La Calle de los Campos Perdidos

La Calle de los Campos Perdidos (The Street Of The Lost Fields) deals with the life conditions of the poulation of urban outskirts. In more than 50 years of the civil war in Colombia almost seven million people have been displaced. Many of the inner refugees live in the growing peripheries of the larger cities in Colombia. Aqua Blanca, a district of Cali, is an arrival city for many African Columbians. In collaboration with the population, activists and art students there was realized a social cartography and brought to the public as a mural.


Mojica - initial situation

Mojica is a district of agua Blanca on the outskirts of the 2.5 million town of Cali. Cali and the Mojica district have been considered among the most dangerous places in the world for many years. Gangs rivaling in drug trafficking openly expose violence.
40 years ago, the first settlers came from rural areas in the South-West of Colombia. The name Mojica comes from the owner of the land who sold it to the settlers. The settlement was built on a green field. The founders of the settlement reported that there was no running water, the waste water flowed between the huts in latrines. There was also no electricity and roads. In heavy rain the water flowed into the provisional houses. Today Mojica is a suburban area with two- to three-storey houses. There are three generations living there, mainly Afro-Colombians. The district also bears the nickname Afromojica. There are no exact figures on the number of people living in the neighborhood.


The survey

The first two weeks were used to get to know each other and to get acquainted with the  peculiarities of Mojica. Some days and nights were spent in Mojica. Due to the warm hospitality of some of the inhabitants there could be gained insights into the daily life of the inhabitants.
There was held a qualitative survey. It focused on the origin, personal memories and the wishes of the Mojica inhabitants. When asked what the residents in the neighborhood would change, participants from all three generations responded with the desire for more security and less violence. Furthermore, the first and second generations demanded more opportunities for better education and workplaces. The age group of 15-20 year-olds is most affected by the shortage of education and jobs. A lack of school education makes it difficult to develop a professional and individual way of life.
In addition, all the participants demanded more green spaces and parking areas in the neighborhood.


The workshop "Cartografia Social"

In a further step the information gained by the survey was prepared for a workshop. Representatives of Fundacion Nacederos, women of the textile workshop, art students of the Institute de Bellas Artes, as well as organizers of the project, participated in the workshop.
In the first step of the workshop, participants were asked to draw a mental map on a white sheet of paper. From the memory there were sketched the location of the district, its limitations, as well as the number of streets and blocks of houses. In addition there were to be localized characteristic sites that point to problems as well as positive changes.
In the second step, the individual mental maps were transferred into a schematic map of Mojica. The teams localized places of identification such as the own house, the place of the foundation, the park, shops. A spokesperson for each of the four working groups explained special places of remembrance and presence.
In the third step, wishes and ideas for an anticipative new Mojica were developed. The substructure was based on terms and topics from the qualitative survey, which were used by the participants in group work. There was also the possibility to add new terms. The positioning of specific terms sharpened a problem-awareness for the present and future challenges of the area. The task was to focus on a positive view, in order to show impulses and perspectives. Mojica's fame to be a highly violent place with drug gang crime was to be contrasted with positive views. In a final presentation, the terms which represent a positive change were presented and discussed with all workshop participants. A cognitive map of Mojica was drawn from the results of the four working groups. It offers several possibilities for social action. As an important tool it offers an approach for solutions for the activists of Fundacion Nacederos, which can be deepened in the coming months through further workshops with extended  groups of participants.
Together with children, young people and art students, a common mural was painted, showing the map of Mojica and the positive concepts. The mural shall change and develop further in the coming weeks.



1. As a recommendation for the Foundation Nacederos in Mojica, REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT is considering a stronger inclusion of the 15-20 year old. Through the project, the young people could be activateded. It is important to address and develop new  groups. Further workshops with new participants could be carried out with the aim of developing further future topics.

2. The desire for a dance school was expressed. This could give the young people a much valued occupation and self-confidence. This is about the use of existing resources (eg. the upper floor of the former foundation) and of finding people who build a continuous structure on their own responsibility.

3. Continuing the cooperation with students of the Institute of Bellas Artes is desirable.  This is a chance to apply the techniques of social practice imparted by the REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT and to expand them in concrete participatory projects. For this purpose, for example, the textile workshop offers an interesting task in the development of a brand for the establishment of a cooperative.

4. The desire for more green in the district also offers numerous participatory possibilities. More green also means better air and environmental conditions which have a positive impact on the health of the inhabitants. Many first and second generation residents originally came from rural areas that were characterized by subsistence farming. The transfer of this knowledge to the forthcoming third generation could, for example, be an important identity-defining task by cultivating crops such as vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.



The work project was initiated as an open process. Through the impulse of the REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, the participants of the project worked out concrete possibilities for action. The project was supported by Oscar Ardila, Lorena Diez, Marcela Vallejo, Alberto Campuzano, the Instituto de Bellas Artes, Alexander Gomez, Olaris Peria Olano, Jennifer Quintero & foundation Nacederos, Padre Julio, foundation La Sucursal, la Fundación Nacederos, Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes en Cali, Museo la Tertulia and the Goethe-Institute Colombia.