Region/Concept: Latin America, Space
Sub-Concepts: Poverty, Inhabitance, Kingdom, Temper
Description: Abandoned skyscraper in Caracas, Venezuela becomes world’s “tallest vertical slum” as the city’s poor take over the empty building.

Theory: The key here is in the paradox, and the paradox is in the name. The skyscraper was to be called The Tower of David, thereby equating the riches of today with the mythic figure of a man who became king and founder of a royal dynastic line. More than this, an ancestral line to the one who some would call the Redeemer. And yet there is duality beneath the crown, the imperfection of a two-sided prophet: for David’s origins lay nearer to the destitute who now occupy the evacuated hallways and rooms of this structure. He was a poet, musician, and warrior (talents of the lower strata), someone who relied on luck and who harbored an ill temper. He even conspired to murder out of lust, thus tying him to the hedonism and criminality of the streets. He also was said to watch from rooftops, much as the masses do now in these photographs. No, the newcomers who clamor to fill the void of this modern tower are the correct inhabitants after all; their squalor is its own house of the sacred; their illegal unstoppable presence, their decadent adornment of the windows with rags, are a close match to the artistry and rage of their namesake. They too await the accidental fortune of the slingshot; they too may someday kill their rivals, and write songs as they do it.


Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

A woman walks on a roof


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