Slought Foundation is pleased to announce "On the Political Equator," a video installation on view from July 7-October 11, 2011.
The project responds to the widening gap between wealth and poverty, the polarizing politics of fear and paranoia, and the radically conservative social agenda that has fundamentally impacted urban planning policy and legislation in the United States. It has led to increased privatization, the erosion of public culture, and the polarization of the individual and the collective. Against this backdrop, Latin America has begun to chart a very different course, an alternative future: Latin American governments, from Brazil to Colombia, have produced a paradigm shift in matters of urban development, seeking – like no other place in the world – to reconnect public policy, social justice, and civic imagination.
What can we as cultural practitioners and concerned citizens learn from these developments? What methodologies and insights do these experiments in urban development and participatory politics offer? With these questions in mind, Slought Foundation convened three leading thinkers concerned with these issues -- architect Teddy Cruz, ecologist Oscar Romo and mathematician and former mayor of Medellin Sergio Fejardo -- at Don Felix Café along the San Ysidro/Tijuana border on June 3, 2011.
The conversation was organized parallel to "Political Equator 3," a Border-Drain-Crossing event that took place along the US-Mexico border, at a time of renewed investment in surveillance infrastructure and further marginalization of the communities adjacent to the border fence. The need to re-imagine borders is perhaps the foremost challenge for the future of the San Diego-Tijuana region, as well as for other geographies of borders, boundaries, and conflicts across the globe.
During "Political Equator 3," Slought Foundation also interviewed over 30 attendees -- including architects, residents, border policemen, and others -- and invited them to reflect on what the idea of a political equator means to them. The short positions featured here raise critical socio-political questions and offer insight into how a cultural practitioner or organization can engage the public in a larger dialogue. Here at Slought Foundation, they inform projects such as Mixplace, a collaborative exhibition and research initiative joining the People’s Emergency Center, Slought Foundation, and Estudio Teddy Cruz. In the coming months, Mixplace will transform this gallery space at Slought Foundation into a site of collaborative knowledge production as well as a site of civic engagement concerning the Mantua and Belmont neighborhoods of West Philadelphia.
The conversations featured in the installation are also forthcoming from Slought Foundation as a DVD publication. Please contact us if you are interested in extending the conversation by installing it in your home, community, or place of work.
Slought Foundation is pleased to present video reflections by participating designers, activists, and members of the public:
Developing Urban Pedagogies
Teddy Cruz and Aaron Levy, Curators
Conversation filmed and edited by Aaron Levy and Andrea Ngan
Portraits filmed by Deborah Forster, Andrea Ngan, Quilian Riano, Pelin Tan, and Aaron Levy
Portraits edited by Megan Velong