We’ve all perhaps heard of music “jams,” in which musicians get together to improvise songs. This can happen at someone’s house or in the slightly more formal context of a bar or music venue with an audience to watch and/or participate. But what if there was a jam for… writing? What if writing could be improvisational? Collaborative? Social?
Pondering this, Marcos Xalabarder Aulet discovered that in Argentina, people had started doing live writing events called “Jam de Escritura.” In those jams, authors would simply come to the event and improvise some writing in front of an audience. He realized that it didn’t exist within his own country of Spain- or in any other country in the world for that matter-, but he wanted to make it so that everyone in the audience could participate. He consequently brought the idea to Club Cronopios, a cultural center in the Raval neighborhood- and thus, about two years ago, “Jam de Escritura” in Barcelona was born.
How it works is that a wireless keyboard is passed around the room, and people can write whatever they want– and whatever they type is subsequently projected onto a screen for all to see. Sometimes the nights begin with a certain topic or idea to get the audience going, but often times the text goes off into wild stories, deep poetry, hilarity, or who knows what. There is usually a microphone as well for people to read what has been written on the screen.
In its humble beginnings, the Jams consisted of just Marcos facilitating the keyboard and Alvaro Jiménez working the sound system to provide music.
The Jams Today
The jams have since grown in many ways. As Marcos tells me, “On the one hand, we have learned a lot- how to drive a session and how to make people write and enjoy. We have acquired a sense of rhythm and a certain pace. Secondly, I have been improving it technically: adding visuals, interactivity, and exploring artistic interactions. Today, my jam sessions are very visual and sensitive in a way. Additionally, musicians such as Miki Mallo, Andrea Turbo, Mirlo, Ian Sala, and Anna Fité have made it different every night. Dancers, painters, actors and singers have explored the boundaries of the jam. It’s a sort of dream that changes depending on who’s dreaming it.”
The result is a truly magical, artistic, familial event that is unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Additionally, since Club Cronopios has been closed for renovations, Marcos and his team at Escritura en Vivo– a collective of people dedicated to live writing that has been created out of the birth of the jams- have been hosting the jams at a variety of different venues. For example, they are frequently held at cultural centers such as Mutuo in Gotico, The Collective in Raval, and RAI Art in Born.
The goal of the Escritura en Vivo team- which now includes people like Esther Garrido, Ignasi Poveda, Mina Jass and Valeria Dimaté- is to have the Jams be known. As Marcos says, “I want it to happen many more times, in front of different audiences, in different places and cities. Through the website Escritura en Vivo, our mission is to spread the passion for writing by providing instructions that can be replicated and enriched anywhere else in the world.”
As he concludes, “My commitment with creative writing is total- I want to make people feel writing is so cool they can’t help but do it.”
For more information and to hear about the next event, follow the Jam de Escritura Facebook page.