Capilla para Tio en Potosí

Visiondivision ha hecho una capilla a 4200 de altitud para una cooperativa minera de Potosí, Bolivia. Al conocer las terribles condiciones terribles de trabajo dentro de la montaña llamada "la montaña que come hombres", les ofrecimos a los mineros hacer un proyecto pro-bono. Pensamos que tal vez querrían un poco de luz o tal vez alguna agradable actualización de los viejos vagones de la mina. Pero lo único que querían era agradar a Tio, un demonio que es el dueño de la montaña, donde en los últimos años murieron más de 8 millones de personas. Así que decidimos hacer un santuario donde pudieran ofrendar sus regalos a Tio.

Visiondivision has made a chapel on the altitude of 4200 meters for a mining cooperative in Potosi, Bolivia. After a Llama sacrificial get-together in the highest located town on earth, we were approached by some miners that soon learned that we were skilled architects.

Knowing about their dreadful conditions inside the mountain that is called «The Mountain that eats men», we offered them to do a pro-bono project. We thought that maybe they wanted some light or maybe some nice upgrade on their old mine wagons.
But the only thing that they wanted was to please Tio, a devil that is the owner of the mountain, were over 8 million people has died over the years. The conditions inside of the mine are so harsh that the only reasonable thing to believe in is this guy.
So we decided to make a shrine were they could give Tio gifts.

We explored the mine and found a promising spot a couple of hundred meters inside, a place which where warm and ample enough to allow a comfortable gathering of the miners. Our dynamite expert refined our site so that we got a more eloquent altar and walls.
After a couple of days the design was ready, a cavernous niche in red paint, an altar in silver and a path of silver stone slabs leading up to it.
The ground was covered with okra paint, enhancing the redness of the place. A red wooden bench was put on the lowest level.
As a finish we covered the shrine in glitter so when the head-lamps from the miners wander around it will reflect a magical shine.

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Capilla para el Tio was by far the most physically challenging project we ever done so far.
The project took five days to complete and was extremely demanding and dangerous.
We couldn’t work while the miners were inside of the mountain because we couldn’t be an obstruction for them in the narrow passages, and at some periods of the building process we definitely would have annoyed them if we would have been there at the same time. When we detonated our dynamite for example or spray painted the cave with highly toxic paint, which was the only alternative in this remote and underdeveloped part of the world.
The only time when the mine was empty was at night time, so we had to cope with extreme cold which in combination with the altitude on 4200 meters makes you uncomfortable. Luckily we had the coca leaves, hard liquor and a great companion in our Bolivian guide and dynamite specialist.
Half of the time we spend in the mines was to give our respect to the older Tio inside of the mine.
We had to offer him great amounts of coca leaves, cigarettes, liquor, and we also had to drink to his name.
Inhaling all that toxic paint inside of a mine is of course not good for you, especially if your only protection is a coffee filter for your mouth. We both got very sick after this project but we are proud and happy that we built it.
We came in contact with a professional sculptor that were supposed to do the Tio, but something came up and he couldn’t deliver it in time, we therefore contracted a local woman who at first didn’t want to do the Tio because she thought it was an inappropriate motive, but after some raise in her salary, she accepted.
To sit next to the hardworking miners on the opening party of the chapel and see how they gave offerings to the new Tio and thanked us for the project, was a great reward after all our efforts put into this project.
Some people haven’t fully understood this project, rejecting it as something trashy, and not belonging to the stylish family of architecture perhaps. We can clearly see that it is hard in a western world to fully take it in if you are not aware of the circumstances.
But sitting in this highest located chapel in the world with your fellow miners, imbedded in a spellbinding red color that glitters in the light of the headlamps, as a contrast to all the blackness and misery in the cave, is a profound experience that you almost cannot feel in the developed world nowadays.

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