Pursuant to the National Constituent Assembly of 1991, “space”—whether envisioned as “environmental” in order to facilitate the organization of the country’s territory, or as “public” in order to safeguard human rights and foment a more participatory civil society—became part of the government’s political agenda. In keeping with that interest, Arte para Bogotá was held in 1995. The event was organized by the Art School of the Universidad Nacional of Colombia, the Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo (IDCT), and Bogotá-based newspaper El Tiempo. It formed part of Formar Ciudad, a development plan implemented by Mayor Antanas Mockus Sivickas (b. 1952). Formar Ciudad was an anti-violence program that attempted to reconnect daily practices and regulatory norms. In this context, this text is of great interest. In it, architect and urbanist Álvaro Suárez Zúñiga—a member of the selection committee representing the IDCT—points out the legal effects of different aesthetic approaches to the city envisioned as a “structure” that reflects the experience of events and places both symbolic and imaginary.
As experiences of memory, the “processes” or “interventions” formulated by the artists for this event influence how “common spaces” are seen. As such, they revalidate the daily life of the city while also questioning the legitimized (hegemonic) aesthetic of urban furniture and equipment; they signal the tense “exchange of techniques and knowhow” characteristic of formal and informal economies; they embrace “diversity as possibility for urban life” beyond categories such as “the accepted” which serve to produce “aesthetic segregation” as well as segregation of a spatial, economic, and social order. Under these conditions, Arte para Bogotá provides a “structure of the city” not as something closed or finished, but as a process of “construction in and of itself.”