Toward a Cultural Archive of la Movida
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Toward a Cultural Archive of la Movida

Back to the Future
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Francisco Fernández de Alba
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Toward a Cultural Archive of la Movida revisits the cultural and social milieu in which laMovida, an explosion of artistic production in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Spain, was articulated discursively, aesthetically, socially, and politically. Of interest to both researchers and academics interested in Spanish culture and the processes of political and cultural transition from dictatorship and democracy through the cultural phenomenon known as la Movida, this book offers an expanded critical approach to the study of contemporary Spanish cultural studies.
Toward a Cultural Archive of la Movida revisits the cultural and social milieu in which laMovida, an explosion of artistic production in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was articulated discursively, aesthetically, socially, and politically. We connect this experience with a broader national and international context that takes it beyond the city of Madrid and outside the borders of Spain. This collection of essays links the political and social undertakings of this cultural period with youth movements in Spain and other international counter-cultural or underground movements. Moving away from biographical experiences or the identification of further participants and works that belong to laMovida, the articles collected in this volume situate this movement within the political and social development of post-Franco Spain. Finally, it also offers a reading of recent politically motivated recoveries of this cultural phenomenon through exhibitions, state sponsored documentaries, musicals, or tourist itineraries.
The perception of Spain as representative of a successful dual transition from dictatorship to democracy and free market capitalism created a “Spanish model” that has been emulated in countries like Portugal, Argentina, Chile and Hungary, all formerly ruled by totalitarian regimes. While social scientists study the promises, contradictions and failures of the Spanish
Transición—especially on issues of memory, repression, and (the lack of) reconciliation —our approach from the humanities offers another vantage point to a wider discussion of an unfinished chapter in recent Spanish history by focusing on laMovida as the “cultural archive” whose cultural transitions parallel the political and economic ones. The transgressive, urban nature of this movement demonstrated an overt desire, especially among Spanish youth, to reach onto a global arena emulating the punk and new wave aesthetic of such cities as London, New York, Paris, and Berlin. Art, design, film, music, fashion during this period helped to forge a sense of a modern urban identity in Spain that also reflected the tensions between modernity and tradition, global forces and local values, international mass media technology and regional customs.



1) Back to the Future: Towards a Cultural Archive of la Movida (William Nichols & H. Rosi Song)

I. Theorizing la Movida

2) “La Movida as Debate” (Jordi Marí)

3) “From the Unrest to la Movida. Cultural Politics and Pop Music in the Spanish Transition” (Héctor Fouce)

4) “The Same in Name, but Different: la Movida madrileña and the other ‘Movidas’ of Spain” (Hamilton Stapell)

5) “In/Authenticities: Movida Youth Culture in Motion” (Christine Henseler)

II. Peripheral Movidas and Media Revolutions

6) “The Dark Heart of la Movida: Vampire Fantasies in Iván Zulueta’s Arrebato” (Alberto Mira)

7) “Peripheral Movidas: Cannibalizing Galicia” (José Colmeiro)

8) “Queer Traces in the Soundtrack of la Movida” (Jorge Pérez)

9) “Party to the People: Heroin and the Spanish ‘Lost’ Generation” (Francisco Fernández de Alba)

III. Taking Back the City: Politics of Space and Place in Spain

10) “Urbanism, Architecture, and la Movida madrileña” (Susan Larson)

11) “Sketching the Future Furiously: La Movida, Graphic Design and the Urban Process in Madrid” (Malcom Compitello)

12) “Liberty Street, the Liberty of the Street: La Movida and Political Transition” (Juan Pablo Wert Ortega)

13) “FromCarajillo to Madriz: The comics of la Movida” (Pedro Pérez del Solar)

IV. Still in the Present: Ghosts of la Movida

14) “From Counter-Culture to National Heritage: ‘La Movida’ in the Museum and the Institutionalization of Irreverence” (William Nichols)

15) “Memory and Archive: la Movida, Alaska and Processes of Cultural Archeology” (Silvia Bermúdez)

16) “Ghostly Subjectivities: Photography, Spectral Identities, and the Temporality of la Movida” (Jonathan Snyder)

17) “The Metamorphosis of Memory and la Movida in Recent Documentary Films” (Marcela T. Garcés)