Category Archives: map

colombia..!

So the UNIDEE residence is on holiday and for me at least, August this year is a bit different. I am now off to Colombia for 4 weeks to work on another project.

Am going to the area of Moravia in Medellín (pop 3.3 million) where along with another artist, Maria Rosa Jijon, we are going to run video workshops for teenage girls. We are working with 20 girls split into 2 groups of 10 with 2 workshops a day Monday to Saturday (am currently desperately trying to learn final cut pro editing vocab in spanish!).

We are here by invitation from El Puente. El puente_lab “is a platform for artistic and cultural production, active in Medellín – Colombia, which aims to develop cultural projects on a local level, building bridges of communication with artists and experts through a strategy of international cooperation.”

Images taken from the El Puente website of their project Nodos de Desarrollo Cultural (Cultural Development Nodes) whose aim is to tackle the lack of cultural spaces in the marginalized densely populated neighbourhood of Moravia, and in addition, to work under the condition of a low budget, using recycled materials and strict conditions of use of public space.

It’s going to be an intense experience. I can’t wait! As ever watch the blog for progress reports!

MORE INFO ABOUT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MORAVIA

(Taken from the elpuentelab.org website)

Moravia is a quarter of Medellín, in Colombia, that grew from the illegal settlement of communities that arrived in the city in the ‘sixties. The municipal dump, established in the same area in 1977, gave the inhabitants a chance for survival, based on recuperating any recyclable materials, which effectively turned Moravia into an emarginated quarter with its economy based on and sustained by trash. Due to social conflict in the early ‘eighties, and ‘thanks’ to the presence of the dump, Moravia reached its highest level of population: 17 thousand people in 1983. In 2004 Moravia and its catchment area reached 42 thousand inhabitants in just 44 hectares, becoming the zone with the highest population per square metre in the entire city of Medellín. This extreme population density and the indiscriminate appropriation of the land, has caused a decline in the quality of life and a lack of public space. In the same year, the Alcaldia de Medellín (municipality of Medellín) under the guidance of mayor Sergio Fajardo, began the Macroproyecto de Moravia, an integrated strategic plan to promote development through actions aimed toward recovering the urban area and improving the socio-cultural, socio-economic and environmental conditions, working on both physical and social components, such as public space, public hygiene, public housing and education.
Only recently the resurgence of Medellin, founded on culture and education, has given results even in the Moravia district, the first and perhaps most important of which was the simple inclusion of the quarter in the urban fabric. A significant sign of the quarter’s rebirth is the Centro de Desarrollo Cultural de Moravia (CDCM), a centre whose aim is to promote culture, education and the arts, and which was strongly desired by the community; a project that is truly one of a kind, and that offers a highly valid model for the entire continent.

urban exporation app…

Wanted to blog about Eduardo Cachucho. He is one of the residents here at UNIDEE, he is from South Africa and is an architect/graphic designer/artist.

Anyway, Eduardo is a bit of a techy genius and after a week or two he had already come up with a nifty little app that allows you to negotiate a town or city through a series of instructions whose interpretation is left up to you. He has refined that idea and come up with an app specifically for Biella (he is working on other cities). It is called Derivé – an urban exploration app. See some of the instruction cards here:

Dérive is a mobile application that aids a user in exploring their surroundings through the use of randomly drawn ‘task-cards’. These cards are refreshed every 3min creating a sense of urgency in the exploration for new objects, things, colours, people etc to follow, find, experience.
Influenced by the Drift Deck created by the Near Future Laboratory in 2008, Dérive allows a user to install the application to their phone and take the ‘cards’ with them wherever they are“. Eduardo Cachucho (Click here for relevant post on his site)

(photo Eduardo Cachucho)

CLICK HERE TO Try the Dérive App (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Compatible, viewable on PC/MAC)

all roads lead to the camino de santiago…

All roads lead to Santiago, at least metaphorically and at least around these parts. Last year in Santiago de Compostela was some kind of super holy year (there is a “normal” holy year every 4th year, but even HOLIER years occur at longer intervals). I never go near the place when it’s holy year, it’s a crazy pilgrim nightmare! however, this was a quiet period so i got to have a good root around the cathedral with no queues or crowds…


There are many rituals to be performed in the cathedral of Santiago as obviously it’s the culmination of the whole camino (road) to Santiago. Among the many things the weary but presumably ecstatic pilgrim must do is to queue up, kneel at the centre piece to the amazing (but unfortunately under scaffolding – so i can’t really show you it) “puerta de la gloria” as seen above, they place their hands in the holes and rest their heads on the stone head. High above them holding the scroll stands the man himself, Santiago (St James).

Right inside the altar, the focal pint of the cathedral. Last year folks queued up for 4 hours just to get inside here. I had the place to myself. Not supposed to photograph this, but am on my own and not using a flash so…


Those architects knew what they were doing – a shaft of sunlight suddenly illuminates a statue of Mary…


Outside the cathedral, a small but hardy contingent of the 15 May movement have been camping in the plaza all week…

“there is not enough bread for so much salami”


Meanwhile…same city, same day, different kind of angels…


italian santa’s in india…

ahh technical problems…first my beloved G1 camera breaks down and then my mac (my life!) however i digress….and life goes on. Surreal is the only way i can describe today, santa arrives from italy (2 days early!), a game man willing to wear the suit and beard for at least 4 hours in 30 very humid degrees. He parades around the orphanage with a sleigh/cart pulled by decorated oxen.

Then he gets his photo taken with all 1000 of the orphanage kids…like i said he is game. He is assisted by elves and the wonderful tumbling boys from this previous post.

I did not ask them to do this, honest!

The kids almost explode with excitement…Popular Christmas songs about snow and reindeer boom from the tannoy system all day…

Then even more surreal…we all follow Santa around the neighbouring village, with our own sound system and Christmas songs ofcourse!

…impossible to take good photos…my camera is very confused with the humidity and the darkness, and i keep nearly getting run over by ox and cart…

and if that were not enough, later we go back around the villages complete with Mary and Joseph (from the nativity play) and sing western and telugu chrismas songs…

happy surreal christmas!!!

mitigating circumstances…

(this morning, sunrise in Galicia – no photoshop, it really looked like that…must get up early more often)

So now I find myself in Galicia for a wee bit…and as the photograph below implies am not exactly in a metropolis! Expect some foodie posts!

In the mean time let me tell you of my modest cyber circumstances. If I walk a couple of kms or so I get to a bar in Curtis (NOT as in “Mayfield” but pronounced “coor-teese”) In this smoky bar there are a couple of coin operated PCs…of modest abilities that eat money a lot for a living.

It is here amongst the brimming ashtrays and table football (yes they still smoke EVERYWHERE here!!!) and highly erratic opening hours that I attempt the occasional post so please…bear with me…

Yes…it is written…“CURTIS, closer to heaven”!!! (in gallego – local language used by all – and castellano – official spanish -) I can only guess we are referring to altitude here (600m above sea level)…and FYI I have spent a LOT of time here over the years so am allowed to throw a few digs at Curtis!!

Oh…and the photos do not exaggerate, Curtis ain’t pretty…and Galicia is in general very pretty… and i often think that Aki Kaurismäki could set a film here (though maybe even for him…it’s a little too quiet!!)