Marina Garcés



A grigri is not an object or a gadget, nor is it merchandise. It is a set of relationships through which we are able to take a chance on dignity. There are wooden or cloth grigris possibly resembling ancient amulets that any one of us could imagine hanging around the neck of an indigenous person not belonging to an occidental or urban culture. But grigris can also be verbal or digital, even imaginary. Any word or image that encapsulates and shares the strength of dignity is a grigri.


In the recent history of the always uncertain Iberian Peninsula, grigris have taken on the shape of encrypted dates: the combination of a number and an initial comprises an encrypted code of the collective memory, of announcements and struggles. 11-M, 29-M, 15-M, 1-O, 8-M… these, among others, are the slogans of a different calendar, one that doesn’t represent time of official or sacred history, nor the “seasons” of a society of drama and consumerism. Among them, there are no national days, no sacred celebrations, no announcement of massive sales. They are the days in red conquered by the strength and the collective imagination to the production, reproduction and capital time. They are the bright days torn from the darkness of a reluctant society under the threat of crisis and its crisis. They are the purple days representing us women who have lost our fear. The days in yellow and green of teachers and neighbours who turn their claims into coloured tides that cheer the deaf anger of our neighbourhoods and cities. They are the days, also marked in yellow, of a popular referendum converted into a legitimizing argument for censorship and preventive incarceration of the instigators.


When we may no longer write history from scratch, when we no longer shoot at the clocks nor may we reinvent the calendar as in the French Revolution, there will always be the possibility of assaulting the already existing order, that is, taking over the dates and the squares to gather people and claim ownership of some of the twelve months and the pertaining thirty days. The magical effect commences once the grigri-dates start accumulating and become mistaken or confused in our minds and we may no longer remember if the M was for March or for May, and if the 11 was for Atocha or the one standing for “Pásalo” (Hand it over), if the 15M was in 2011 or in 2010 or if the 29M was a general strike or a marea (political movement). The confusion, far from erasing history to oblivion, is amplified and transformed into a continuum that is bigger than the need for accuracy of the events. It is not every day that something may happen, let alone insurrections or collective large-scale actions or initiatives. But when the grigri-dates begin to dance, their power impregnates the day-to-day sordidness, the anonymity of the ordinary lifestyle, the lack of belief in a present that was written in the past as it doesn’t know how to imagine the future. The shared dignity is the continuum of a discontinuous history of struggles or fights that memory not only stores but also updates with every gesture, every step, and every day that isn’t marked and aspires to become just another day in our ungovernable, unappropriable and unrepresentable calendar. In our grigri time, there is not a single day for revolution, for festivities nor for the founding of anything. On the contrary: every day is the day in which dignity may seep through the cracks of the calendar.