Colectivo Cambalache

The Colombian artist collective Colectivo Cambalache consists of Carolina Caycedo, Adriana García Galán, Alonso Gil, and Federico Guzmán, who met at the University of Bogotá in 1997. Since that time they have developed projects together to foster social interaction among the city’s inhabitants and to remove social barriers. Their activities commenced with a campaign to preserve El Cartuche, a district of Bogotá that was under threat of demolition. Ignoring the bad reputation of the neighborhood, the artists made contact with its inhabitants, and drew inspiration from their everyday lives. For example, the artists opened the hair and beauty parlor A toda mecha [quick cut], in which for six months they offered homeless people, residents, and passers-by a change of appearance, which led to close contact with people from very different backgrounds. Their most famous project was inspired by the scrap metal collectors of El Cartuche, whose work is not recognized as a job. The artists collected secondhand objects, which they offered on the street in exchange for other things. This gave interested people the opportunity to be part of an ongoing “rolling museum.” This initiative sought to introduce bartering an alternative economic system, to demonstrate the value of recycling, and in addition to establish a concept of a museum that is not so much defined by conservation and distance but more by capacity for change, proximity, and participation.