In a rift between belonging and alienation, public and private, rendered often against a backdrop of painful memories and struggle, residents from five different neighborhoods in the heart of Bogota, Colombia, find the very secret of holy water in a space that brings all people together.

Despite having a consistent public water system, neighbors may experience water cuts or high bills every month, fostering a keen interest in public laundry. A tradition that dates back to the 19030’s and 40’s when the lavaderos where built, which quickly became more than a humble investment, but perhaps a community safe heaven whose affordability and ubiquity are viewed as a kind of civil right.

Families and teenagers and older people lounge and chat around the stone-built lavaderos every day in a space that shelters those who participate in them from the segregation, difficulties, and limitations of the neighborhood and the locality. In Fact, the social fabric stretched inside this place provides its users with a safe heaven that in another context or other spaces of the city would be restricted and even denied.

With this work I want to examine everyday and gendered experiences of water, such as washing clothes or bathing, as well as the impact of urban infrastructural interventions including the domestication of rivers for water supply.

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