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Art & Social Space
Caracas Case Project: Informal Urban Culture
by Karina Sainz Borgo

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Keisuke Fukuma y Shui Endo

Keisuke Fukuma y Shui Endo

Keisuke Fukuma y Shui Endo

Marco Poletto, Guy Lafayette y Claudia Pasquero

Armando Silva Téllez y Tulio Hernández

Caracas, an object for study and exhibition
Although not the first of its type, the Caracas Case project has been incorporated into a debate on approximations to factual urban settings. Previous efforts included Utópolis, an exhibition at the National Art Gallery in 2001, which dealt with an artistic reflection on the different city records, under the curatorial leadership of the current director of the Sala Mendoza, Ruth Auerbach, and the architect and researcher William Niño. In 2002, the Caracas Contingencia project was presented at the Sala Mendoza, and consisted of an exhibition-workshop-laboratory at which, in addition to presenting different projects, work took place on the role of architecture in unused spaces, in conjunction with debates proposing an analysis of urban aesthetics and changes in the different approaches to the problems of the metropolis. For Matí­as Pintó, a CCSTT coordinator, in conjunction with Eduardo Kairuz, of Caracas Case, the project and specifically the exhibition itself makes no attempt at final solutions, but rather attempts to understand and generate discussions on unsanctioned "informality" as a cultural force. Both the interdisciplinary action and involvement of students from different contexts, gives rise, according to Pintó, to the generation of questions and thoughts.

The showcase is presented in three parts (Urban Signals, Urban Behavior and Urban Documentaries), grouping together the projects of the scholarship students, together with three works by guest participants who live and work in Caracas: Ignacia Arcaya, mathematician, and Diego Rojas, biologist, with Caracas: Ciudad Fractal, which studies chaos through mathematical models; and artist Alexander Gerdel with the DVD video Cine Atlántida and the photographer Pablo Souto with Caracas Es, an aerial view of the city.

The work of the students handle different proposals. The Brazilian photographer André Cypirano participates with Caracas Barrios, 35 photographs of the city districts, recording landscapes and portraits which document the different lifestyles and customs. Keisuke Fukuma and Shui Endo, Japanese architects, made Mapa Fenomenológico de Caracas, a web page Phenomenon Mapping in Caracas, which brings together fragments of Caracas, based on an individual perception of the urban setting, while Marco Poletto, environmental engineer, and the architect Guy Lafayette prepared Regí­menes de Lentitud, Paisajes Operacionales, a study of the patterns of growth of ecological structures, and their application to urban development.

Caracas Imaginada was conceived under the coordination of Armando Silva (semiologist/philosopher) and Tulio Hernández (sociologist), and includes photographs, videos, files, documents of text and images. Nicolás Bancilhon and Marí­a Alejandra Padrón prepared Caracas Invisibles (s) , an interactive video which studies Caracas not as a single city, but as numerous cities searching for uniting elements. The cityí­s division is founded on political (chavista — antichavista), geographical (East-West) or economic (shopping centers — underground economy) aspects. Also outstanding are the works Casa que crece, ciudad que crece by Marjetica Potrc and Liyat Esakov, which proposes a study of ecological toilets to resolve the water problem, and Prácticas Urbanas, Especializaciones tácticas by Sabine Muller and Andreas Quednau where, by means of inter-related maps, expansion and urban relations tactics are studied, including details such as a penthouse added to a building or the settlement of street vendors.

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