Tag Archives: colombia

factor X colombia…

There were HUGE queues around the block for several days near my work due to the fact the fact that they were auditioning for the odious X factor in Colombia.

Not my cup of tea, the X factor, but i could not help but notice this little girl as i passed by. She was wearing an INCREDIBLE dress made by her aunt for a school recycling project made from newspapers. She was through to the second round of auditions…

the perils of editing…

It’s a little stressful working in the cultural centre…we have a lot of desirable and expensive equipment for the workshop so we can never leave the place alone. Only 3 of us in the whole building have access to the one key for the room. A young male tries to enter with a flimsy excuse meanwhile he scans the room taking in all our equipment…all part of the day but on to the good stuff…

Editing with the girls, for some of them it’s their first time on a computer. Some are incredibly enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge, they pick things up really fast and come up with great editing solutions…will post some of their work as soon as i can…

Meanwhile the under 20’s world cup is going on here in Medellin, people crowd around any available screen…

Moravia was built out on and around an old rubbish dump. Big old trucks transport it in and out and a lot of recycling businesses still remain around the area.

The pollution in this town is the worst i have ever encountered, buses and trucks belch acrid black smoke into the air that catches in the back of your throat…


the workshop begins…

So people in Colombia have a different concept of time than i am used to…things get done…but slowly…or mañana…HOWEVER the workshop has began!!!!We have girls and women participating from ages 12 till 27.

(the girls are a bit of a tough crowd at first but we get them using the equipment almost immediately so they soon warm up)

So with the morning’s class we got the girls filming straight away using small flip cameras. We get them to ask simple questions such as “what did you have for breakfast?”…turns out a lot of them did not have breakfast.

With the afternoon’s class we repeated the exercise with new girls asking “what did you have for lunch?” turns out a lot of them did not have lunch…We are trying to get the centre where we are based to provide them with a little food at least.

(outside – more film exercises)

The girls asked each other their own questions in interviews like “who do you live with?” most of them live with big extended families but mostly no father and in fact few males other than brothers and many don’t know who their father is. One woman told us she shares a 5 room house with 17 other family members. Some have already filmed some very polished little clips. Next we are going to show them how to edit these. The cultural centre has film and video equipment that the girls will be able to use once we are gone. Hopefully at least a few of the most enthusiastic girls will be able to become trainers and pass on their skills…

the journey…

Am in Medelin!! Lord of the rings style journey to get here…24 hours in all:

Just to leave Biella was hard, they cancelled my train…Then a delightful overnight stay in Linate airport to catch the red eye to Paris. In Paris airport they exploded an unattended bag using a robot…they did not tell us they were doing so…they just stopped us walking around for a bit…needless to say we were somewhat traumatised by the LOUD, unexplained explosion…Then an 11 hour flight to Bogota…

(gratuitous shots of airline food)

…then you have to pick up all your baggage, put it through customs, re-check in amid chaos and a LOT of people…and then finally you can board your final flight to Medellin…


The flight between Bogota and Medellin is wonderful, you see the the mountainous fertile landscape of Colombia all the way…

(leaving behind the urban sprawl of bogota)

I land exhausted and disorientated…i ate may dinner at 9 am for god’s sake!!! I finally come out of arrivals and no one is there to meet me…i have a minor internal freak out as i realise that A. i don’t know where i am going, B. If i did l know i wouldn’t know how to actually get there, C. Neither my Italian nor British cells work in Colombia and D. i have no Colombian pesos to use a public phone…arghhhhh

A nearby guard takes pity on me (thank god i can speak Spanish) and gives me coins to use the phone and shows me how to use the phone (i am too stupid from sleep deprivation to work this out) RESULT! my friend is waiting for me at the airport, he is just at a different part. He turns up and the guard who helped me glares at him unimpressed..!We drive through hairpin bends for 40 minutes to reach the basin of Medellin, sunset and home for the next few weeks…

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.