Agency of the Minuteros / Agencia Minuteros

“I am from Urabá, I came to Medellín with my family displaced by violence. Working in the Park for two years Berrio. At my age and my disability gives me no work. Coming to the park told me that if someone wanted to sell minutes, and I accepted. I knew nothing about phones and stuff, but I got it. “

This is a classic story of the Minutero. Minuteros carry cell phones attached to a vest and make phone calls for about $.08 USD. The minutero occupation provided steady work and a relatively smooth transition from a period of violent conflict. In the past few years the minuteros workforce has come to represent the unemployed, young children who cannot afford schooling (typically female), displaced peoples from the surrounding area.

The minutero is an archive of the social meme, a depository for the daily interactions of people in Medellin. The stories that they hear provide us with a context with which to view the city. We invited the minuteros to recount their stories and be projected on Collective White House. The stories they tell are personal, funny, and frequently touch on the complexity of the socio-political context of Medellin.

Minutero Zero is a project that invites the public to text message directly to the White House. In this way, the minutero becomes an interface for speaking to the iconography of the power structure.  The minutero is removed from the invisible social class that she occupies and becomes an immediate representative for the common person on the street.  This project recognizes the minutero as a human being and not only a device for making calls.

This project uses the text message as a means for communication and archive of the ordinary grievances, joys, and complaints. When a text is placed from the minutero zero, the message will appear on one of many screens on a table mounted in the Collective White House.