Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keeping It Rio

Keeping It Rio

I'm gonna have to keep it Rio.. oh I mean Real. Yes, it's a sad fact but I have some bad news for Rio. You see Rio de Janeiro, you no longer have the worlds largest Jezus statue. A small Polish town now claim that honor.
Many local residents and business people in Swiebodzin (shvee-eh-BOHD’-jeen) say they hope it will put their town of 22,000 on the map for Roman Catholic pilgrims and bring in money to their community.

But that doesn't mean you should be sad. No no, there's better things in the future for you... Well, not really. You're still one of the worse places to go and the top places to potentially get murdered in.

Yes, it's no surprise that Brazil's fayelas, or slums, can be a bleak place to live. In one neighborhood there's a sign on the wall from Comando Vermelho warning neighbors that during the days of war, they should avoid leaving their homes. So I'm not sure how to take the news that two Dutch artist are attempting to give the neighborhood some gentrification with the help of a lot of locals in turning a lot of the slums into a massive canvas covered with a rainbow of color.

Artist duo Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, know as Haas & Hahn, have taken it upon themselves to give this unsightly and terrifying Brazilian sums a face lift. Shit holes like Vila Cruzerio and Santa Marta are filled with sewage and bullet holed walls and endless sirens, but Haas and Hahn felt like they would like to give the residents a source of pride, so they started making it a colorful shit hole.

The project started with a huge mural called "Boy Flying a Kite" and expanded into covering nearly every surface of Santa Marta with cheerful shades of green, blue, punk and yellow.
“Using a flexible concept of colourful rays which can easily be expanded, we made a design for the houses around the square and part of the street, including the local Sambaschool,” reads the Favela Painting website. “A group of local inhabitants where instructed by trainers from TintasCoral as part of the project ‘Tudo de Cor para Santa Marta.’ They where taught everything from different types of paint to safety measures about working on scaffolding. During the hard month of work they received an education as well as a paycheck.”

"We are just so grateful", explained a street child who refused to be named. "I love this new rainbow death." Is what I would imagine your average street kid would say. Because really, I just want to know if an unending river of blood goes well with the lime green? It's important, I have a project coming up.

At this point, I would say it looks pretty but, you'd think they would have just painted the whole place white, since all they're really doing is white washing the actual problems. I also have to say that it makes the place a little less... needy. How is going to help attract more aid and attention for help when you look at it and just think "Welp, you shouldn't have pissed your money away on paint, dummies!"

Man, that river/Koi along the stairs is pretty rad. Though they'll probably just end up killing each other to see who gets to live near the cool Koi house. I'm sure it'll give the street children something nice to trip balls on while their huffing glue.

But who am I to complain about a little urban renewal. My father was a community redevelopment planner for the city of L.A., So perhaps I should take these little victories in cleaning up the city, especially one so shitty like the ones in Rio and just be happy about it. It's not like Rio is irrupting in war or anything.. Oh wait...
Rio police targeting slum where gang based

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Elite police units in borrowed navy tanks rumbled through a heavily fortified slum Thursday in an effort to apprehend drug gang leaders they blame for five days of widespread violence even as scores of armed youth fled the shantytown for a neighboring area.

Authorities say the gangs have erected roadblocks on major highways to rob motorists en masse, torched more than 40 cars and buses, and shot up police outposts — all to protest against a security program that has been pushing them from slums where they've held sway for decades.

The officers arrived under the cover of police helicopters and amid the constant rattle of high-caliber gunfire despite the gang members' efforts to block access with burning vehicles.

But scores of gangsters were seen fleeing down jungle-covered hills, across an area known as "the green hell," to a neighboring gang stronghold, the Alemao slum.
A member of the elite BOPE police unit who would only give his last name, Malta, waited for his turn to go into the slum, passing the time eating salted peanuts and drinking Coke.

"The idea is to go in and take control," said Malta, assault rifle strapped across his chest, his face smudged with black camouflage paint. "We can't live like this, with these people threatening our families. It's zero tolerance now."
Since Monday, at least 23 people have died, many believed to be suspected drug gang members, and more than 150 suspects arrested in police raids at nearly 30 shantytowns in the northern and western parts of Rio.
Authorities also have established 13 permanent police posts in the slums as part of their efforts to clean up the seaside city before it hosts the World Cup football final in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics.

Police have not released the identities of all those killed, but spokesman Henrique de Lima Castro Saraiva did acknowledge Wednesday that "bystanders would be affected" by the battles.

Cristiani Miguel de Santos stood outside a hospital near the slum, having just dropped off a 24-year-old family member whose name she gave only as Bruno. He was shot in the arm by a stray bullet. Overwhelmed, she could barely muster words to describe her emotions, but said she was very worried about the fighting, and that "the community where we live is no good anymore."
Rio state Public Safety Director Jose Beltrame told CBN radio that the military carriers were only the "first dose" of support that Brazil's military would lend to Rio's police force. He did not elaborate on future plans, saying he didn't want to put his men or citizens at risk.

"The navy is setting an example for the country," Beltrame said. "(The navy) has the equipment, but it's often unused. Why would (police) wait a year to get the equipment if the government already has it?"
Well, at least they have a colorful city to.. um.. die in.

1 comment:

seacandace said...

Hey. I stumbled across your job while doing some research into favela gentrification. I'd seen a CNN clip about this idiot mural project on Richard Florida's bullshit "creative class" website and was totally disgusted. I spoke to a friend about it and they pointed out that it probably had a lot to do with attempts to "pacify" and gentrify the favelas leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. It's very common for poor communities to be totally fucked over leading up to the Olympics (see No Olympics on Stolen Native Land! in Vancouver, Canada and a film called "Garlic and Watermelons" about the forced relocation of a Roma (commonly called "gypsy") squatter community to make way for a parking lot near Athens before the games were held there. So these stupid, well-intentioned (in theory) Dutch dudes come in, recruit locals to help in the project, and probably this means the poorer residents of this part of the favela will just get pushed out to crappier, more dangerous slums. I guess "slum tourism" is also on the rise. So, yeah, that's a lot, dudes, rainbow death is right.