Super Citizens

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The city of Caracas is undergoing a process of redistribution. Wheter focused local interventions or marches of several hundredthousands produce situations, which make clear that in the last years in Venezuela substantial changes of social conditions are on the way.
These changes, popular called “the process”, mean a specific moment of a radical democratic transformation of social relations on national level. For the urban territories of Caracas it means the production of exemplary re-organizations of powerrelations and ownership structure.

The series of photographs of demonstrations and marches in Caracas 2003 have been digitally altered – the architecture and the cityscape have been sketched out, rendering it more as an ideal or even utopian architectural drawing which recalls the optimistic aesthetics of the collage works from late-60s architectural groups such as Archigram and Superstudio.

The language of this moment of utopian architecture with terms such as ‘total urbanization’ and ‘absolute egalitarianism’ is replaced in our sketches with the forceful language of protest and change:
Emerging political subjects, like quarter organizations (urban land committees), basis movements or the re-created left federation of (trade/workers)-unions UNT carry banners with ‘The Workers are the Builders of the Country,’ or ‘Bolivarian Workers at the Front of the Revolution.’

Alliances of basis movements and the government of Hugo Chavez have started to convert concepts of the anti- globalization movements into practice and to make alternatives to neoliberal capitalism concrete.
Representing a transformative urbanism that is both spatial and social, their collective mobilization moves through the urban space, producing the city.

By abstracting the architecture, it is reduced from the main texture and structure of the urban territory, and the citizens – with their signs and banners – are made more vital and central.

As already anticipated hypothetically by Henri Lefebvre in his writing “the urban revolution“1970, they realize a development, which, although intermittent, leads away from the topos of a city mostly determined by modernistic rationalities to forms of an urban society, which are manufactured and determined by everyday practices and politics of its inhabitants.

The drawings “Super Citizen” are part of the series of works “Caracas, Hecho en Venezuela”
© 2003 Sabine Bitter/Helmut Weber, which was realized as part of CaracasCase, a project of the Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany and Caracas Urban Think Tank.

The series was expanded by photographs of demonstrations and marches in Vancouver “Say No to Sharia Court in Canada”, Los Angeles “Students for the right to DREAM” and Vienna “we walk till they walk out”, to articulate emerging claims of citizens, who transform cities to a new geography of global politics.