As a part of both Utopia School and Art in Odd Places (AiOP), Thiago Carrapatoso (São Paulo-based curator and founding member of Baixo Centro) will moderate a discussion between myself (Todd Lester), Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny (recent artist resident at the Occupation São João in the center of São Paulo), and Brazilian photographer Leandro Viana.
Additionally, Viana will show a series of portraits of São João community members, which portray the families who overtook the derelict former hotel ‘Columbia Palace’ to live close to their jobs in the convenience of downtown. They are maids, security officers, kindergarten teachers, street workers, students. As much as they can, they repair it, build new additions, and take care of the old hotel. The same happens in a number of occupations throughout the city, where, as it is estimated, some 400,000 apartments and commercial spaces are empty due to a unique real estate phenomenon in São Paulo.