Building on a long-shared history in the region, the projects covered in this volume use design and architecture to address social, political and ecological concerns along the shared border between Mexico and the USA
Windowless walls, masses of concrete, eroded hills, polluted water sources, etc. The photographer documents the impact that the economic boom is having on urban areas and on the fragile Amazonian ecosystem
Gambiologia is the Brazilian art and science of kludging. Someone with gambiarrá displays a cunning ability to improvise, kludge, hack and make do with whatever is available. Gambiologia, however, is far more than a demonstration of one’s own resourcefulness, it is also a political and ethical gesture. It questions industrial processes and mechanisms, rejects consumerism and postulates the need for greater autonomy
Finding the Operator presents the documentation of a series of attempts to find out who the operator(s) of a specific government owned CCTV camera is, initially through freedom of information requests and later through the construction of an electronic device that broadcasts messages that can only be read using a CCTV camera
I was going to post this story next month but i just realized that the show closes this weekend already. If you are in Barcelona at the moment, DON’T MISS IT!
From the 1940s to the 1970s, visionary artists from across the Americas reimagined themes from science fiction and space travel. They mapped extraterrestrial terrain, created dystopian scenarios amid fears of nuclear annihilation, and ingeniously deployed scientific and technological subjects and motifs
This symbiotic system re-imagines the management of sewage in order to salvage its potential as a source of energy. it is made up of a set of modular microbial fuel cells for the development or colonies of bacteria whose metabolism produces electricity and improves water quality
Facta is an experimental publication orchestrated by Fred Paulino and the Gambiologia group. The first issue of Facta addressed the ‘science of Apocalypse’, the next one looked at people who accumulate, collect and re-purpose. This issue is all about the hacker culture, poetics and ethics in all their guises and deeds
What makes the city of the future? How do you heal a divided city?
In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving
The works exhibited include a robot that 3d prints then plants seeds made of a biopolymer created from corn (PLA), an installation that monitors and visualizes the breathing of corn and a series of corn plants connected with electrodes to record the interaction between plants and humans
With their SEFT-1 vehicle, Los Ferronautas explored the abandoned passenger railways of Mexico. In their first London exhibition, the artists are investigating how the ideology of progress is imprinted onto historic landscapes and reflect on the two poles of the social experience of technology – use and obsolescence
The exhibition finally gave me the opportunity to see some of the works i had missed at the Venice Art Biennale in 2009 when Teresa Margolles was selected for the Mexican pavilion.
Her works took the form of mundane and ‘luxury’ objects that embody the trauma of violent deaths in Mexico, more precisely in Sinaloa. The Northwestern state is the home of a cartel regarded as “the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.” Every day in Sinaloa people are victims of drug related gun violence
Before going through the series of winners of World Press Photo, i had never heard of narco cinema. But then again each time i’ve discovered a cinematographic (sub)genre recently it was thanks to photography. In late 2009, i found about Nollywood cinema through Pieter Hugo’s work. This year Fabio Cuttica brought me to Narco Cinema
Artist Rodrigo Derteano’s autonomous robot plows the desert ground to uncover its underlying color, using a technique similar to the one of the Nazca lines, the ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. Guided by its sensors, the robot quietly traced the founding lines of a new city that looks like a collage of existing cities from Latin America
Shaped like flying saucers, the Nanodrizas are floating autonomous robots which measure, in real time, the environmental conditions of polluted water surfaces. The data collected is then transmitted for interpretation and analysis. Once the level and nature of pollution has been identified, the nanodrizas directly intervene by emitting synthesized sound and releasing bacterial and enzymatic remedies in the eco-system that, ultimately, should regulate the quality of the water
The exhibition “Gambiólogos – Kludging in a Digital Era” gathered objects, sculptures and installations that explore the concept of technological gambiarra: they adapt, reinvent recycled and found materials using electronic technologies and much improvisation
Sorry for being so silent over the past few days. A combination of medicine-proof flu and weak wifi at the hotel have thrown me into the arms of Jo Nesbo again and i’ve only emerged from this lethargy now. So here’s a last and light post about the ongoing London Street Photography Festival where i discovered Anahita Avalos’s tableaux of everyday life in Villahermosa, Mexico
Images from a video portraying a bizarre creature that owns two heads, one of them floating on a long long neck
Peeping Tom stayed in Mexico from October through December 2009. Their search for talent began in Mexico City through a progressive and systematic following of initial and ongoing recommendations of people to meet and places to visit, and then onward to Guadalajara and Oaxaca
This year, the biennial was guided by the notion of cybernetic autonomy – by the evolution of principles and patterns derived from the emerging behaviors of the devices themselves. The devices not only possess the ability to enter in a dialog with their surroundings, they also determine the rules for this interaction and change their behavior as if they had “personality”
Where we get a lecture on the perils of drugs from the curator of the Drugs museum in Mexico, revisit the wonderful design of Mexico ’68 and meet an artist who voluntarily spent hundreds of hours in prison striking deals with inmates
Meet two activists from Mexico. The first is hackarchitect Ehécatl Cabrera who believes that since architecture is not able to answer the many issues that the city has to face, we should raise and ‘make the city ourselves’. The second is Tijuana-based Raúl Cárdenas from Torolab who was in Mexico to present his Institute of Waste
The main exhibition of the FILE festival in Sao Paulo showcases some of the most exciting artistic productions in the field of electronic and digital arts. The sound installations were particularly good. So good that my little round-up features mostly sound pieces
Fast, furious and enthusiastic images from Sao Paulo and the 11th edition of the FILE Electronic Language International Festival, i think the report will have to wait till i’m back in Europe
This private collection was founded in 1955 by Mexican architect Roberto Shimizu. Most of the toys were recovered from flea markets, bazars, suppliers, etc. They range from antique toys from the late 1800’s up to popular plastic action figures, dolls and baubles from the ’70s. Some of them are a bit uncanny….
