Evo Morales made the Wiphala one of the country’s two official flags in 2009. Now, forces that have taken over Bolivia desecrate the emblem, while the resistance waves it proudly.
It’s a drizzly Sunday in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the cafés near the Simon Patiño Cultural Center are closed. We duck into Blueberry, a Bolivian knockoff of the Pinkberry franchise, where on a warmer day, affluent teenagers might be making out on the candy-colored couches, the boys occasionally turning to tease each other, while English speakers crowd the benches with gossip from home. But today, I sit in the stark-white space alone with the street artists El Dengue, Li Q, and Machy, as well as an interpreter, to discuss the local urban art movement over hot, too-sweet coffee. Immediately, we recognize the irony of our location. “Bolivia is a country for sale,” El Dengue says.
Claudia Joskowicz is the master of the tracking shot. In her video “Music to Watch Dead Girls By” (2006), the camera moves seamlessly for 20 minutes through an endless interior, entering into and departing from rooms, discovering and leaving dead girls in its wake. In her next series, the camera moves outdoors and away from directly pop cultural source material, but never far from pop culture, beginning its examination of historical events and “real spaces” based on anecdotal histories and actual historical events, for the most part focused on her home country of Bolivia.