HECHO EN VENEZUELA
/ Sabine Bitter/Helmut Weber, 2003-2005
Hecho en (made in) Venezuela
Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber © 2003-2005
Over the last years our artistic work has been concerned with urban sites and processes which are tied into the social promises of architecture. Central to that concern has been our negotiation of a visual politics for urban images and architectural representations through photographic, video and new media projects.
From March to September 2003 we participated in CaracasCase, a project initiated by Caracas Urban Think Tank and the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany on Caracas and the culture of the informal city. In Caracas we noticed forms of urbanism that are a part of a greater social transformation and based on both formal and informal practices. This is a transformative urbanism that is both spatial and social.
In the series of works entitled Caracas, hecho en Venezuela, we emphasize the process of the `production of the city by looking at specific sites and modes of production.
Photographs, images, video, drawings and sketches deal with representations of Caracas´ particular urban landscapes that evoke something about the politics of their production.
We take particular entry points into the production of Caracas:
Contested modernist urban planning and architecture such as the historic housing project 23 de Enero; participatory democracy as represented by appropriation of the constitution by the Bolivarian Revolution; anti-neoliberal protest marches throughout the city; and the self- and community-organized building of homes on appropriated land.
We researched emergent forms of transformative urbanism centered around questions regarding the formal/informal practices of the explosive urban life of Caracas: How do migrants from the rural areas produce territorieson the edges of Caracass barrios?; What kind of relationships and tensions emerge between individual use and more collectively organised modes of production; and how do concepts of individualization, privatization function in the public or social related programs of Caracas?
By tracking historic residues of these antagonistic concepts, architecture itself becomes key again to our investigation: how architecture-related social programs have been altered over time through use; how the promise of shaping the city and social space, as well as society and national citizens, has been transformed due to shifts in urban, national and global economics and politics; how architectural structures in Caracas have been appropriated and "reterritorialized" by the politics of the people who live there.
Hecho en Venezuela was first presented in an exhibition/installation
in Caracas, parts of the works were shown in a soloshow in the Galeria
Noua in Bucarest and in a groupshow at the Künstlerhaus
We presented the project within lecture-series and symposia:
Lecture at the Center for Place Culture and Politics at CUNY, New York, part of the series Art and Globalization;
lecture Ansicht:Caracas at Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, part of the series Cities and Eyes, 2004;
Lecture and discussion "Caracas, die Stadt neu verteilen", part of Focus on Territories, a series of talks organized by Biennal on Media and Architecture, Graz.
We contributed a short essay Lets call it participatory Modernism to Kyong Park´s forthcoming publication.
for further project-related materials go to: www.lot.at/ccs
From June 22nd - September 11th Caracas, Hecho en Venezuela is shown as a solo exhibition at the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, Canada and is accompanied by a publication.