Two of our speakers explores the cultural and economic modes of (in)formal distribution both in the world of file-sharing and in Tepito, an area of Mexico city famed for its humongous street market where you can buy pretty anything, especially if pirate, stolen or counterfeit. We also had rappers performing live, a lesson on local pride and an intense introduction on critical fetishes
On day 3 of our blogathon we saw Mexico from a helicopter, were told why the city is suffering from an excess of water (rather than scarcity), listened to architects, graffiti artists, human right fighters and photographers
Day 2 of Postopolis was free metzcal, Mexican hip hop, pollution-eating robot and Carlos Alvarez Montero’s amazing portraits of subcultures, from Mexican skinheads to US-style gangs
The schedule is up and before i start packing my suitcase to DF, i’d like to say a few words about the artists, architects and activists i’ve invited to talk about their work during Postopolis!
Two artworks i discovered at the Lyon’s 10th Biennale for Contemporary Art. Both by the talented and socially-engaged Pedro Reyes
Burgos expands urban apocalyptic visions which proliferate in daily life. His starting point is a children’s storybook, from which he constructs a delirious collage. Anything is possible in his productions. With amazing dexterity he cuts, pastes, digitally photocopies and photocopies again, the result of which he fits into a fascinating stage design. Within these metaphors, there are, mingled with a large cast of characters, iconic elements of national images
Everyday, someone cleans the marble floors of the Palazzo with a mop dipped in water mixed with the blood found on the site of murders committed during the drug wars in Northern Mexico. How long will traces of it remain on the sole of your shoes?
Ever since i found about his tattoos on the pin-ups and luchadores appearing in vintage Mexican magazines, i was in love Dr Lakra. The tattoo artist lives in Mexico. A couple of weeks ago i was in Mexico too and there was a solo show of Dr Lakra at the kurimanzutto gallery. I felt like the happiest person in the world. Now, in retrospect, i feel that i’d been happier had i not forgotten in a taxi my lovely camera with all the images i had taken at the exhibition
No one dons the moustache like Fernando Llanos. He’s a video artist, a musician, a writer, a blogger, a curator, he makes drawings, he’s the über macho-looking Mexican guy who walks around the city with a chihuahua in his bag. He also produces tv shows, a competition of animation movies, and the moto of his own radio programme is “There’s no need to talk about art in order to talk about art”. When he’s not performing Llanos is always impeccably dressed. He’s probably the one and only media artist whose sense of style i admire
Having this dream of painting a whole town, Brazilian street artists Calma traveled to Lençóis (Bahia) and started painting murals onto villagers’ houses. He soon ended up painting the inside of a chapel and even tombstones in the cemetery.
Hey, look what i found for you at the Madrid contemporary art fair: a Peruvian artist who paints dysfunctional and corrupt superheroes
Paulistas much chagrined by the pauperism of this year’s São Paulo Biennial pointed me to its Off version. The Parlela is a selection of artists who invite us to reflect on the influence of space in their respective works. Although the selection stretches over several continents, most of the pieces are by Brazilian artists
Cinema Sim is not an exhibition about cinema, but rather about the idea and concept of cinema and how contemporary artists imbue their works with creative and aesthetic principles that hark back to the cinematic language and its means of expression
Eduardo Srur dressed 16 official statue around the city with orange life jacket in order to remind passers-by of monuments they don’t even see anymore
Domesticated jungle meets contemporary art. If the Xanadu of art existed it would be this place. Or at least something disturbingly similar.