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La Tabacalera

From a Tobacco Factory to a Self Organized Social Center

Story by Rubens Ben November 18th, 2016

La Tabacalera is a social center that promotes the direct participation of citizenship in managing the public domain. A cultural center that understands culture as a concept encompassing creative and social skills of citizenship. These capabilities include not only artistic production, but also social action, critical thinking and the dissemination of ideas, works and procedures that seek to expand and democratize the public sphere.

La Tabacalera is a comprehensive center that includes languages and modes of expression, but also the complexity of demographic, cultural, ethnic, records and ways of inhabiting the territory and the time in the short therm.

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Recicletos

The space hosts also a huge bicycle workshop, where anyone can re-use, teach, learn, fix and build everything around the 2 wheel world.

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makers AND DOERS

Since its inception, Tabacalera has been an open invitation to all kinds of groups and individuals to get involved and participate in the project. As a result, the internal social composition shows the complexity and richness of a life that supports the diversity of human beings and builds its own ecosystem betting on intercultural coexistence, inter-ethnic, gender and sexual exceptions and, ultimately, by heterogeneity.

Below, a workshop about how to build your own longboard

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You can also find ladies doing chemicals-free soaps in jaw molds.

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A portrait of Said. He is working here for many years. Coming from Morocco, he builds USB solar chargers in cigar-boxes as well as other wonderful crafts.

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SOUND SYSTEM CULTURE

A strong sound system culture where Jah is praised.

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A Cultural Heaven

All that’s produced or reproduced on La Tabacalera must be made under free licenses, be freely available and have as an objective, the expansion of the public domain in regards to knowledge and culture.

On-site Radio Station

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Guerreros de luz (the light warriors), processing at the danzas prehispánicas, a traditional Aztec Dance.

"Danzas prehispánicas" by Guerreros de luz
"Danzas prehispánicas" by Guerreros de luz
"Danzas prehispánicas" by Guerreros de luz
"Danzas prehispánicas" by Guerreros de luz

Afro Festival of Lavapies.

Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés
Afro Festival Lavapiés

Street Art

In may 2015 and on the initiative of the "Madrid street Art Project", the walls of the Tabacalera have been turned into a blank canvas for more than 40 urban artists. Here is the result.

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ABOUT

This photo-report is part of a series of exploration about self-organized communities.

This is a 100% self-funded project. If you like my work, you can help me to continue these explorations and shine a light on more amazing communities with a donation :

About me : I'm a freelance photographer on the road, passionate about communities. I believe in a world of independent communities based on ecology, open-source and decentralization. I'm also a music photographer. The whole spectrum on RubensBen.com. You can reach me at ola@rubensben.com

A special thanks to Janny Le for being the best guide !

Footnote: Text from latabacalera.net
La Tabacalera, Calle Vicaría, Gijón, Spain