Monday, September 10, 2012

Cocaine Economy?

Sigmund Freud used it. So did writer Arthur Conan Doyle and his more famous creation Sherlock Holmes. So did, notoriously, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. And....

An exhibit, called 'The Shortcut' now in the National University's Art Museum portrays the extent to which cocaine has suffused societies at many levels all over the world.

The exhibit, by Miguel Angel Rojas, which runs until Nov. 3, surrounds visitors with the evidence of cocaine's everpresentness. The exhibition hall's walls are decorated with the names of the famous who have used or been killed by cocaine. Below those names run the nicknames of narcos. Look
Coca leaves float into all parts of society. 

closely at the letters and you'll see that they are variously constructed from bits of coca leaves, pirate flags and dollar bills. The exhibit's centerpiece is a patch of desertified earth which represents to me the environmental destruction caused by the drug economy (and prohibitionist policies which ensure that the drug economy is so violent and destructive).

Indigenous clay heads, many with holes in them.  

On the walls there are also clay heads of indigenous people, many with holes in them. More victims of one of the planet's largest black market economies?

The exhibition also includes a short video of a business telephone directory whose pages flip in the wind as wind-blown coca leaves accumulate between them. It's named 'Economia Intervenida' and unsubtly portrays the how deeply drug money has entered so many aspects of our economy. If you doubt this, just recall the huge British banks which recently got into trouble for alleged money laundering.

With illegal drugs and their profits so ominpresent, the museum visitor might venture to ask an innocent question: What's the point of prohibition?

Some of these clay indigenous heads had holes in them. 

Coca is culture, Cocaine is business,' says a sticker near the National University. 

A desert terrain in the exhibit's center. 

A video called 'Economia intervenida' uses coca leaves and a yellow pages telephone book. 

Can anybody believe that Keith Richards used illegal drugs?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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