Director: Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber
Since 1993, Vienna and Vancouver based artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber have worked on projects addressing cities, architecture, and the politics of representation and of space.
2010 — The University Paradox
2008 — “We Declare”: Spaces of Housing
2006 — Boulevards, Banlieues and other Samples of Decorated Histories
2003 — Caracas, Hecho en Venezuela
2000 — Live Like This!
Courtesy of Directors
At the time of Pérez Jiménez’s dictatorship there was built 23 de Enero, an enormously large living complex designed by the architect Carlos Raul Villanueva. It had about 9000 apartments uniting several residential blocks into one small city .the main goal of its construction was to change historically developed organization system of poor districts that painted a bright picture of huge social inequality and low social status of Caracas citizens. In spite of Venezuela capital landscape modification, 23 de Enero did not manage to fulfill its initial assignment just like many other similar projects, and became another illustration of revolutionary ambitions of modernist times.
After the riot against the dictator in 1958 several thousands of people occupied 4000 unfinished apartments in the complex that turned it into a symbol of social activism and self-administration initiatives. 23 de Enero became home for different organizations and social and political movements that practiced partnership and social relations building within the community.
Living Megastructures movie of Sabina Bitter and Helmut Weber is a series of marvelous interviews with different people, from social activists to district residents, where its authors tried to define the project significance and show its role in participation praxis. Besides, the situation created more than half a century ago turned out to be very much up-to-date. It refers to so called “Democracy of Partnership” doctrine of Hugo Chaves, president of Venezuela elected in 1999 who started reformation of socialist kind. The authors are interested in a range of topics concerning problematic of social relations, appropriation of property, self-organization and other phenomena that present an alternative for neoliberal logics of social structure.