating in studies of socio-political crisis. The photographed examples of wall writings aim to highlight how wall writings are widely utilized way of communication in city spaces, and dominant tool in claim-making in Madrid and Valencia.

Ultimately, this photographic exhibition brings attention to an often neglected but important perspective of a wall writings as voices of ordinary citizens. It visualizes the tricky relationship between tourism and the permanent citizens.

Keywords: wall writing, gentrification, protest, urban space, Spain
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Size30 x 40
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018
MoEC publication typeF1 Published independent work of art
EventUrban Struggles in Mediterranean Cities: The Right to the City and the Common Space - School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Duration: 31 May 20183 Jun 2018
Conference number: 1


  • gentrification
  • tourism
  • right to the city

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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