> Tropismos, 2013

Tropismos is a project based on the life of a typical market in the Colombian city of Honda. The work draws on singular elements of the market’s architecture to examine the relationships between economic, human and ecological cycles as a microcosm of society.

The marketplace in Honda, as with any other, is part of the cultural identity of the village and contains many examples of improvised solutions to basic needs. Among these are four courtyards within the Republican architecture that have been partially covered with corrugated roofs, in order to gain more retail space. Each of these structures has a cone that funnel sunlight and rain towards an octagonal ‘oculus’* open to the sky, above the wooden structure that supports it. Sunlight shining through the ceiling aperture creates an intense beam that projects the octagonal shape across the floor, becoming a kind of sundial that marks the everyday life of the market.

The title Tropismos comes from the idea of movement created by an external stimuli, for instance a plant’s gravitation to light (photo-tropism) and water (hydrotropism) as sources of life. The work looks at the interaction of humans with their constructed environment and the natural forces of the sun, rain, and the passage of time as a form of social ‘tropism.’ The vernacular architecture of the market becomes a stage where these movements occur.

As one of the first and most important cities for mercantile trade through the colonial period, the choice of a marketplace from Honda carries with it a specific set of cultural references. Set within an atmospheric installation these suggest the rituals and the eternal return of everyday life against the backdrop of contemporary life.

* The oculus is the name for the aperture in the ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome.