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Bogotá, an endless scene for stories: The experience of Ginna Ortega

Updated: May 26, 2020

As we have mentioned before in this blog, at Tingua Hidden Journeys we believe in the power of stories, especially those that reach our travelers and then spread around the world. For some months now, we have been preparing a great project with which we want to find new ways of telling stories, starting in the center of our city: Bogotá. We are working on this project in association with Imán Music, and for its first stage, we worked with historians Ginna Ortega and Francisco Guerrero. To start introducing the project, we asked Ginna some questions about her experience and perspective of Bogotá, and she told us a very interesting experience in a brothel of the city. Check out her answers below.

Hi, my name is Ginna Ortega,

I am a videographer and historian. I mostly work as a Script for movies , and I also work making documentaries. With Hidden Journeys I have worked participating in the development of an audio guide, an audio tour, which revolves around Bogota's history. We focus on a single location, but from there we can explore many elements of what has been, is, and I believe that, to a large extent, will be, the history of Bogota. I think that with this project, I have had the opportunity to combine two areas in which I work, on the one hand the historical research and on the other, the narrative: How to make all this historical knowledge pleasant for a tourist, without stuffing it with information, but also giving him or her certain tools or elements to give have an idea of how complex the city is.

What I liked the most about writing this script and researching the history of a place (which in this case is Bogota) was discovering more and more every time. I feel that all the places, the streets, the houses, are traces of the past. And it is a tremendously interesting past, a past that as one explores, speaks a lot about the present as well. I loved discovering new things, especially because Bogota is the city I live in, a city I know because I was born here, I grew up here, but that seems to me an absolutely inexhaustible scenario in terms of information, in terms of everything that there is to know and explore, and I think that is what I have enjoyed the most in this project.

I think that one of the added values of a route such as the one proposed by Hidden Journeys is that it has an intention beyond the fact. In a tour of Tingua you will be able to find an experience, and it is an experience that is crossed by concepts, by critical views of the city or space, perspectives that seek to go further, which is what you usually look for when traveling. When you travel, the fact by itself is not enough, what makes it interesting is when it is part of a narrative. In this case it seems to me that the route that Hidden Journeys is proposing in Bogotá is marked by questions about the contrasts of the city, its contradictions, everything that makes us a very particular place.

Another element that I find interesting is the intention to innovate in technological terms, because Hidden Journeys is thinking on routes that are not only interesting in terms of their content, but also in terms of form. Offering a sound experience, which is not only the narration of a space, but also how the sound can expand that experience of being there. I think this is something wonderful, it is something innovative, I also say it as a traveler, it is not easy to find this type of experiences. And a last element that is valuable of the routes that Hidden Journeys is proposing, is that they are simple but solid routes, meaning, tourists do not necessarily have to explore large spaces, get tired, spend all the time of the day, but with few areas one can get a great idea of what the city is, and from there begin to explore it.

Can you share a hidden story of Bogota?

I think there are many hidden stories of Bogota, and some of them will appear in the tours that Hidden Journeys proposes, I am not going to tell you about those stories, but about a personal experience that connects me a lot with this city and that speaks precisely of those secrets that lay on this place. A few years ago, a very important Colombian writer whose name was León de Greiff lived in this city. He is a benchmark in Colombian literature and his work is absolutely wonderful. When he lived here in Bogota, he lived in a sector that, in his time, was elegant in the center of Bogotá: Santafé neighborhood. It was a residential area where people with a certain purchasing power and prestige lived. But, for multiple reasons, this sector changed radically. The landscape that you are going to find today in Santafé is totally different because it is a popular sector and, what we call a zone of tolerance, there are many brothels of all styles, and it is an area that is basically full of the dynamics associated with prostitution .

A few years ago, in one of those brothels, a large one because it was like a building, they found some texts by Leon de Greiff. As I understand, it was in the house where he lived, or near his house. When these texts were found, which were unpublished, they decided to exhibit them in that same space. Various artists and curators took the brothel for a while, and the author's texts were placed on the brothel floors, and an entire exhibition was held. It was very interesting because a space that, from a certain perspective, a person could see with prevention, became an artistic exhibition space. And as a spectator, you would come to this area, to a brothel, to have a drink, to know the space, to live that environment and to tour the place and see the unpublished texts of León de Greiff. I found it an amazing experience, not only because I was getting to know these texts by an artist that I personally admire, but because the whole environment gave an atmosphere, a special value to that treasure that was there. These types of experiences are things that you can find in the city, things that happen, secrets that arise and that you can go and live another dimension to many things, in this particular case they allowed me to inhabit a space that I usually do not inhabit. : The Santafé neighborhood.

What is your favorite hidden treasure in Bogota?

I think that Bogota's greatest hidden treasure, the one I like the most, is its people. Bogota is a very crazy city, very chaotic, and to that extent it is also very interesting because you can meet people of all styles, doing all kinds of activities from commercel, to art, to intellectual stuff. It is difficult to get bored in Bogota because the city groups many expectations, many quests, and I think that is its greatest treasure.

What have you done to enjoy the quarantine?

Fortunately, in this quarantine I have dedicated myself to doing what I like, which is to continue creating projects to make films (in the future, because right now we cannot shoot, but at some point we will be able to do so), and this time has been to fertilize seeds (projects) so that when we can go outside, we can build things, projects, movies. That has been my main activity in quarantine. There are also more daily activities that I have really enjoyed, I like cooking, doing yoga, I'm learning collage. I think quarantine, everyone lives it in a different way, but in my case it has been the opportunity to plan projects and to learn new things.

Soon we will tell you more about this project, remember to follow us on social media, on instagram or facebook.


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