Proyecto Desierto 2008
WHERE: Tacna, Peru
WHEN: November & December 2008
WHAT: Location theatre
WHY: Transfer of skills & experience
WHO: Fiona de Bell, Mark O'Donovan, Carolyn Morton, Bart majoor, Roel Schoenmakers
WITH: Theatre Embassy, DesiertoPicante
Tacna is situated in the middle of a desert which served as a background and source of inspiration to this collaboration between DeçiertoPicante from Tacna, Theatre Embassy from Amsterdam, artists from Latin America and artists from the international Cascoland network. Purpose of the project was to give a cultural impuls to Tacna in an interdisciplinary way and to stimulate international exchange between theatre makers and artists. This lead to a common artwork at the edge of the desert and in the public spaces of Tacna. For the Cascoland team, Fiona de Bell, Roel Schoenmakers, Bart Majoor, Carolyn Morton and Mark O'Donovan, this project was a research into the theatrical possibilities of public art.
The first weeks of the project Tacna was under siege. The issue was 'water'. What started as a strike of the miners, the 'minero's', became an overall protest against the authorities and mining companies who use the sparse water in Tacna to wash their minerals, heavily polluting the water and environment in the process. Protest rallies were held daily, the access roads to the city had been barricaded with burning tires and rubble and government buildings and shops were demolished and looted. After 4 people got killed the government declared a state of emergency and people are not allowed to assemble.
A difficult situation for an artistic project focused in and on use of public space.
"The first phase of the project was situated in the migrant district Barranquilla: one of the seats of fire during the riots that occurred before the state of emergency was declared. Nevertheless, we consciously chose not to close up the project. As a result, there was much interaction between the local population and our project. That confirmed our idea that we could not only respond to the current events, but also significantly intervene in the public space in a way that could touch the inhabitants of Tacna"