The original idea of recording children’s stories about Moravia and playing the recordings in the streets of the quarter to create a space between individual and collective memory, was radically altered on the artist’s arrival in Moravia. Indeed, once there he discovered an almost total lack of public space due the extremely high population density and unregulated occupation of the area. In particular he realised that it was the children who suffered the consequences, physically, emotionally and mentally deprived of the chance to develop their abilities and interests.
The question of identity in Moravia – explains the artist – is complicated. Even though living and working in Moravia gives a certain feeling, being a distinct part of the city and known for its particular history, identifying with the quarter from within is something much more vague and defined by personal interests. There’s little sense of belonging, of community feeling. What I call “collective memory” is very weak here.
So the project took a different direction: to create and explore a space with and for the children, in close collaboration with the collective and the urban structure of Medellin, capable of creating an experience that could be remembered in the future.
The idea for a grand installation-event began to take shape, to be realised along with the children using 99 helium filled balloons, painted with the favourite places of each one during three days of workshops at the Centro de Desarrollo Cultural. On the 22nd of October 2009 the balloons, each one almost a metre in diameter, took to the air from El Morro, the mountain of refuse that rises over Medellin. This way the entire city could see the spectacle of an enormous entanglement of floating balloons all tied together by a single cable that extended the space of Moravia above the roofs, roads and houses of the city, at a Utopian level that, this time, truly belonged to the children. The event was a collective experience that the children, in all probability, will remember in the future.