Interview with Antanas Mockus (2005)

In this interview, conducted by Doris Sommer at the Hemispheric Institute's 5th Encuentro (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2005), Mockus plays a game with his interviewer: in a symbolic performance of 'social bonds,' they are linked to each other with string and must figure out how to disentangle themselves through movement (no cutting or untying), as they discuss civic culture and the ways conflict can be resolved through the plurality of art..


A Colombian mathematician, philosopher and politician, Antanas Mockus left his post as vice-chancellor of Colombian National University in Bogotá in 1993, and proceeded to preside over Bogotá as mayor for two eventful terms. His surprising and often humorous initiatives tended to involve grand gestures, often including local artists or personal appearances by the mayor himself - taking a shower in a commercial about conserving water, or walking the streets dressed in spandex and a cape as Supercitizen. Mockus hired 20 mimes to control traffic and poke fun at traffic violators - a program so successful that another 400 mimes were quickly trained. He also initiated a 'Night for Women,' on which the city's men were asked to stay home for an evening to look after the house and the children. The city sponsored free open-air concerts, bars offered women-only specials, and the city's women police were in charge of keeping the peace. Under his leadership, Bogotá saw remarkable improvement across the board - water usage dropped 40%, the homicide rate fell 70%, and traffic fatalities dropped by over 50%, to mention only a few.


Background Information
  • TItle: Interview with Antanas Mockus
  • Alternate Title: Antanas Mockus
  • Date: 18 Mar 2005
  • Location: Interviewed on March 18, 2005 as part of the Hemispheric Institute's 5th Encuentro in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
  • Interviewee: Antanas Mockus
  • Interviewer: Doris Sommer
  • Duration: 00:22:34
  • Language: Spanish
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