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In the soil of Spain

Proposal for a networks of Human Rights participative artworks along the Madrid subway system

25 November 2020
Year :
Location :
All metro stations, Madrid

In 1993, le Consorcio Regional de Transportes imagined a new enlargement of the network. Funds were given to the Arpeggio, a firm owned by the regional government. Since they owned most of the territories engaged in, the future increase in real estate prices ensures their possible financing.

In 2005 Arpeggio launched a competition to invent artistic ideas for this vast expansion program. We proposed to write the Declaration of Human Rights throughout the city and in all metro stations, including a participatory action with local schools. Thus, in each metro station, an article of human rights would be written down and illustrated with pictures created by students from local schools.

In each station there will be 2 panels of about the same size but made in different materials :

  1. One panel will be a large lightbox ( 2 x 4m) with a black and white photograph of the neighborhood. In this photograph, the entire text of the Declaration of Human Rights will be printed in a strong color. ( red, blue, white, black or yellow). But one article will be omitted.
  2. The missing article will be enlarged on another panel (2x4m) and juxtaposed to the previous one and made out of tiles. Each tile will have one letter. Like in Concorde station in Paris, there will be no space between the words and no punctuation. On the side of this panel, there will be a space reserved for images created by the school’s pupils
  3. These images will represent the participation of the pupils of the neighborhood’s schools. The kids will draw images related to the articles.

Participation in the neighborhood:
Considering the Human Rights projects that we have started in 1989 and with our previous experience in other cities, in Madrid, we would like to organize an educational program with schools that would participate with us in the making of the project.

We have produced a pedagogical tool kit that we would give to all-volunteer schools.

Our method include:

  1. Meeting with the professors, organization, teaching and drawing of the article by the students.
  2. School exhibition of all drawings and best images winners chosen + price
  3. The series of images selected will be reproduced in the station.

This would create a real synergy between the neighborhood’s people with their subway station. They will partially produce the station.

The materials:
The material to make such a project can vary following its environment. From experience, we have worked with tiles because it is an ideal material for subway stations- for strength and maintenance reasons – and it is often required in the metro’s technical specifications. It is also flexible in terms of iconographical possibility and not costly. But other materials are possible like mosaic or silk screening on metal, wood, plastic panels, etc…


One school per subway station
Metro Madrid


ARPEGIC – Gestion de Infrastructura