the year is coming to an end. in catalunya, december is the headless chicken of the year, just wondering aimless waiting for everything to be over and done with. my own 2007 calvary is not-quite-finished. hopefully next month (year) you will find borderlandia up and running. all my border sh^t is deliciously piling up. i'm trying to whip up something for the next issue of monu. stay tuned. expect many-a-hideous thingys such as toxic cementeries, backdoor politics, bogus beautification, planned urban disaster and the wonderful world of narcotecture. meanwhile, i'm gonna download me some chalino sánchez to set the mood.



new nothing

everyone seems to be drooling over sanaa's new new museum in nyc's lower east side. the japanese always give designy people hardons. personally, i don't see what all the fuss is about. the new mu looks like a refined version of the lacaton&vassal palaisdetokyo formula of run-down shimmer and cool bareness.


still, i was delighted to read (i mean watch) sam jacob's last strangeharvest post with 20 pieces of sponsored architecture. i thought the whole thing was a joke. it probably is, a wink of sorts. anyway, it's the best review i've found so far. why didn't anyone notice this before?


childhood frustration leads to architecture

i wanted to be a musician, but i wasn't good enough so i became an architect...
renzo piano

yeah you see i started in an art school and or you see my intention was to became a painter. this what i do more personally in which i think is more intimate you see and in which myself you see i can expand maybe as a person you see inside the in a dialogue with myself is the painting and the sculpture.
santiago calatrava

- when you were a child, did you want to become an architect?
- no, I wanted to be anyone who wore interesting clothing: a priest, a policeman.
daniel libeskind


big picture

i am surrounded by architects and i have to deal with their shit all the time. architects can be very annoying people. one of the most annoying habits of architects is their conviction that architecture is so comprehensive and overarching, a one-size-fits-all worldview. this is not true, of course. architects have just about the same limited world-reading skills as any other traditional profession. architects might pretend to be really good at getting the big picture, sticking their fork into just about anything...same goes for politicians and bullshitters in general. i, on the contrary, feel that architects are particularly bad at the big picture, because they always want to control it and they usually over-simplify it. they believe in the big picture. architecture is just fine as a base preparation, but it would be good if architects were thrown out of architecture at the same time they are thrown out of architecture school. a degree in architecture doesn't make you particularly apt for anything other than "hardcore" architecture -tectonics, i guess. which isn't much. why don't architects learn to read space before they learn to build space? i'm just asking, little goyishe me.


recovering consumist assh*le

i left my apartment this morning in silence. two weeks ago, the third crap set of headphones i've bought in the last couple of months broke for good (after having uhu'ed them back together twice). last week my 30-gig ipod expired. it was only three years old. its premature passing has sparked a quiet rage within me. i'm getting better now, reading zygmunt bauman. feeling like a possibly recovering assh*le.


got mugged?

people never learn. first, that bloddy limey non-profit suggested in a recent add campaign that, like laura martínez puts it, mexicans wear awfull hats...and will give you aids. now it's some goddam bushwacker team dissing mexico to allure dumbfolk.

found it on ballardian:

walking past sta travel in collingwood (melbourne), I was struck by this advertisement: ‘i was mugged in mexico.’ sta targets the thrillseeking youngish backpacker scene, and it seems to have finally realised the futility of promoting mexico via the standard travel-industry imagery of tacos, burritos and tequilas to a street-smart, apparently narcissistic audience that has seen it all and done it all before.

this coming from a country of ex-cons...
pinches pendejos

(oh, the un-pc ranting about brits and aussies is just to give the post pizzaz. i really love anglos. really...)


crossborder ecology

700 miles of fence (not white picket) are rolling across the u.s-mex border faster than expected according to the nyt. aside from the obvious humanitarian concerns, a call for crossborder environmental conscience against the probable disruptive effects of the border's fake physical hardening is in order.

we can start with kevin lynch's 1974 temporary paradise?


reasons to love the us of a *

1. roadfood

*reasons to hate the us of a are pretty obvious for everyone. au contraire lots of people have no clue whatsoever of why you should love gringolandia too. i will sporadically share some of my reasons with y'all.



i have a lovehate relationship with magazines. when i'm lucid, i recognize them as generally useless, deceitful and disposable. other times i can't help being seduced by all that shine and prettiness.

i went up to the rack. i grabbed and leafed through the fashion mags. i felt naughty. i wanted some of that carne that looked so good. i almost couldn't help myself from buying vman with david gandy on the cover. i blushed it was so obscene and yummy.

but i cooled down, managed to resist, picked up the last issue of dwell instead. it felt like the right thing to do, after all, since the cover promised something about the new green revolution conscience or whatever. for a second i was happy with my strategic consumption choice. soon enough i realized the whole buy green thing was, in a sense, bullshit. i should have gone with the seminaked male model.

