The artist Javier Alba is the creator of the MacarenayPaco project, the flamenco traffic lights that have been installed in some areas of the Seville capital during the April fair since 2022. Now, Granada has put them on its streets without his authorization, so his The author asks the City Council for immediate withdrawal and financial compensation for damages.
Alba tells in an interview with La Vanguardia that on May 8 she sent a burofax to the Granada city council with a request for the Flemish traffic lights to be uninstalled and demanding damages, but she still does not know anything about it. "I will denounce the City Council for plagiarism, discredit, non-material damage, unfair competition and enrichment of the Administration", he details and assures that other causes can be added to these, such as not responding to a citizen's request if he does not receive a response within the period established by the law.
"The worst thing is that the City Council took photographs with the mayor and the corresponding councilors to promote the festivities in Granada and this has been sent in a press release through an agency, so there is a very large profit," he explains. "They have used us as a political campaign tool," says the author, who details that there are 12 of his traffic lights at 6 intersections.
From the Granada City Council they told Cadena Ser that the silhouettes are not the same and they blamed the company that made the traffic lights, according to Alba, although he personally has not received any explanations.
This man from Madrid who lives in Seville also criticizes the fact that the Seville City Council has not denounced the case and remains unmoved by the plagiarism of a work that he altruistically donated to the city. "The fact that we have given it to Seville for free does not mean that everyone can appropriate it," he adds, "because there is a lot of work behind it and the authors must be defended."
"I have been working on this project for 8 years and everything has come out of my pocket," laments Alba, who also recalls that it is an idea that was born with the aim of improving road safety and that has evolved in different aspects such as cooperation with local artisans. "This is an artistic work with content and social projects of urban art with many axes and it has been charged by a city council," the author complains.
He says that he discovered that his traffic lights were in another city without permission, searching the internet for the repercussions of his creation after the fair and suddenly lots of entries began to appear about Granada opening flamenco traffic lights, but "they do not mention the work, nor do they mention the author, the text is the same one that has been covering the flamenco traffic light in Seville and the image is the same”.
Now it remains to follow the paths with the steps that this author who claims his intellectual property, which is documented and registered, has been taking. If the Granada City Council does not respond to his request, it will denounce the consistory. "It will be me, who is the author, who decides how, how much and when it can be done, but not a council that merely takes and does it" without asking, he insists.
"If on June 8 the deadline for the City Council to respond passes", it does not receive any notification, Alba will put "a claim for not responding to a citizen and a commission is opened there." He explains that, although he could already formalize a complaint, he wants to wait for the answers. If they do not, they will accumulate more causes for the complaint.
In 2015, a relative of the author was hit by a car at the fair, and a couple of years later, "to overcome the trauma" of that event, "what I did was create this traffic light," he says. It is an idea that is already being developed in other cities such as Berlin or Australia with the Mary Poppins traffic lights. “When you create a cult, funny sign, people have more respect for it” which would improve road safety, argues Javier Alba.
The silhouettes of Paco and Macarena are taken from photos that he himself took, which are part of the evidence, together with the record of the work, which he can provide in the case of denouncing the Granada City Council. "Macarena is a real person from a photo I took at the fair" and "Paco is a photo of my goddaughter's boyfriend playing the guitar." From there the traffic lights were born, says Alba.
With the images designed, in 2019 he bought a traffic light in Taiwan to be able to adapt it to his idea, so that the silhouettes would look good and meet all the necessary requirements and shortly after, he offered it to the Seville City Council, which accepted the idea and has put it on in operation since 2022 in different parts of the city during the celebration of the April fair.
Little by little, he was creating an identity for these characters with dissemination work on networks, in the media and on the street, as well as designing other derived images that are also registered.