2005. Compañía de Caracas. ESPACIO MÓVIL (published text)

… When I think about something, I´m really thinking of something else. When I look at a landscape, I am not actually thinking about it. I am comparing it to other landscapes I have seen before.”
Jean-Luc Godard

Referring to Godard´s quote that opens this project, its aim is to create a link between the city involved, Madrid, and the South American city of Caracas through a series of colour photos placed at bus stops and on buses covering the routes on the Madrid Abierto axis.

Espacio móvil plays with the meanings of “circulation” and “mobility” in an urban sense, i.e. transport, and a media orientated meaning, i.e. the circulation of information, to create a visual paradox, a disguise, and to think about “the city” through the movement and presence of both.

A modern South American city par excellence, Caracas was a promise for the “future” based on large urban projects and building in the 50´s which reflected times of economic boom. Fifty years later, today, Caracas is a city which is permanently on the move, suffering daily losses, both in its spatial memory and in its urban and technical concepts which sustain its habitability.

The opening of Madrid enables a visual spatial exploration through photographs of the centre of Caracas (current images of its streets, buildings and transport systems) and at the same time to take a more in-depth look at the public character and the critical possibilities of its urban objects (in this case, bus stops and buses), away from the official institutions and the conventional mediums of art. Likewise, it uses the pictorial intervention on buses by the Venezuelan artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez, during the Visual Arts Biennial in Porto Alegre in 1997 as a conceptual precedent.

La Compañía de Caracas was born from the interest in all that is urban and the need to record old and new phenomena which define “the city”, and from a special interest in our city of origin which is suffering an essential contradiction and is defined between archaisms and the new, between that which is traditional and that which is technological, between a state of permanent mutation and unchanging characteristics.


When we decided to intervene in Madrid at bus stops and buses our idea was to do so as a game that does not mean to compare both cities but allow one city to travel inside the other, make a symbolic reconquest of the space and subtly raise awareness on the idea of difference. Our intention was to disorient, not orient, to establish the bases of chaos: small bases as small as the intervention in Madrid. Austere, as the idea itself, illegitimate, roguish, an occupation that is dismantled in twenty days. A strategy that is not recognisable in publicity but on its reverse side; that does not mean to be just visual but to capture an image of otherness by transdressing mobile and fixed units of Madrid with photographs of Caracas.

In Venezuela, interest in the urban reality operates, on the one hand, as a way of seizing tradition, memory, before it disappears, transforms itself or dilutes in an urban organism that does not cease to recycle and change the biography of things. On the other hand, it is a symptom in search of a diagnosis that will enable us to assimilate a constantly changing urban territory.

In the interval between the first images we took for the project Espacio móvil, in April 2004, and the last, in December 2004, Caracas experienced big changes, not just in the visibility and mobility of part of the social fabric, such as the proliferation of buhoneros (street sellers) and soldiers, but also in its urban infrastructure, which is evident in the disappearance of public sculptures (for ideological, economic and maintenance reasons), the increase in popular-political mural paintings and the deterioration of architectural icons like the Centro Simón Bolívar or the towers of Parque Central.

In Caracas, the space mobilises itself: the private space to the public territory, the public space closes its doors to the stroller under the roofed corridors. Change and movement become a tradition: a tradition which forms the backdrop to a modernity that drifts between precociousness and premature ageing.