Aleksandra Mir

Hacen del Centro Laboratorio de Arte

Reforma Newspaper, Mexico City, May 2004
By Sergio Blanco

Organized Movement
1 May - 30 June 2004
part of
Localismos
May - August 2004
Perros Negros, Izazaga #8, col. Centro, Mexico D.F. - Mexico

Transformed into a great creative limbo, the Historical Center of Mexico City is also the object of inspiration and subject of action in the project entitled Localismos , an initiative that has brought together twenty international artists and handed them the keys to the heart of the city where they will live and work from May 10 to June 10. From the personal reading each artist makes of his or her stay in the city, a piece of art shall arise, created, exhibited and inscribed in the context of the Historic Center.

After having settled into the area and getting to know some of the locals, the twenty creators have begun developing their multidisciplinary proposals in media as diverse as performance, sound art, sculpture, video art, collages, scenic spectacles and art object. For the Black Dogs, curator of the project, these approaches arising from dialogue demonstrate that art can strengthen its importance within society and integrate naturally with the political and economic system.

"We don't want to change the art world, but rather we are interested in the historical moment that downtown Mexico City is going through and we are revealing it through art," said Agustina Ferrerya, who is one of the trio of Black Dogs along with Adriana Lara and Fernando Mesta.

The project was developed with the support of the Historic Center Foundation, a privately funded institution that facilitated the organizers exhibition space in the Virreyes Hotel where the artists are in residence. The Foundation also served as a liaison to other institutions, both public and private, which provided additional support for the project and the artists.

Pablo Aboumrad, Cultural Director of the Historical Center Foundation, explained that Localismos sets a precedent for a vanguard movement in the zone through the support of residencies of international artists in the downtown area. From June 10 through July 30 the artists' works will be on exhibition in and around the Historical Center. The project will culminate with the publication of a catalogue.

Privacy

"In the streets of the historical center there is an incredible sense of privacy. People have great respect for each others' individuality. Perhaps it is because there are so many people. During the day, three million people come in; yet at night it is much calmer. Only about 100 thousand who really live here stay."

The artist has worked outdoors at different downtown locations. Wearing a smiling mask and accompanied by her twin (Mexican actress Andrea Munoz), she has presented public performances in Garibaldi, the Zocalo and Tepito. Her performance of a work titled Lela and Teta (and her cameraman) surprised and delighted passersby.

Mara Verna, Canada.

A Wealth of Sound

"The first sensation was one of uneasiness; misery for the eye to see of so many people working in the streets--I was reminded of Coloumbia. I am working on a project of parallel sounds and images. I've recorded sound-scapes and diverse environments. The center has an incredible auditory wealth, impressive with the street vendors, the traffic, the litanies and the hazards. It is also a great zone of tolerance, a place of anonymity and I like that. The images that I took are made into temporary tattoos that can be erased--and this speaks to the process of disappearance."

Carolina Caycedo, Colombia.

A Popsicle

Surprised by the contrast between socio-economic strata, or the solemnity of the evening flag furling in the Zocalo, the artist believes that a good point at which to make contact for both knowledge and culture is food and drink.

"I'm working on a Historical Center flavored popsicle. I shall design it in collaboration with the popsicle makers here downtown. I'm studying the identity of the product to find its communicative and commercial potential; the idea is to generate something that infiltrates the economy."

Asier Perez, Spain

Traffic and Pedestrians

In the Vizcainas block, there are ten planters. Julio Castro, Gabriel Cazares and Rolando Flores pretend to intervene in these urban gardens in order to disrupt the sidewalk and the parking lot.

"Our intention is to widen this area in order to make a comment on two systems of order: automobile traffic and pedestrian traffic. The contrast of one over the other really makes the pedestrian aware of the difference," said Castro.

"The project takes on the idea of strict order. Each space downtown is equal to a money figure. This last public sculpture is simple in form, but complex in realization," added Gabriel Cazares.

Tercerunquinto, México

Ecuadorian-ness

"There are a lot of Ecuadorians living downtown who have come to work. I'm inviting them to come together in the Zocalo where there will be a podium for a performance on what it means to us to be Ecuadorian and search our feelings about this city and the differences. Another project involves making a video of mini-performances by street vendors, in order to reveal the moments of solitude among the masses."

Santiago Reyes, Ecuador