Abandoned Buildings in Chapinero

A month or two back I was asked to participate in the creation of an audiovisual presentation by Universidad del Rosario’s news website, Plaza Capital. The idea was to explore the abandoned buildings in Bogota’s Chapinero neighbourhood, a sort of bridging area between the ancient streets of La Candelaria and the soulless, colourless north of the city, with all the grungy alternative artiness of Macarena. Amongst the brick high rises and graffiti streaked jazz clubs, Chapinero has a whole bunch of beautiful old heritage buildings that are being left to rot. In Australia, the facades of such buildings are more protected than a Colombian bank cash transfer (the ones where the guy holding the cash carries a magnum in his other hand, while his mate outside points a shotgun at pedestrians), but I guess the government here has other more practical issues to care about. Or it’s corrupt. Either way, it’s a shame to see buildings older than the modern nation of Australia crumbling and overrun with homeless people who burst out of broken windows oogyboogying and telling you can’t take photos of ‘their property’.

I spent an afternoon up around Calle 72 taking photos while Andrés and Gustavo, two film students, interviewed passersby about their feelings on the neglect of these historical remnants. Another morning I ambled down Avenida Caracas, ducking into surrounding alleys if a classical looking facade caught my eye, all empty windows and peeling paintwork. This being Colombia and everything, nothing from the presentation has been published, so I’ve decided to put my photos up here before I head off travelling next week.

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