the issue is replete with the usual deluxy pads (talk about obscene) and supposedly eco must-haves. it was a nice match to the just as dissappointing october 2007 issue of metropolis mag, promising a "green leap forward" (btw, when did maoism become p.c. again?). sorry metropolis, but this time you sucked. arts&craftsy furniture with trees carved into them? sustainable carpeting? 130 euro camper shoes? is this the best we can do? is this really a good starting point?

does small is beautiful as in nouvelle cuisine apply to environmental concerns? will the current (peaking) green hype come crumbling down like its late-eighties culinary equivalent?

now i'm just angry and hungry and horny.


word 18 : sustain



1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
4. to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
5. to keep up or keep going, as an action or process.
6. to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life.
7. to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds.
8. to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval.
9. to uphold as valid, just, or correct.
10. to confirm or corroborate, as a statement.


what exactly do we want to sustain, anyway?


visit kabul

courtesy of archis

via archinect
more @ architecture of fear


sometimes i feel really stupid.

i was trying to think of why i'm drawn to architecture.
the answer is: because architecture is (still) an important component of space-making.

i was trying to think of why i'm drawn to space.
the answer is: because space is (still) an important component of experience.

truth is, though, i'm less and less drawn to architecture itself (architectural production, the world of architects, etc.) and more and more drawn to architectural spoils, leftovers.

fixation on failure is symptomatic of tercermundismo, i'm sure.


please make mine blues

nothing like some good 'ol early o'gorman to fight this sense of impending weekend blues...


totally slummy

apart from climate change, there may be no more pressing challenge to planetary health and security than the fate of slum dwellers.

john beardsley, a billion slum dwellers and counting


le blogger lisant

i have a problem. my eyes hurt, twitch. they betray me. i spend 9 or 10 hours a day staring at blinking scrolling screens. i have forgotten the quiet reads i had in school. reading now involves the purr of machines, printers and cpu's. i don't flip or feel pages anymore. i barely write anything by hand anymore, some post-its or jots on a notebook maybe. in school i took hand-written notes on notecards while reading. now i skim, scan, click, double-click, type. i wonder through amazon or google books instead of shelves. i'm addicted to wikipedia. i skip through nyt online and do a daily ceremonious blogroll. i've been blogging for over four years now, and i've changed. i don't know if it's for better or worse.

no doubt george steiner would disapprove.

gloss vs. gloss



1. a superficial luster or shine.
2. a false or deceptively good appearance.
3. a cosmetic that adds sheen or luster.



1. an explanation or translation, by means of a marginal or interlinear note, of a technical or unusual expression in a manuscript text.
2. a series of verbal interpretations of a text.
3. a glossary.
4. an artfully misleading interpretation.



we are sliding towards an irreversible obsession with totally visual communication. text is struggling to keep up. only dense, layered, information-rich text cuts it in the online world, preferably broken up with images and other information, which might explain why the blog form, in particular the visual blog, is currently so successful.

(things dixit)


happy halloween brew

happy halloween brew for y'all:

father of the cocktail @ the nyt + the most ludicrous story on the origins of the world (king axolot viii of mexico? huh?)

father of the monster mash, bobby picket

cosmic halloween special @ the bachelor pad

mexican horror movie list

santo vs. las momias de guanajuato


border horror picture show

throughout its history, the mexico-u.s. borderlands has been a grim scenario for unsightly horrors: vice barons, anarchists, fugitives, shakers, "apache" wars, conmen, bunkos, pochos, cabrito westerns, cartolandias, minutemen, narcosatanicos, polleros (people smugglers), womankillers...

and now blackwater mercenaries...

oy vey

spotted @ bldgblog



fall brings images of dead yellow leaves falling from the trees, candied skulls for dia de muertos and the october '73 global oil crisis. to celebrate, the centre canadien d'architecture is preparing its 1973: sorry, out of gas exhibition (and pre-exhibition short-film cycle).



oztotepec rules

i've had a crush on mauricio rocha's mercado de san pablo oztotepec for some time now. but this quaint profundo subtown in milpa alta (the near-rural southeastern corner of mexico city) seems to hold other little wonders...

could become a sort of diamond-in-the-rough alternative cultural pilgramage spot...if they manage to kick the local habit of lynching maybe...

