Ghost Train Park, Lima, Peru
RUS [Residuos Urbanos Sólidos-Solid urban waste] Lima consisted in the recovery of the public space created by the abandonment of the tracks of Lima’s electric train, highly symbolic urban waste in the city. It made good use of the already established urban infrastructure and reused it as the basis for the setting up multiple public activities: the Self-build recreational area. This way of tackling the new use involved a clear action of celebrating the public space and at the same time making citizens reflect.
The process had two strongly marked courses of action: networking with other collective groups and low cost construction. This allowed us to learn and put into practice local graphic and construction techniques in order to adapt them to other objects. In turn it allowed the process to be shared so that afterwards it would be taken over, repeated and improved by the local people themselves after this first experience.
The local community of Surquillo and various local artists were invited. A series of attractions and games were conceived between everyone as well as other types of actions of the collective imagination, with the aim of offering a recreational space for children and adults. Classic features of a fairground but operated by people instead of engines: the mechanical bull, flying chairs, the ghost train, the pirate ship, colourful pillars, the party atmosphere, neon signs and so on as well as the possibility of competing with your own body hung from a cable zip wire– the cut off track of the electric train. The invitation was clear: Get on the ghost train!
In order to carry out the project the self-build with very little budget and recycled materials was actively decided on. Car parts and tyres were used as a form of paradoxical reflection on public and private transport. The building of the prototypes was carried out at the Casa de la Juventud [Youth Centre] in the district of Surquillo, very near the location of the action. To unify the whole project and at the same time to make the action visible the so-called chicha graphic art [ref] was used. The typical signage of Lima used to advertise cumbia concerts and parties with folkloric and chicha music which is very present in the local imagination.
To plan a long-term, self-managed project, given to the city so that it may enjoy and protect it in an area that was already functioning as a public space was a challenge for us and the city. It was necessary, as well as offering fun attractions, to provide a rich, complex, durable space of high quality, knowing that the residents and particularly their children are a very demanding public. Although the project lasted only two weeks in situ, The Recreational area was dismantled by the local authority with the excuse of the definitive start of the reconstruction works on the railway, which didn’t occur, as expected until much later on. Today, it has been completely demolished in order to build another new infrastructure again.
The project gained the support of the Council of Surquillo, and the participation of its community on several levels, from its group of young environmentalists Fuerza Juvenil to its watchmen, the mayor, its cleaning staff, the shops in the area, the tyre companies who provided the material, etc.
Image Credits: Basurama