Migrant’s tale in an ice cream cart

Vagamundo is a mobile public art project, designed by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga, for on the street interaction to create temporary public commons. Through a mobile cart resembling an ice cream cart pedestrians are invited to play a video game that reflects the plight of illegal Latin American immigrants in New York.


The project is based on interviews the artist conducted with new immigrants from Latin America as well as years of working as a busboy in San Francisco.

A computer, monitor and joystick are placed within the hand built cart. The ice cream cart alludes to the thousands of paleteros found in U.S. cities pushing their carts and selling various flavors of crushed ice for a dollar through hot summer days (background info.)

The game is composed of three levels, each one represents a move up in the social scale and assimilation to the United States. In each level, the character must overcome an obstacle to continue ahead:

Level 1: The player must avoid the flying liquor bottles to earn a job.

Level 2: The player acquires a job at a corner grocery, while having to fight the stereotype monster, a giant cockroach.

Level 3: The player has learned English and is now a waiter at an upscale restaurant in the Upper East Side, he has to keep the guests happy and earn $200 in tips to beat the game.

crt_c[1].jpgExtra Level: Once the player has won the game, s/he is offered the choice to discriminate against new immigrants or two help new immigrants. If the player selects to discriminate, s/he is awarded an extra level as border patrol, where one may fire at illegal immigrants. If the player selects to help, s/he is awarded a list of informative books and contact information to nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping new immigrants.

Via Third Place Gallery.