Activism and new media

Salvem el Cabanyal!

As part of our exchange program at UPV we attended the course “Activismo y nuevos medios”. It’s main objective was to explore how tools like 2D/3D animation, projection mapping and game concepts can be used in order to create a peaceful, non destructive protest against the demolishion of one of the most important parts of Valencian culture.

El Cabanyal is a protected neighborhood of the city of Valencia, which was declared as a Cultural Interest Property in 1993 under the typology of Historic Quarter. Since 1998, a municipal project threatens to extend an avenue through the middle of this historical neighborhood.

In order to be able to “legally” destroy the houses that stand in the way, city-authorities stoped investments in this neighbourhood and let houses rot until it becomes too dangerous for people to live inside those ruins. They also tolerate criminal activities by keeping the police out of the district. What used to be a vivid quarter has become a place of rundown houses. Except for the minority of the Gitanos  most people have left the barrio.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the people who refuse to leave their home and the source of their cultural identity have formed a strong and active community which organizes information events, protests and traditional fiestas in the streets. We had the chance to participate in their biggest festival in summer (Cabanyal Intim).

We started with a storyboard for the whole animation sequence. Our idea was to show how vivid and full of life the whole barrio was and how it could end if government policy won’t change soon. We had a 3D model of the house which one of our professors created in Blender. After optimizing the polygonal mesh for use in Cinema 4D, we created 3D animations as well as stills and masks for 2D usage. Furthermore we produced a soundtrack for which we tried to find historical music which we then sampled and integrated into the arrangement in Ableton Live. In the end we used two main themes which were mixed with EDM-based drum patterns and VST-Synthesizers like NI Massive and Absynth.

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