Publication-installation created within the cluster Mobility for the exhibition "Latin American Cartographies - Art, Social Cohesion and Urban Landscapes" in Bozar, Centre for Fine Arts of Brussels. Through an imaginary city - "Curillín de Medetiba" - we discuss the social and environmental impacts implied in the dynamics of construction and management of construction works and urban mobility policies in Latin American cities.
The importance given to urban mobility in Latin American metropolises results less from the perspective of social inclusion and the right to the city than from a liberal ideal of setting in motion a safe, efficient system for the circulation of people, brands, services, and the capital necessary to build free-flowing territories in modern-day capitalism.
Mobility is therefore an attractive element in the construction of a city brand (the image sculpted by renowned architects and urban planners) and also allows regulating and controlling internal social flows.
Curitiba, the capital of Paraná state, in southern Brazil, became famous in the 1970s and 1980s for its proposals for urban mobility, particularly due to its use of designated bus lanes, and to its efficient, sophisticated tube-shaped bus stops—models that were later exported (overall with much less success) to other South American metropolises.
Given that context, art collectives Bijari, Basurama, Deúniti e EPA! investigate mobility as an arsenal of political, logistical, and imagetic structures for managing access to various spaces and resources, be they social, cultural, natural, or economic.
The publication creates an allegory based on real events as reported by blogs and mainstream media. Those narratives reproduce an imaginary power whose ruling moves from the ‘center’ to the ‘suburbs’, revealing the crude reality that emerges from the agreements, deceptions, and conflicts brought about by that power.
When it comes to analysing those complexities and contradictions, Latin American cities are faced with the following fundamental questions: How can we prevent mobility projects from being incorporated exclusively into the service economy and restore its potential to create spaces that are socially, environmentally and culturally responsible for and committed to the public and democratic dimensions of a city?
How can we configure new ways to access the city from a reverse perspective—in other words, from the periphery to the center? David Harvey describes what he calls ‘spaces of hope’: areas for dissent and invention; areas where activism and citizen participation generate voices, sometimes intimate and individual, sometimes in a multitude of cries for resistance against the private appropriation of what is public and common.
General Organization: Interarts / Curatorship: Antonio Guzman / Project commissioned by the European Commission for Culture / Collaboration: Recyclart Fabrik, Zinneke, Atelier GF Workstation.