La Toma happened first on 14th Nov 2015 in Calle Elica, district of Chacao, Caracas. The title describes a 'takeover', in this case the 'takeover of the public space'. La Toma is a collaborative project with Incursiones consisting of the architects Maria Valentina Gonzalez, Yanfe Pedroza, Josymar Rodriguez. We developped this concept for revitalizing the nighttime with street-life in Caracas all the while artistically proposing a moneyless system for exchange of goods.
Long tables and benches were installed on the sidewalk around a mini “calle del Hambre” (food court): a hot-dog-stand, cotton candy, popcorn and drinks. The visitors couldn’t use money but rather purchased the items by paying with the time of their presence.
The guests were handed digital timers of different colors to monitor the due time to pay: A grey clock at the hotdog-stand, a yellow clock for the beverages and a blue clock for Dessert. Each item had different value: A hotdog for instance cost forty minutes, a dessert twenty-five and a beverage cost fifteen minutes of their time.
While waiting for the food, the participants were free to pass their time however they wished, standing and sitting around the initially blank white tables. With the provided permanent markers, the visitors slowly filled the tabletops with a collective scribble and can now be read as the guestbook of LaToma.
La Toma apropriated the setting of the “calle del Hambre” to turn Calle Elice into a real ‘street of hunger’: Hunger for streetlife in the dangerous nighttime; hunger for exchange and companionship; hunger for discussions and laughter with friends or the new neighbors. But rather than having to work for the money to spend, so the idea of ‘LaToma’, the participants could now get off work earlier to spend their actual time here instead.
La Toma is an experiment returning to the public space of Caracas the vivid interaction of people the public space needs, while filling the streets with music and joy. Through altering the exchange of Money for goods by 'purchasing Goods with Time' La Toma critizes the dynamics of neoliberalism, while in the tradition of interventions in public spaces aiming to tear art out of the confined context of galleries and museums. Without entry fee and necessity of prior knowledge every passerby could easily take part in this artistic intervention.
The success of La Toma was largely due to the generous support of Goethe Institut and Cultura Chacao and the enthusiastic helpers:
Daniela Rodríguez, Andrés Stohlmann, Ana Segovia, Andrea Castellanos, Arianna Torres, Bárbara González, Carlos Sánchez, David Soto, Elizabeth Mata, Geliana Díaz, Jesús Goncalves, Josbel Chacón, Laura Sayan, Patricia Gómez, Valeria Graterol, Ane Pereira, Ana Vargas, Andrés Peñaloza, Andrés Contreras, Béla Kunckel, Daniel , Martínez, Daniela Schloeter, Gaelle Smits, Indira Aguilera, Juan Mendoza, Khristian Ceballos, Lino Cáceres, Martin Duno, Nikolai Elneser, Yabeth Bautista and Jonathan Reverón.
With the current political and economical situation in Caracas at the moment, La Toma cannot be recreated the same way again.
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