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The oasis: a story of displacement and resistance

This text describes the result of a participatory project I carried out in July 2015, in Moravia, a neighborhood located in Medellin, Colombia. The contemporary art center Fundacion Casa 3 Patios'and the Colombian Ministry of Culture aided the initiative; the former is an organization that researches pedagogy with social impact, alternative art, participatory town planning, architecture and curatorship. This project is part of a long-term practice-led research that investigates how artistic, design and humanistic appropriations of public space can inspire collective agency and positive transformations in neglected scenarios. In these situations the ephemeral interventions represent a pretext for activating a given social dynamic, rather than being the main goal of the research.

Keywords: Colombia, Social Cartographies, Mapping, Civic Agency, Participatory Art.

The oasis: a story of displacement and resistance

Ivan Chaparro

Creative Director at Resonar Lab,  Associate Professor, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University

 

Introduction

Johan has been living in the same place for 23 years, his whole life as he points out. Moravia, a neighborhood that grew on top of an open dump during the 80’s, is two kilometers away from the center of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city. Johan remembers being sent home early from school as a child due to violent - territorial disputes, mostly- between several armed groups in the area. He also remembers also how La Calle Central/Central Street, today a busy avenue full of commerce, was a place that resembled a little village with unpaved roads and lined by narrow alleys. Nowadays Moravia is one of the most populated settlements in the country (Arango, 2006), and is comparable, density-wise, with the Brazilian favelas and some Chinese urban slums (Baracaldo, 2014). According to the last census, in 2004, the neighborhood had 42,000 inhabitants in its area of 42 hectares. Put another way, that is a density of 1000 inhabitants per hectare and an average of 5 families per house. The whole locality has been intervened several times on an official basis, giving it its current distinctive look of narrow streets and pathways that result in a labyrinth-like citadel, packed with houses of slim vertical facades of 2-4 floors, a proportion that gives them the impression of being taller.

Back in the 50’s this whole region was still a large and beautiful meadow crossed by the Medellin River; a popular place where Paisas (the name given to originals from Antioquia, the department where Medellin is located) used to have their Sunday strolls and picnics.

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Ultimo aggiornamento: 06/09/2017 07:42

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