35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Exhibition view of the work of Cozinha Ocupação 9 de Julho – MSTC during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Cozinha Ocupação 9 de Julho – MSTC

Born from the dynamic of a building occupied by almost five hundred people of the Movimento dos Sem Teto do Centro (MSTC) [Homeless Movement of the (City) Center], the Cozinha Ocupação 9 de Julho [Kitchen of the 9 de Julho Occupation] has been operating since 2017 through a wide multidisci- plinary network, with redistribution policies, zero waste, and a deep concern for food security. It is a space that goes beyond the prepa- ration and consumption of meals. It represents the strength of solidarity and the power of collective work around issues such as the right to the full use of urban space. With regularly held lunches that are open to the public, the Kitchen has brought greater visibility to the struggle for housing in São Paulo. It promotes forms of social use of spaces relegated to real estate speculation and also acts as protection against eviction. The strategy of opening the movement reinforces the work of the Occupation and allows the social technology developed to be applied in other communities, other peripheries.

“Occupying is caring,” a phrase that is present in all the spaces of the Kitchen, is both a guideline for the MSTC’s relationships and the preparation of meals. Empathy and affection are the engines that drive the work.

The Kitchen works in partnership not only with other housing movements and social organizations, but also with the artistic class, becom- ing an important cultural center and an active meeting place for activists, intellectuals, artists, and political leaders. This new angle strengthens the MSTC’s connections with the city and provides a direct response to attacks by the media and established powers keen on criminalizing social struggle.

This way of choreographing survival strategies in a megalopolis like São Paulo is especially import- ant for the 35th Bienal, which is inspired by the Kitchen and its always collective, horizontal form of organization, dreaming the impossible, creating bridges within the framework of im/possibilities. 

sylvia monasterios
translated from Portuguese by philip somervell

Cozinha Ocupação 9 de Julho – MSTC is the community kitchen of the Movimento Sem Teto do Centro. MSTC is a movement of low-income workers, lead by women, that occupies abandoned buildings in the downtown region of São Paulo aiming to grant the constitutional right to housing and a social and political reform that democratises the right to the city. Since 2017, the Cozinha project has been developed, whose objective is to create a solidary economy that favors inhabitants of the occupations and the nearby community, and to promote, through open lunches, a higher visibility to the struggle for housing, and to create an environment for exchange with the city with book launches, talks, concerts, and many cultural presentations. Through the exchange of knowledge and the act of cooking, the fight for the production of the common is built.