Witness to the ruins/Testigo de las ruinas Favorite 



Dec 15 2002


Bogota Colombia

The starting point of this artistic project, carried out by MAPA within its Laboratory of Artists in Colombia, is the disappearance of one of the oldest "barrios" downtown Bogotá: El Cartucho.

This place, where thousands of people survived for decades among warehouses and bottle and paper recycling workers, stalls, variety stores, little hotels, pawnshops but also delinquency gangs, drug and gun dealers, has been demolished (2000-2003) to become a modern park of the city (March 2005).

During the last phase of the demolition of this historical area MAPA has developed a multi-disciplinary artistic process within a group of long-time inhabitants of El Cartucho based on poetic myths and stories (The liberation of Prometheus, The works of Herakles) that could generate the production of self narratives and images that build subjectivity.

Each story went delving into the fragmentary threads of local legends from El Cartucho (the believable), the memories of experiences (the memorable) and dreams and personal fictions (the primitive). Each person re-constructed his or her own fragment of the "barrio", based on legend, memory and dream experiences that reconfigured the memory and life of this place, lived out in each story as the presence of absence, like a sign of what no longer is.

El Cartucho gave up its land to build a park. It left behind the houses, neighbours, experiences and memories of a "barrio" that had seen moving through its streets various simultaneous events that, in an imperceptible trajectory, had sketched the country's history.

In 2003 and 2004 MAPA presented, in the ruins of El Cartucho, two performances: Prometheus Ist act and Prometheus 2nd act; and two video-sound-installations: Run-throughs (Mapa Teatro, 2003) and The cleaning of the Augias Stalls (part 1) (Museum of Modern Art - Bogotá, 2004).

Between 2004 and march 2005 MAPA keeps working on its artistic project with the builders of the park until its end in March 2005.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the new park (Parque Tercer Milenio) MAPA will present the results of this multidisciplinary project to the international community through an installation, in the plastic sense, -architecture, image and sound in movement- and of a video-performance, in the theater sense, divided in three parts:

The liberation of Prometheus
part I
(Before and during neighbor demolition)

The cleaning of Augias Stalls
part II
(During the park’s construction)

part III
(After de park’s construction)

This video-installation has a specific space, where spectators will be part of the installation and would see and listen stories and narrations from old inhabitants (Prometheus); from workers doing construction work in the park (Heracles); and finally stories from the common people who walk every day through this non-place of the city (Leteo).

MAPA has developed a special stage for The cleaning of the Augias Stalls that produce a dramatic spatial game where objects are displaced and where space has been continually constructed and deconstructed by sound, image and architectural interaction.

The video-performance consists of two 3/4-hour autonomous parts. It can be played several times each day with an interval between parts. There are no actors in a traditional sense, although there are invisible performance artists that control the space.

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