Postopolis DF – notes from Day 3

Previously: Postopolis DF – Kumbia Queers and Postopolis DF – notes from day 2.

Some of the Postopolis bloggers brought a unique, extremely well-curated perspective on the event. Wayne Marshall is one of them. One by one the speakers he had invited drew a picture of Mexico’s hip hop and street art culture.

On Thursday, Wayne had invited, among others, graffiti artist Saner who is now exhibiting his work both on street and museum walls all over the world.

0aasaner1.jpg0amanipulatio8.jpg0orig.webSaner03.jpgPlegaria. Calle del Pez (Photo by Javier IA, via belio magazine)

Jace Clayton invited Jorge Legorreta that day. The architect and professor at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City talked about one of the most paradoxical issues of Mexico City: in the long-term, the city will suffer from the over abundance of water, and not, as the millions of Mexicans who do not have access to piped fresh water might assume, from its scarcity.

0alegggooo.jpgJace introduces Jorge Legorreta

I had no idea Mexico DF was built above a lake. When they arrived in Tenochtitlán, Spanish conquistadores found that it was difficult to overcome inhabitants who moved fast and limber on canoes while the conquistadores and their heavy machinery were clumsy and slow. The Spanish solved the problem by draining the lake. After that, they started building on an unstable lake bed. Nowadays, the vast water reserve that this aquifer constitutes is being drained to provide water for the millions. As the water is sucked out, the city lurches downwards. Parts of Mexico City centre are sinking at an even faster rate than Venice. Over the XXth century, the city sank 10 meters, that’s some 7cm per year. Some areas sink up to 30-40 cm per year per year. Xochimilco, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is slowly sinking. Legorreta forcasts that there might be no Xochimilco within 15 years.

aug12tenoch.jpgTenochtitlan was built on an island in Lake Texcoco in what is now the Federal District in central Mexico

Mexico city is also surrounded by 45 rivers. Tenochtitlán was thus built on a delta and this delta will eventually inundate the city of Mexico. The rivers are appallingly administered. When the water from the rivers arrived in Mexico city they have already been heavily polluted by industries.

This mismanagement has led to the greatest irony of all. One answer, according to Legorreta, is to control the pollution of the rivers but also capture and conserve more of the copious rains that fall 7 months of the year in reservoirs and household tanks.

In the early evening, Nicola Twilley from Edible Geography (can’t recommend you that blog enough) presented the work that Sissel Tolaas had done in Mexico City. The artist gathered air samples from 200 neighborhoods, bottled them then recorded the reaction that 2,000 people had to these smells.

The work is documented in a video called “Talking Nose” as well as in a scratch-and-sniff panel. Tolaas believes that our civilization represses the sense of smell. She wear no perfume. Instead, as Nicola recalled, Tolaas wears an encapsulated concentrate of her own smell.

0aaperidefer.jpgRozana Montiel

I had invited architect Rozana Montiel to present the work of her studio. She’s one of the few architects who gives a smart and original twist to the idea of ‘recycling’/ One of her projects involves turning 22 buildings connected by Mexico City’s metro lines 1, 2 and 3 into one big building, each of the ‘units’ would be open to the public. Some buildings, most of them currently abandoned, would be dedicated to sport, others to performative arts, culture, etc.


Just a quote from Gregory Berger, invited by Ethel and Cesar from dpr – barcelona. The Director of satirist documentaries about political and social issues said: “Piracy is a fantastic instrument for distributing my movies.”

The day closed with Gabriela Gomez Mont from Toxico Cultura introducing three Mexican photographers whose work show the city from another perspective.

Helicopter photographer Oscar Ruiz had some stunning images of the city from above:

2Piratas.jpgOscar Ruiz, Taxicabs rounded up for not having permits, Taxis Piratas

BasuraQuemandose.jpgOscar Ruiz, Fire at the dump

TiangusNeza.jpgOscar Ruiz, Mercado Sobre Ruedas, (weekly food market)

& José Luis Cuevas screened several photo series he made. Amateur. Porno hecho en casa (home-made porn) explores the way ordinary people reinterpret the clichés of ‘professional’ porn movies.

05amateur (7).jpgJosé Luis Cuevas, Amateur. Porno hecho en casa

Mark Powell, a gringo living in Mexico DF and interested in street photography.

0showphoto.jpgMark Powell, from the series Mexico

12showphoto.jpgMark Powell, from the series Mexico

09showphoto.jpgMark Powell, from the series Mexico

Image on the homepage: Oscar Ruiz, Nezahualcoyotl and Iztapalapa .