About This Space Emission on the facade of the Colpatria Tower 1'30 "
The 13th of April 2018, through Babel Media Art, the question “¿Este Espacio Es Suyo o Mío?” (Is This Your Space or Mine?) was broadcasted in loop over the LED façade of Torre Colpatria, an iconic building in the landscape of Bogotá, once the tallest one and the headquarter of the Colpatria Bank. Even though the content was approved by the commission and was supposed to last for the whole weekend, in the middle of the opening the luminic façade turned white and after an hour it turned off. The Colpatria Building had turned off before the usual time and broke the agreement we had made. As a member of Babel Media Art, being artist and manager at the same time, and having other agreements with other artists we needed to broadcast, I couldn’t publicly complain about this censorship. Surprised and suppressed, I didn’t understand why the emission was torn down, as we had exhibited far more political messages through A Logo for America of Alfredo Jaar or Totem of Ana María Montenegro. I didn’t have time to do a proper documentation but I did have time to prepare a meeting with one of the chiefs of the building. It was then when I found the complex network of people, communities and institutions related to the content that is emitted through the tower. From the Colpatria Bank to the catholic community, the neighbors and the District,to name some, these filters allowed little to no freedom in the content forecasted. Understanding these complexities didn’t make me accept the censorship, but at least I got the answer I was looking for: the space is theirs and was left with others: why is this question a threat? and how to manage this censorship being the artist and the mediator at the same time?
Is this space yours or mine? is a direct question between two parties regarding the ownership of the space where the message is being broadcasted, which is in this case is Torre Colpatria, a private platform that has public visibility. In this way, the strategy is to personalize an abstract relationship of power between sender and receiver, calling for an active observation and a takeover in the definition of space in the city.
In the first instance, the question, direct and colloquial, is addressed to the inhabitants and / or passerby walkers of the city. In this way, the intervention is an investigative and provocative gesture to establish possible dialogues with any spectator who feel identified with the ‘yours’ of the question. Then, the identified subject may want to know to which person or institution corresponds the 'mine' that generates the question. At first, you can interpret that "mine" comes from the Tower itself, as if it was expressing itself. Here there might be a reflection on the construction of hierarchies in relation to who or what could be behind the Tower's expression. In a second moment, if the viewer stops and reads the message more than once, she/he may realize that there is also the possibility of identifying herself/himself as the interlocutor of the question, questioning the tower, the city or other third parties ... In a potential third moment, the viewer will want to emancipate from the imposition of the only two answers to this binary and mutually exclusive question, and possibly seek to invent something new ...
... beyond the process of speculation regarding who can ask the question or what the answer is, the intervention seeks to focus on the plurality and diversity of interpretations and relationships that exist between subject, space, institution, state and system.
Organized by Babel Media Art.
Thanks to Juan Pablo García Sossa for his help in the technical development of the project.