Présentation détaillée du projet
A story on privatisation and displacement in Colombia told trough three geographical lines.
RePlaced is a multidisciplinary project studying the industrial and economic state of affairs in Colombia by following three specific lines trough the country: a river, a railway and a highway, and representing the individual stories and experiences of inhabitants along those lines. Within this project we focus mostly on the themes of 'privatisation' as a cause for 'displacement'.
Who are we?
This project is being developed by Jochem Casier (Belgium) and William Gutierrez (Colombia).
We are duo of artists with backgrounds in fine arts, photography and transmedia. After studying at Luca School of fine arts in Brussels, we've been travelling and working together for several years interchanging and studying each others countries and heritage. Our common goal is to create a better dialogue between our origins and what they stand for. During the project Jochem takes on the camerawork, doing both film and photography. William, as a linguist and writer applies himself to conducting the interviews and capturing all experiences and stories into writing.
With this particular project we try to bring together the borders between the artistic and journalistic in an effort to bring attention to the issues being covered.
What is the focus and purpose of the project?
The idea is to bring a better understanding to the different steps and systematics of privatisation, as it exists in many countries around the world. What type of companies work with the government, how industry is managed by both internal and external politics and what the consequences are for people living on the sidelines of industrial development or the areas affected by it. To bring this story, we are trying to break the archetypical subject focus of other documentaries by telling the story as a journey. We don't want to make a typical portrayal of suffering or struggle, but rather tell the stories from the perspective of the people. To show their history and experiences, their emotional relation to what is happening and their inventiveness, trying to keep their lives in balance.
What is being produced?
The project consists out of several recorded media being:
- A documentary film, explaining the history and process of privatisation and displacement within these regions from the standpoint of several individuals.
- A series of pictures representing the visited locations and their conditions.
- An archive of interviews with inhabitants reflecting on the countries history and development.
- A book wherein all three lines, its history and related study subjects are researched in depth, in
written text, maps, references and pictures.
Colombia is known to be one of the countries with the highest number of internally displaced people. As wars, guerilla movements and violence are usually the most commonly known aspects of its history, we want to show another side of the coin. Despite the seriousness of our topics, we also strongly want to portray the often unknown beauty and richness of this country as to empower the strength of its cultural and natural heritage, to show there is space to grow and enhance the situations at hand.
Which areas are being covered?
This river, the biggest in the country, which connects North to South and is often considered the backbone of its countries cultural heritage, is slowly drying out because of both the El Niño effect and the ongoing construction of 15 hydroelectric dams along its streams, in a pact with the Chinese government.
The consequences for locals living in the villages along the river are basically being ignored by the government, causing widespread draught, hunger, forced relocation of harbours and access points, disruption of natural habitats and a growing contamination of what is already one of the most polluted rivers in South America.
FERROCARRIL DEL ATLÁNTICO
One of the former main passenger train routes which connected many cities along the Magdalena and was responsible for the construction of a series of towns that grew around the train stations. The railway was able to take goods and passengers across the country and connected a lot of regions which were previously isolated. It offered an immense opportunity for Colombia to grow and evolve, for inhabitants to move flexibly and freely, for trade to be organised in a fluent and effective way. Despite all the promise, by the 80’s, railway transport was considered to be an outdated form of transport and by the beginning of the nineties, pretty much any form of passenger transport was disrupted.
A large part of this railroad is now in the hands of the Drummond Mining Company, which transports hourly shipments of coal towards the North coast of the country. Other parts are being used by individuals who’ve constructed a micro-industry by transporting passengers with self- constructed trains, pushed by motorcycles. Many of the towns which previously flourished because of the railway and its stations diminished into a state of decay and long forgotten hope for a progressive future.
RUTA DEL SOL
This highway is part of a network of highways which cross a line trough all of South America, with this particular road, originally called the ‘Ruta 45’ ,starting off in Loja, Ecuador and going up all the way to Santa Marta and Barranquilla in the North of Colombia. The Ruta del Sol is, with its 1500 kilometers, the longest highway in the country which was originally constructed around the fifties and grew to be one of the most important trade routes in Colombia. It also came to replace a lot of the public means of the railway, as highways were considered a more profitable transport model, providing the option to create a richer oil economy and a larger overall income with regular toll booth passages.
Since 2011 the government has been working to turn the original single carriageway into a double lane after a contract in cooperation with a Brazilian firm. In some places, villages were half or completely erased. In other places, where the village or the city in question was too big, the roads are being led around the town. The result of this is that all towns which are heavily dependent on passing traffic, suddenly turn obsolete. The realisation of this project is being done with barely any consent or understanding for the consequences and the situation which locals are being put into.
What has been done?
A large part of the project has already been carried out on an independent basis. Following an in-depth historical literature study, research and planning, an initial two-month trip was undertaken in December 2015 and January 2016. On this trip we covered a total distance of 6,000 kilometers along the three lines and visited many relevant villages and cities. We recorded about 40 hours of video material, which consists largely out of interviews. Also several photo series were developed, and information and contacts were gathered for the continuation of the project.
Several excerpts of our interviews (follow youtube-link for more info):
For more of our work visit: