Psycogeographic Map of Mexico DF #1 | Activism
Mexico City has been described as most important political, cultural and financial center in the country. With a complex social-geography around us, we just came back from Postópolis! DF with our head full of fantastic information and inputs and, as we said when we were getting ready for travelling to Mexico City, our aim was to draw our own psychogeographic map of the city. The whole event was like a cross-section through Mexico City, with different talks that gave us an overview of the city from different areas, such as urbanism, art, politics and social movements, among others. We think that in so convulsive city as Mexico is, it is impossible to make a protrait of the whole city but trying to understand it through different lenses. In that sense Postópolis! became an excelent opportunity to make such dissection. We decided to order our toughts guided by this lenses, instead of dividing by days, to start drawing our first map of the city. This first layer deals with activism.
There were some guest which work were completely focused in activism [our first walkscape*], using different tools to show us the ways that the government has to manipulate the population, to make visible the lack of opportunities in the marginalized urban areas, the problems in the “barrios bravos” and more, but also proposing new tools to react against these problems.
On Thursday, Daniel Hernandez aka @longdrivesouth invited Eréndina Cruzvillegas, formerly from the CDHDF [Human Rights Commission from Mexico City]. She spoke about the News Divine tragedy in June 2008, described by Daniel with these words:
A nightmare of a scene on Friday at a disco in Nueva Aztacoalco, a tough barrio in the sprawling north of Mexico City. During a tardeada, or an afternoon party common for teens just finishing the spring semester, nine young people and three police officers were asphyxiated or crushed in a moment of confusion and panic when the police attempted to raid the News Divine club for suspicions of under-age drinking and drug-use.
Erédina said that when claiming the bodies of the dead people from the News Divine incident, families had problems to get access to information, some bodies haven’t been retured and disrespectfully tagged with markers. Electronic devices, mostly mobile phones were stolen as reported from witnesses. But also she claimed attention for smaller incidents and problems for the young people, asking not to wait for tragedies like this one and start caring from the smaller problems to prevent bigger ones.
Regine Debatty from We Make Money Not Art invited Ehecatl Cabrera, self-defined as a ‘hackarchitect‘. Working from the fields of art and spatial practices, he’s the founder of MANGUM, a collective dedicated to urban and digital media activism and an independent researcher on urban phenomena. Ehecatl had worked on projects like Rabia Nocturna, defined as a perversion and a delirium, while articulating a series of micro-interventions in public space in Mexico City and dacu[tv], a serie of interviews dedicated to document ideas, experiences and projects. The name of the project came from (A)mbulants (D)ispositives of (U)rban (C)ommunication, in Spanish.
Our activist guest was Gregry Berger, the revolutionary tourist. With his project Gringoyo Productions, he uses film mxed up with tons of humor and sarcasm as a way to show people how Governments, transnational companies and weapons manufacturers use the moments of social crisis to take advantage. In moments of political upheaval, he goes through the streets and mix up art and journalism to do his work.
When talking about piracy and film distribution, and after saying that he found lots of copies of his films in the street vending places of Tepito, he just conclude: “Piracy is a fantastic instrument for distributing my movies.”
In Postópolis! DF he presented the film Love In Times of Influenza, showing the adventures of a humble executive of the giant transnational pork producer Smithfield Foods, as he searches the streets of Mexico City for his beloved pig Michelle, who has gone missing in the days leading up to Mexico’s 2009 Swine Flu crisis. The question from the “CONCERNED OLIGARCHS FOR SOCIAL AND CINEMATIC HYGIENE” [sic] is: Should we need to deport him to be safe of his accusations?
Raúl Cárdenas from Torolab and Nerdcore was invited by our friends from Tomo and he gave one of the most interesting talks around the relationship of activism and urban issues. Raúl started with the project HOMELAND, The Iu Mien Farms Tape Project. This is an ongoing project on the construction of home territories and the constant re-evaluation of identity in the context of nomadic communities, migrants and refugees. The “Iu Mien Tapes” follows the path of the Iu Mien community, from their historic migration from China to Vietnam and Laos, through its participation in the Vietnam War, his life in refugee camps and settlements in the West final U.S.
After that, there were still time to talk about the Instituto Mexicano de la Basura [Mexican Waste Institute], another on-going project by Torolab, a platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas between specialists and citizens about the plight of the waste and is part of the project Residual. Once Residual has finished, the project will continue its development through the Embassy of Waste, a nomadic project that will extend the discussion to other places to continue entering data and generating links between specialists.
Daniel Hernández introduced Cuauhtémoc Medina and Mariana Botey of the curatorial collective El Espectro Rojo, or The Red Specter. They were presenting the first issue of a publishing project called “Critical fetishes. Residues of general economy“. With high-level text contributions from writers as Fran Ilich, Georges Bataille [with the text Vanished America, translated for the first time to Spanish] and Francesco Pellizzi, among others; they make a publication with great balance between text and art projects, like To whom does not belive it sons of a bitches by Teresa Margolles or Time Notes by Gustavo Romano.
We deeply believe that the cross-section through Mexico City that we were able to see at Postópolis! DF was really important for our understanding of the place. Cities are made by all of these: people with different interests, different jobs, social and economical problems, and much more. When you really want to get to know a city, you have to walk through it, to discover its secret places and even to get lost… and that’s exactly what happened to us in Postópolis! DF.
*We have ordered our walkscapes in Postópolis! DF using nine different tags that you can see here, at the pearltree and we will post our updates following those tags, so don’t miss the rest!!