On bus journeys, the cycle of gifts and counter-gifts and the search for meaning. During their performances on the city buses of Medellín and Bogotá, street vendors hand out compliments and compliments to their audience, as well as excessive apologies and thank-yous. As these hawkers are singled out by potential travellers on the route, they face the crowd with all their spectators already conveniently seated in the front rows. The vendors practice something that could be loosely described as “rummaging”, or “the pursuit of what makes a living”. It’s about making money from whatever is available: chocolate bars, pens, music or stories.
German-Colombian artist Jan Lotter Benavides has collected 65 of these scenes in his small-format, unpretentious book with a lot of heart. Entitled Disculpe, it revolves around his clear and knowledgeable transcriptions of the recordings he made in secret during his stay in Colombia with a travel grant from the Hessische Kulturstiftung, the Cultural Foundation of the State of Hesse (Germany). It soon becomes clear that the “sellers” offer more than just a show, and that the public gives them more than just pocket money; in fact, it is much more than just the added value.