Day 20 :: City without Horizons

La Paz et al.

Much of this city seems to be largely forgotten – the shanties that stop on the hillsides of Caracas here sprawl deep into the city center and after hours of walk around couldn’t even find an ATM or a coffee shop. Exhaustion set in earlier than usual, in part due to a terrible night’s rest on account of the severe altitude here; La Paz sits some 3700 meters above sea level – equivalent to ten times the height of the Empire State Building. I finally found a little artists neighborhood full of small galleries and small French (?) cafes.

As I was walking by a seemingly closed set of storefronts I heard the unmistakable sound of aerosol, and though I have lost my sense of smell, the corrosive tint to the air signaled that there were graffiti artists busy at work. I finally found a corrugated metal screen that was opened a crack and behold, a pristine labyrinth of clean white walls inside of a completely run down building, and it was full of younger guys painting. They stopped for a moment and I introduced myself (as a once-writer, now architect) and a few of them and I started talking, swapping ‘blackbooks’ as a first way to gauge eachother. With all parties satisfied, most of them wewnt back to painting but one guy (picture in the front, above) named MARSH took me through the gallery and explained what was going on. They had received funding to renovate this abandoned building (almost exclusively just the dry walling and minimal lighting) and put on one of the first major shows in Bolivia on Street Art. After seeing some of my more non-architectural drawings then invited me to take up a spot, though they would have to discuss it with some of the other artists later this evening. We exchanged contact info and agreed to meet up again tomorrow.

I caught a late lunch and came back to the hostel to take it easy for a while. If anything of interest happens by tomorrow, I will update accordingly.

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