Rote Ampel (Luz Roja)


This video documents the project Luz roja which took place in the urban space of the city of Kassel, Germany. This is a work about the knowledge of and the intervention in the city, about the exchange of desires and experiences with the people of Kassel. A work in which music is the main tool of communication.

For this occassion, the Cambalache collective was fully equipped with a van, two turntables, a mixer, a microphone, a CD player, an amplifier and a mini disc to record the sessions. During several days, the collective drove around the city of Kassel playing music and inviting the locals to bring their own music and play it.

Cambalache’s project is to inhabit and get to know the public space, to participate in the construction of cities by means of the music that the residents hear, create or enjoy, and through bartering, exchanging objects, experiences, sensations, etc... This manages to turn everyone into a participant in this process of knowledge of the geographic space and, as well, of the imaginary space that the cities’ inhabitants project.

Music takes the streets of Kassel during three consecutive days. Local DJ and MC collectives embark on an anarchic artistic competition. It is in Kassel where Cambalache for the first time meet rappers who express themselves through poetry, and rhymes, rappers living mostly in the popular neighbourhoods, many of whom are immigrants...

Musicians, whose lyrics reflect the socio-cultural situation they live in, who send protest messages in their rap rhymes.

The DJ’s Bala, Yuca, Tijera and Alógeno invade the public space with discharges of reggae, flamenco, salsa and hip hop. A group of people, mostly children, gather around and the musical bartering takes place with rappers and songwriters like Homemade crew, MC Manufacter and MC Splash among others. It is a beautiful and dynamic exercise of theatricalization of the public space.

With Luz roja Cambalache continue the tradition they started with Frutello mix in Torino in 2002. There, with more precarious technical equipment, a mixer, a household music system and a microphone that Adriana, one of the members of the collective, packed in her suitcase in Paris, they mixed CDs whilst passers-by sung and spoke to the microphone, to a karaoke rhythm, or sung their own lyrics over the music background.

Through their practice of bartering Cambalache traverse not only the geographic city space but also the imaginary space, that which is projected by the city’s inhabitants.

Luz roja was developed by the Cambalache collective within the exhibition Shadow Cabinets in a Bright Country in Kassel’s Kunsthalle Fridericianum.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Rote Ampel (Luz Roja)
  • Direction: Cambalache
  • Production: Colectivo Cambalache. 2003.
  • Team:

    Location: Kassel, Germany.

  • Duration: 01:16:35
  • Languages: English - German
  • Original format: DVD
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Creative Commons