Rana Plaza never again

Clean Clothes is the title of an international public awareness campaign calling for improved working conditions in the textile sector.

In Spain, it is coordinated by the NGO Setem, an organization with which I already collaborated last year in a similar campaign, but focused on the footwear industry.

I did it with the audiovisual me>Cat with boots >/strong> that could be seen in the program Zapaturgias , curated by Carlos Llavata in the CC La Beneficencia. This year the idea is to demand transparency in the working conditions of the entire textile production chain, recalling the Bangladesh catastrophe in 2013, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed causing 1134 deaths and 2500 wounded, mostly women.

With the intention of supporting it, we include a vindicative artistic event titled #RanaPlazaNeverAgain, just like the campaign slogan, within the programming Atopic of Intramurs. But it had to be suspended due to rain and we agreed to move it to the past Saturday December 15 , to make it coincide with the Christmas sales campaign.

The action took place in the Plaza de los Pinazo, next to the Colón subway exit, and its protagonism was in charge of the School of Kimbaku Sessantanove . The aim was to make visible, by means of an exhibition of this oriental art, the painful work environment in which a large part of the clothes we consume are produced, because there are still work situations bordering on slavery or torture in extreme cases.

My role within the organization was limited, in principle, to writing this chronicle and little more. But I ended up tied up and hanging like a ham, as you can see in the picture.

To understand how I ended up in this guise, it is important to know that Kimbaku or shibari art is a practice of the samurai culture born between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Japan. It seems to arise from the progressive aesthetization of the techniques of immobilization of the defeated enemy, to take advantage of the symbolic potential of its forced submission and public humiliation.

These increasingly refined methodologies will recently be incorporated into our western culture under the name of Bondage, although this term is more often associated with the pornography industry. A relationship that is by no means obligatory. In fact, I can guarantee, from my experience lived in this and in other occasions, that it is not the sex but the cure and the mutual affection, the main characteristic of a practices in which the cruelty and the abuse of power are only simulated.

Just the opposite of what usually occurs in the world of porn, where the condition of excellence lies in not pretending, both enjoyment and suffering. This is confirmed by Silvia and Ricardo, the two students who took care of me, the main interest of which focuses on the beauty of the forms and the experience of intense complicity relations.

An intimate coexistence that, moreover, is almost always lived reciprocally, because the flirt is usually also flirted. It is even common practice to tie oneself up and suspend oneself, as could be seen during last Saturday’s event.

An attractive ceremony that gathered a large number of people, among whom were distributed hundreds of informative brochures of the campaign. Interesting experience that I recommend to live also in first person, that is to say, letting yourself be connected without fear, to perceive with all the nuances the indescribable power of this ancient martial art.

Because, paradoxically, the suspension and immobilization , when it is voluntary and properly executed, translates into a sensation of great relaxation and absolute -although obviously false- freedom. A phenomenon that can serve as a starting point to reflect on what is being sold to us in the heat of big words such as art, elegance and fashion, but also liberation , autonomy or independence .

Written by Domingo Mestre

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