In the midst of the political and social crisis that Venezuela is going through, one project demonstrates that in this country there is still a place left for thought, creativity, and other types of activism than the one up and against the government.
Valores en tránsito (Values along the way) is an idea developed by a trans disciplinary team conformed by communicators, philosophers, psychologists, graphic designers, and artists related to the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB). It seeks to awake social and moral conscience on the young –and not so young- minds that integrate the university`s community.
As the team that developed it, Valores en tránsito expresses itself in different ways.
There is a “real” dimension of the project, and there is a virtual one. The real dimension is conformed by three pieces: The poster series on the UCAB`s core values; a graphic synthesis of the principles that the university promotes in its community, which are Excellence, Mutual Respect, Responsibility, Solidarity, Commitment, and Serving one another. The design of these masterpieces was in charge of Santiago Pol, one of the greatest Venezuelan representatives in the art of making posters. The collection is exhibited in two different formats and with two different purposes: There is an exhibition of the posters, in their regular format, in one of the university building`s hall; and they are also displayed in a much bigger scale -almost as billboards- in one side of the main building of the university. This last location was key in helping the project come together and accomplish its goal, not only because of the impact the images have, shocking the students as they are welcomed to the campus, but because they also work as a sort of index of the third expression of this dimension: The typographic intervention of Teresa Mullet.
Teresa Mullet, street artist and activist with special interest on the power of the written word, designed a typographic labyrinth with phrases from the most brilliant Latin American minds, as well as a part of the university`s faculty. She classified them by theme (Excellence, Mutual Respect, Serving one another, Responsibility, Solidarity, and Commitment), and then distributed them along the walls of the most transited hallway of the campus. Walking that passage is a reminiscence of any Borgian tale; entering is like going through a tunnel with many paths to choose, every time you discover something new. The messages are sometimes straightforward, sometimes deep, sometimes clever, and they are beautifully presented. They reflect how in the middle of diversity you can find similarities; something that every Venezuelan needs to remind. The word becoming image and taking over the public space is in this case something that both overwhelms you and gives you peace of mind.
This typographic intervention is also the portal to the virtual dimension of Valores en tránsito: The phrases are accompanied by several QR Codes that take the person that scans them to the social networks` profiles of the project. In them, you can find additional information about the initiative, as well as share your thoughts about Valores en tránsito. The virtual part of this project is the space for collaboration and further construction.
Valores en tránsito integrates activism, art, communication, and collaboration; and it masterfully delivers a discourse to an audience that is very difficult to reach out to when talking about social and moral values. It dares to speak about principles in a country so convoluted that seems there is no space to think about nothing but surviving. It generates reflection through enjoyment, and that is something to admire.
Let us all keep an eye on the evolution of Valores en tránsito.