Crossing divides

Cross the bridge: The Rímac district is separated from the historic centre of Lima by the Rímac river.
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At divides in the city of Lima, CHANGING PLACES / ESPACIOS REVELADOS is creating new spaces for aesthetic experience that call attention to what we share and what divides us. Artists participating in the project will cast new light on unused spaces in the city of 10 million people, raising questions about the role of art in creating public areas for common use, especially during times of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A fragmented city

It seems paradoxical: even as communities are becoming more distinct and lifestyles more diverse, a city is still often seen as a uniform entity. But what are the commonalities that shape a city? If art is no longer seen as an isolated experience and is instead considered as a communicative and spatial process for creating utility from conflict, what opportunities arise for a city’s development and potential? The CHANGING PLACES project in the Peruvian capital explores answers to these questions.

Lima has the appearance of a city made from disjointed parts developing independently, with local districts having distinct and separate social and communicative growth. Each of the city’s districts is seeking its own future, and the resulting societal divide has left its mark on the city.

Creating common spaces through art

The divide is most apparent in the city’s historic center on the banks of the Rímac River. The districts of Cercado de Lima and Barrios Altos are on the south side of the river, with the Rimac district to the north. The city’s oldest districts are home to colonial houses protected as UNESCO world heritage sites, but also include informal settlements on the mountain slopes – evidence of the intense migration that Lima has experienced in the last 30 years.

More than 20 artists will explore visible and invisible urban spaces in addition to structures that have fallen out of use, been overlooked, or withdrawn from view. Through activities and works of art, the artists seek to create public spaces and invite residents to cross the bridge – symbolically and physically. How can ties be forged between disparate city centers, social classes, cultures, and with nature? The project also addresses the right to culture and the importance of cultural dynamics for preserving public life and community.

Digital dialog series kicks off the project

The project launched with a monthly digital dialog series that began in June and ended in December 2020. Experts from a variety of disciplines explored subjects including the role of art and culture in the context of crisis; the role of markets as urban spaces of production, consumption, and interaction; urban inequality; and access to common goods. In addition, the experts considered urban sustainability, the relation between urbanity and nature, and vulnerable populations and inclusion in the city.

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The compilation video provides an insight into the first series of dialogs.

The digital dialogs from June to December 2020 reached 30,000 views via Facebook. Starting in March 2021, the dialog series will enter its second round. All dates will be announced on the Espacios Revelados Lima website.

In cooperation with:

Goethe-Insitut Peru and other partners.

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