Location: Shenzhen, China
Status: built: ephemeral installation.
Developer: Shenzhen Architectural Biennale
Colaborators : Paco L. Campano (Film)
Alberto Palma (Film)
Photo: Baum + F. Gómez
“Learning from Las Vegas” A psychotropic trip
The proposal motto is somehow hacking the title of the architectural classic book by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Ventury. “Las Vegas” is how local people call the hardest core of a ghetto known as “las 3000
viviendas” [in Eng. “the 3000 dwellings”], a residential area located on the South-East side
of the city of Seville (Spain) and built between the end of the 60´s and mid 70´s, which
progressively degraded to become one of the most problematic urban areas in Europe. A
micro-city ruled by its own ethnic codes, where for years there were no public services or
security. In the last 10 years an integral renovation plan, including buildings renewal, social and
educational programs, etc., tried to improve the “everydayness” of the neighbourhood, but it is still
a dangerous, complex urban place.
The borders that enclosure “las 3000 viviendas” are not only physical [railway tracks (to
the West), city ring motorway (to the East) or an industrial belt (to the North),…] but also
invisible social borders difficult to demolish. Those borders establish great wealth gradients
and both sides of the boundary are usually opposite worlds, with very weak connections.
Crossing those boundaries is a hard, almost impossible, escape.
The installation tries to reflex both the hard way out or into the ghetto and the claustrophobic
sensation that can be felt inside it. Rather than explaining the situation, the film builds a
feeling. The ghetto hooks you, traps you and puts one in an unexpected reality, where all
the previous social tools do not work any more. It is an urban knot difficult to untie. There is
an omnipresent, subtle fear, which is probably more tangible in the spectator’s mind than in the
neighbourhood itself, which even appears as a lively area if one watches it with no prejudice.
People from other neighbourhoods would only drive into this area to buy drugs. They would
probably use their cars. They would likely be high. They are sudden tourists of marginality in a psychotropic trip: welcome to “Las Vegas”