Paco Contreras


The Algameca Chica

Group exhibition at Gigarpe Gallery

Different kind of recycled materials

Cartagena, 2012

Photo of the piece

This piece is inspired by the constructive landscape that one can find in the area known as Algameca Chica, where any everyday item is likely to be used to raise a private space.

It is interesting to read the following text of Diego Ortiz to get an idea of what inspired me to do this piece.

'Algameca Chica is the most popular beach of Cartagena'. Thus It was defined in 1933 by a journalist of the newspaper Nueva Cartagena, this iconic corner of our coast. An area of special interest, whose most remote background as the nucleus of population they go back, at least until the 17th century when, in a census of population dating from 1683 had secured that 26 neighbours dwelt in the Algamecas.

But it will be in the middle of the 19th century when Cartagena chooses this place as place of leisure activities in the summer months, especially for the more popular classes. These people are those who have given to that area its aspect of village of Southeast Asia - The Little Shanghai have come to call it - and have become

Detail of the piece where you can see a spool of thread simulating a flowerpot stand

an example of great value of the whole process of design that is known as participatory architecture, one in which the user is at the same time the protagonist of the design process. Thus, the most diverse construction elements serve to give shape to these unique buildings that some people want to delete, along with its history, at a stroke or through a recovery environmental plan.

For those who want their disappearance have not got value such buildings, which however they have been studied even by professionals in the architecture. Moreover, this

Detail from the bottom of the piece

people do not stop to rating the popular character recognized over the decades as when, to cite some specific examples, from the 40s of the last century the Red Cross installed annually relief jobs to meet possible emergencies among the numerous swimmers who came to the Algameca Chica. In those years we also can find in the proceedings of the City Council, administrative authorizations for the construction of some of the shacks they want to demolish today.

City Hall stance, that as the initiative taken by the City Council in 1973 to undertaking studies for a possible urban development of that area, gathering all possible information, contrast with the attempts of removal of this place unique. Attempts that it have been repeating over time, as when in 1935 the Maritime Delegate forbade even bathing in the area, prompting an angry reaction from citizens which came to be reflected in the pages of the local press, ending that attempt to wrest this corner to its users. This stance of Cartagena's citizens of almost eighty years ago must serve incentive to get that this new attempt to put an end to something that form part of our history will soon be limited to the yellowed pages of an official note that failed to run.'

Text written by the historian Diego Ortiz on the occasion of the exhibition organized by the Algameca Chica's neighborhood association in collaboration with Gigarpe Art Gallery..

In its more high-part there is a kind of cylinder simulating a water tank A detail of one of the compartments which it is a part of the work Another possible interior of a 'house' of my Algameca

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