The Chilean train connecting territories through art, science and technology
Chile is a country of diverse landscapes. Deserts, forests, mountains, and seas, hosts multiple communities; each one with its own identity, histories, customs, knowledge, and techniques that bring a great multicultural richness.
But Chile is also a country with high levels of territorial segregation and inequality. This means that the place where you are born has a decisive influence on your opportunities.
This marked centralization keeps small localities isolated and disconnected from the rest. According to A ranking of isolated localities, conducted by a study center of the Chilean government, 44% of the communes are at high and critical levels of isolation. This means that they have a low level of accessibility, scarce population and high dispersion of it, low presence and coverage of basic and public services, and that, as a consequence of these factors, ARE IN a situation of disadvantage and social inequality regarding the development of the country.
On the other hand, the economy of Chile, based mainly on the exploitation of natural resources, affects the environment and devalues the knowledge and techniques developed in non-metropolitan localities, affecting the sense of territorial belonging of those who inhabit these territories, one of the bases of sustainable local development: As Renaud Sainsaulieu points out, French sociologist, is "the local reference of the actors, that is, their territorial identity, leads them to carry out collective actions with economic objectives inspired by belonging to the local territory, thus reconcilling the economy and society.
With these problems in mind, is that a group of young students from different professions (architecture, economics, journalism, and theater), began to ask how we could contribute to decentralization and sustainable development of non-metropolitan locations. Taking knowledge that there is still a large part of the railway lines linking the center with the south of the country that operates for freight transport, we came to the idea: TRENZANDO.
Trenzando is a network of territorial cooperation to facilitate access and exchange of tools for social, cultural and economic development in non-metropolitan locations through the reuse of the active rail system for Freight transport.
We designed and built a nomad infrastructure that circulates along the train tracks, and that allows the optimal performance of formative, social and cultural activities in localities with scarce infrastructure for these purposes. The Train, as we call it, is composed of 6 maritime containers enabled as spaces for residence, where we can accommodate up to 10 people, bathrooms, a fully equipped and open to the community kitchen, a stage, where we can perform concerts, plays or film cycles; an office, a workplace for the Trenzando team and for activity facilitators; a multipurpose workshop, with mobile tables that allow different work activities, and a recording studio, where we record community voices, poetry, stories, music and songs by local artists. These 6 containers are mounted on rail cars to be transported by freight trains. Once in the station, it stops on the secondary track and opens to develop multiple activities with the local community.
We apply the participatory-action research method to recognize, together with the communities, the main needs, and richness of their territory, in addition to identify the local key agents (people or organizations that promote community development). Through surveys, meetings, collective mapping workshops, and community activities.
We create a relationship of trust and collaboration with local key agents, to design and carry out activities and projects with a local identity that contribute to their communities.
We build a network of collaboration between various public and private organizations, committed to artistic, scientific, technological and social development, to facilitate the delivery and exchange of tools in the beneficiary localities.
With the collaboration of FEPASA for the transport of our infrastructure and the support of the State Railways Company for the use of railway infrastructure, in 2015, thanks to a fund from the Ministry of Culture, we were able to finance the construction of our train, in 2018, thanks to a funding from Fundación Colunga, we were able to implement our program at the San Rosendo station.
This year we have reached two more stations, Yumbel and Ocoa, and we are preparing to reach Til Til Station and Nueva Aldea, again, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Cultures and other groups that support the development of content.
You can see some of our work here: