About a month ago I had the chance to visit Philadelphia for the first time. Besides the unbelievable experience of walking the epicenter of the conversations about the American Revolution in the eighteenth century, I also did a part of the hipster circuit and visited the Magic Gardens by Isaiah Zagar. The place is a big installation composed by a house, its yard and some attached buildings all decorated with inlaid work of different tones of turquoise, a mosaic at the same time chaotic and beautiful. The moment I saw this house in our second visit to Kampung Melayu I could not help to think in that visit to Philadelphia, since the second floor of this house looked like pulled out from the Magic Gardens. The owner of this house gave us an incredibly valuable time to talk in the tent that lies across her store in the edge of the embankment that separates the houses from the Ciliwung River, all of this with the language help of our great friends Zaza and Cintya. She explained to us that the building of the embankment involved a strong impulse of the government and the relocation of the people that was previously settled in the edge of the river to social housing buildings in a higher area. That is the process that gave birth to this interesting street on top of the embankment, used as a public space by the people of the area. The residents that were not relocated accommodated their houses to this new configuration and performed their own strategy. They organized in a way that allows them to move themselves and their belongings to the second floor when the level of water of the river overfloods the height of the embankment. The first floor, a functional space full of belongings that can be carried and made of materials that are easier to clean up later, and a second floor, a space for the dwelling and the most important objects, and that is also the object of the decorations.
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