During the 90s, proletarian social movements began to occupying into abandoned buildings in São Paulo's downtown, Brazil.
Today, there are more than forty organizations that 'squats' hundreds of abandoned properties, giving them a social function by allowing families, immigrants, students, or workers in a homeless situation, to live in these places.
In 2013, I started visiting the 'Marconi' building. During this process, I became part of the community while I lived there for periods of six up to eight weeks at a time, sometimes for two or three times a year. The full body of work consists of a series of photographs, video interviews, archive material, and collages from the personal notebook.
'PRÉDIO' explores the life stories of these occupants from inside the 'Marconi' building, in the 'Barrio Centro Republica' São Paulo, Brazil. Likewise, the project explores the organization and relevance of social movements that fight for housing and human rights advocacy.
On the thirteen floors of the 'Marconi' squat, about four hundred people live in offices reconditioned to rooms of 9 to 12 m2, under the uncertainty of a decent housing solution. Within it, the notion of home (a space of emotional relationships and identity), becomes fleeting because of memories and expectations of a more stable future. 'Marconi' is a place where life stories share common experiences of nostalgia and loss.
These universal stories ask us: How do we deal with the problem of social housing in our own country? Who organizes? Who are the criminals on this system?. 'PREDIO' encourages the dialogue about the housing problem in major cities. Evidencing these stories will hopefully help to understand from a South American historical context, what do we leave behind from our identity and collective memory.
By Javier Alvarez —
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