Zeughauskino Berlin

The Camera as a Means of Research: Torre David and the Urban-Think Tank

The Torre David, in the Venezuelan metropolis of Caracas, is a 45-story office tower whose construction was halted after the untimely death of the developer and the 1994 economic crisis. After 14 years of vacancy, people illegally moved into the concrete skeleton, now home to around 750 families in makeshift structures amongst the boondoggle. Scientists at the Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zurich investigated the spatial and social organisation of the village for more than a year. What to others is a vertical slum is, for them, a laboratory for urban experiments. The Torre David underscores their opinion of how communities organise themselves autonomously and how this results in innovative impulses for megacities worldwide. In addition to an exhibition and a publication they have made a film about the tower, in which they present their vision of sustainable interventions.

Daniel M. Schwartz

Daniel M. Schwartz is a filmmaker, photographer and urban researcher. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1987 and grew up in Atlanta, GA. He studied anthropology and photography at the University of Pennsylvania and radio journalism at the University of Botswana. His photography and writing have appeared in numerous publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian and Süddeutsche Zeitung. His short films have appeared at international festivals, been broadcasted globally, and screened in numerous museums and galleries. Schwartz currently directs the media and exhibition division of Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zurich, and their spin-off production company, Gran Horizonte.