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So far Javier Abarca has created 33 blog entries.

Punk Graffiti Archives: Madrid

Punk Grafiti Files Madrid

“Punk Graffiti Archives: Madrid” documents the extremely obscure flechero graffiti scene that took over the streets of Madrid in the second half of the eighties, before the New York graffiti tradition became known among the local youth. The book was published as a companion to the 2018 Unlock Book Fair, which took place in Amsterdam in December 8-9 under the topic “punk and graffiti”.

“Punk Graffiti Archives: Madrid” features many unpublished images of flechero tags unearthed from private archives, as well as newspaper clippings from the time translated to English. A unique publication that offers graffiti aficionados a rare look into this underexplored culture.

Punk Graffiti Archives: Madrid
170×240 cm
116 pages
172 illustrations
Full colour
Published by Urbanario, Madrid, 2018

From the book’s introduction:

Throughout the decades of 1980 and 1990 the New York tradition of graffiti conquered the whole European continent. But by the early eighties graffiti was nothing new for many urban youth in Europe. Graffiti done by punks was commonplace — slogans, bands’ names and personal nicknames. And punk-originated tagging scenes had developed in some cities with little knowledge of what had been happening in New York.

Two scenes in particular grew to become full-fledged competitions for all-city visibility and reached a notable degree of maturity regarding graphics, methodology and values. One was the Amsterdam scene, started in the late seventies and faded around 1984. The other was the “flechero” graffiti from Madrid, practiced mostly during the second half of the eighties.

Both scenes disappeared when the New York tradition of graffiti became better known through the arrival of books and documentaries. The imported culture was far more complex than the local ones, and in many senses more interesting, so many writers abandoned the local codes and started to explore the game of tags, throw-ups, pieces and trains.

2019-02-21T16:59:05+02:002019 / 02 / 17|0 Comments

List of confirmed exhibitors for the Unlock Book Fair 2018

Unlock Book Fair 2018

One week to the Unlock Book Fair 2018! Here is the list of confirmed exhibitors:

288kk Press, publishing house, PL
A Paper Book, publishing house, NL
Adam Void, self-publishing author, US
Artkitchen gallery / Decultclub, publishing house, NL
BAMN magazine, magazine, NL
Chemistry Publishing, publishing house, NL
Dokument Press, publishing house, SE
Dutch Graffiti Library, publishing house, NL
Éditions Carton-pâte, publishing house, FR
Éditions Peinture, publishing house, FR
Editions Terrain Vague, publishing house, FR
Éditions Vers le Futur, publishing house, FR
Espora, magazine, ES
Frank Fickeisen, self-publishing author, DE
Futura publications publishing house, GR
Graffneck, bookstore, CZ
Hitzerot, publishing house and bookstore, DE
International Neighbourhood, publishing house, DE
Invalid Books, publishing house, RU
Jens Besser, self-publishing author DE
Klick Klack Publishing, publishing house, DE
Lawjamba Zines, fanzine, NL
Livor Mortis Zine, fanzine, UK
Microcosm, publishing house, US
Nicolas Dolto, self-publishing author, FR
Nokkio institute of zines, publishing house, BE/HU
Nuart Journal, magazine, NO
Page Five, publishing house, CZ
Podpolie Books, publishing house, DE/BY
Possible Books, publishing house, DE
Puresu de Tokyo, publishing house, JP
sorrysomethingwentwrong.com, publishing house,
Stickit, publishing house, NL
Street Spirit Mag, magazine, ES
Trafo Gallery, publishing house, CZ
Urban Creativity, publishing house, PT
Urbanario, publishing house, ES
Zelle Asphaltkultur, self-publishing collective, DE
Zugriff, magazine, DE

2018-12-01T02:56:53+02:002018 / 11 / 28|0 Comments

The Tag Conference 2018 call for papers results


Centuries of shepherds’ tags high in the Dolomite mountains. From the research of Marta Bazzanella and Giovanni Kezich.

The call for papers for the Tag Conference 2018 has received applications from twelve different countries in North and South America, Europe and Australia. A total of seventeen papers have been selected.

The lineup of confirmed guest speakers includes Carlo McCormick (US), Daniel Berio and Frederic Fol Leymarie (IT/UK), Kat Dogtok (DE), Tobias Barenthin (SE) and Graffitiarchiv (DE).

Research approaches include calligraphy, art history, archaeology, sociology, anthropology, aesthetics, philosophy, law, gender studies, semiotics, popular culture studies, computer science, archival studies and graffiti studies.

The complete lineup of speakers will be announced soon.


2018-11-07T21:39:31+02:002018 / 11 / 07|0 Comments

Unlock: Visual Dissidence – recap

Unlock Visual Dissidence 2018

Last month Unlock traveled to the town of Herne, in the Ruhr region of Germany, to work together with the Museum für Visuelle Dissidenz in an event that combined a small book fair and an exhibition. You can check the list of publishers, artists and events here.

Unlock: Visual Dissidence was a great experience. The book fair weekend was well attended, including the book launches and the lively roundtables. We are grateful to the local association Pottporus, who gave us access to a very special venue, the former waiting room of the Deutsche Bahn – right in the working train station of the city. An exceptionally fitting space for the kind of content we work with at Unlock and the Museum für Visuelle Dissidenz.

Unlock Visual Dissidence 2018

2018-10-15T23:10:08+02:002018 / 10 / 15|0 Comments

Save the dates! Unlock Book Fair 2018, Amsterdam 8-9 December

Unlock Book Fair 2018


After two instalments in Barcelona and Berlin, and several offshoot events in different European cities, the 2018 Unlock Book Fair travels to Amsterdam. Expect a new meeting of the international graffiti and street art publishing scene in two days of amazing publications, talks, launches, screenings and all-round fun! Entrance is free.

Year’s topic:
This time the fair’s topic is “punk and graffiti”. We are working on a new reader book to be launched at the fair featuring rare documentation about punk-related graffiti. The events program will also explore this theme, and our Unlock Showcase stall will display and sell a selection of obscure publications on the topic.

A great venue, again!
The fair and accompanying events will take place at the ample and light-filled Aula space of Broedplaats LELY, close to Lelylaan station (with railway, metro, tram and bus links).

And a new Tag Conference too!
On the two days immediately preceding the fair, and also in Amsterdam, the Unlock team welcomes you again to the Tag Conference, the academic (and non-academic) event about name writing in public space. Last year’s conference in Berlin delivered plenty of fascinating insights into this largely underexplored field. Book your tickets to Amsterdam for the Wednesday before Unlock, you don’t want to miss this! Entrance is free.

Broedplaats LELY aula

The venue for the 2018 Unlock Book Fair: the aula space at Broedplaats LELY, Amsterdam-West.

2018-09-22T10:20:57+02:002018 / 07 / 05|0 Comments

The Unlock Showcase visits Vienna

Unlock Showcase

Next stop for our graffiti and street art travelling pop-up bookstore is Calle Libre festival in Vienna. The store will be open at the three main events of the festival, on August 4, 9 and 11.

Come to check and buy a selection of publications sourced at the Unlock Book Fair, an event that brings together independent and underground publishers from all over Europe. These are publications printed in short runs and scarcely distributed, you won’t find them in regular bookstores!

In the past two years the Unlock Showcase pop-up bookstore has traveled to Lisbon, Moscow, London, Tartu and Besançon.

– Saturday 4th, 10-17h: Barocke Suiten, Museumsquartier.
– Thursday 9th, 16-22h: Westlicht, Westbahnstraße 40.
– Saturday 11th, 18-22h: Calle Libre closing party, Museumsquartier.

Facebook event here.

2018-07-20T15:15:47+02:002018 / 07 / 01|0 Comments

Unlock: Visual Dissidence, book fair & exhibition in Herne, Germany

Spruehlinien Emmett E.

New Unlock event coming up in the city of Herne, in Germany. We teamed up with Robert Kaltenhäuser’s curatorial project, the Museum für Visuelle Dissidenz, to produce this event that combines a small book fair and an exhibition.

We have invited a few, progressive European publishers, and each of them has selected one artist to take part in the exhibition. The book fair and exhibition opening will take place on the weekend of September 8 & 9 – including a series of launches and roundtables, and the exhibition will stay on view until the end of the month.

Full info here.

2018-10-15T11:23:44+02:002018 / 06 / 20|0 Comments

The Unlock Showcase visits Tartu

Unlock Showcase

Unlock Book Fair’s travelling bookstore, the Unlock Showcase, will open up in Tartu (Estonia) this week by invitation of the Stencibility festival. We are happy to take part in one of the most grassroots and authentic street art festivals out there!

You can find our stall by the main activities of the festival, with a selection of the underground and independent titles gathered yearly at the Unlock Book Fair. Check the festival’s full program here.

2018-06-11T18:51:14+02:002018 / 06 / 11|0 Comments

Unlock Book Fair at Bien Urbain

The Unlock Book Fair visits Bien Urbain! We will be in Besançon, France, next month for a three-day book fair at our favourite festival, put together with local publisher Gasoline. More than 20 local and international publishers, talks, book launches, parties!

Check the full program here. Honoured to be part of this edition of the festival, with Brad Downey as guest curator.

Stay tuned for the main Unlock Book Fair 2018, to take place in Amsterdam in December.

2018-07-05T15:26:32+02:002018 / 05 / 30|0 Comments

Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road, and Unwritten Codes

Tramp directories - Unlock Book Fair 2017

The reader book we produced for last year’s fair is now available for online purchase. This unprecedented publication brings to light the most unknown and fascinating graffiti culture to have existed: the hobo graffiti from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Tramp Directories… features excerpts from novels by North American authors Jack London and Leon Ray Livingston – better known by his moniker “A-No.1”, ubiquitous in the railroad landscape of that era. Both authors recounted in their writings their experiences as hobos and prolific taggers, and describe the fascinating and complex transient culture of the hobos.

The book features also illustrations taken from A-No.1’s books, newspaper clippings from the time describing his graffiti feats, and images taken from a mind-blowing and groundbreaking collection recently rescued from the trash: a series of gorgeous photographs and 16mm footage taken in 1969 capturing tags from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The marks were carved on a wooden trackside shack in California by Jack London himself, by A-No.1, and by several hobos mentioned in London’s texts.

Published by Urbanario in 2017.
Edited by Javier Abarca, Thomas Chambers and Susan Phillips.
10×15 cm, 184 pages, b/w.
Price: 15€ plus shipping costs.
Place your order at the publisher’s website (sent from central Spain) or at the online bookstore Hitzerot (sent from Berlin).

Tramp directories - Unlock Book Fair 2017

2018-07-05T15:32:40+02:002018 / 05 / 13|0 Comments