*great pics by israfel67




levittown, 60. more : nyt

distraction / user

benjamin states that, in contrast to the concentrated contemplation of the individual absorbed work of art, ‘the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. this is most obvious with regards to buildings. architecture has always represented the prototype of a work of art the reception of which is consummated by a collectivity in a state of distraction. stan allen writes: ‘benjamin’s definition of distraction oscillates between an active form –distraction as deviation from habitual behaviour- and a passive form –a state of absent-mindedness enforced by habit and repetition.’ benjamin considers both forms of distraction preferable to the absorbed concentration of contemplation but status that the passive form of distraction is the usual experience of buildings.

according to benjamin the type of distraction, whether passive or active, is a result of the medium not the individuals who experience it. he associates distraction with shock; individuals are first passive and then made aware by the artwork. but the user does not necessarily need the stimulus of an outside agency in order to act. sudden realization is one way for the user to acquire understanding and awareness of architecture but habit is not necessarily passive because it enables understanding to growth and experience. rather than benjamin’s model of passive and active distraction, which should more accurately be called reactive distraction, i suggest three types of use: passive, reactive and creative. the passive user is predictable and unable to transform use, space and meaning. the reactive user modifies the physical characteristics of a space as needs change but must select from a narrow and predictable range of configurations largely defined by the architect. the creative user either creates a new space or gives an existing one new meanings and uses. creative use can either be a reaction to habit, result from the knowledge learned through habit, or be base don habit, as a conscious, evolving deviation from established behaviour.

jonathan hill, actions of architecture



pop is dead. love, starfucks


i walked into starbucks the other day. i was faced with this poster of a grinning dark-skinned woman from guatemala or whatever, standing in a green field with a basket on her back. i thought the poster should read "thank you for exploiting me!"



the motif i want to fix on is that of ennui. "boredom" is not an adequate translation, nor is langweile except, perhaps, in schopenhauer's usage; la noia comes much nearer. i have in mind manifold processes of frustration, of cumulative désoeuvrement. energies eroded to routine as entropy increases. Repeated motion or inactivity, sufficiently prolonged, secrete a poison in the blood, an acid torpor. febrile lethargy; the drowsy nausea (so precisely described by coleridge in the biographia literaria) of a man who misses a step in a dark staircase -- there are many approximate terms and images. baudelaire's use of "spleen" comes closest: it conveys the kinship, the simultaneity of exasperated, vague waiting -- but for what? -- and of gray lassitude:

rien n'égale en longueur les boiteuses journées,
quand sous les lourds flocons des neigeuses années
l'ennui, fruit de la morne incuriosité,
prend les proportions de l'immortalité.
--désormais tu. n'es plus, ô matière vivante!
qu'un granit entouré d'une vague épouvante,
assoupi dans le fond d'un sahara brumeux;
un vieux sphinx ignoré du monde insoucieux,
oublié sur la carte, et dont l'humeur farouche
ne chante qu'aux rayons du soleil qui se couche. *

[les fleurs du mal]

"vague épouvante," "humeur farouche" are signals we shall want to keep in mind. what i want to stress here is the fact that a corrosive ennui is as much an element of nineteenth-century culture as was the dynamic optimism of the positivist and the whig. it was not only, in eliot's arresting phrase, the souls of housemaids that were damp. a kind of marsh gas of boredom and vacuity thickened at crucial nerve-ends of social and intellectual life. for every text of benthamite confidence, of proud meliorism, we can find a counterstatement of nervous fatigue. 1851 was the year of the universal exhibition, but also of the publication of a group of desolate, autumnal poems, which baudelaire issued under the significant title les limbes. to me the most haunting, prophetic outcry of the nineteenth century is théophile gautier's "plutôt la barbarie que l'ennui!" if we can come to understand the sources of that perverse longing, of that itch for chaos, we will be nearer to an understanding of our own state and of the relations of our condition to the accusing ideal of the past.

george steiner. in bluebeard's castle. read now

nothing is as interminable as those limping days / when, beneath the heavy flakes of snowbound years / ennui, fruit of dreary apathy, / takes on dimensions of everlastingness. / henceforth, oh living form, you are nothing more / than a block of granite surrounded by an aura of indistinct terror, / drowsing in the deeps of a misty Sahara; / you are nothing more than an old sphinx disregarded by a careless world, / forgot on the map, an old sphinx whose fierce temperament / gives echoing reverberation only to the rays of the setting sun.


what next

a collective shame in the wake of this fiasco has left a massive crater in our understanding of modernity and modernization. what makes this experience disconcerting and (for architects) humiliating is the city's defiant persistence and apparent vigor, in spite of the collective failure of all agencies that act on it or try to influence it – creatively, logistically, politically.

yours, rem



contrary to what many say, humans did not invent waste; nature did...the difference, however, is that nature has mostly perfected its "waste management system."... all forms of waste are eventually consumed, used and recycled in a chain of matter and energy flow. but humans have persistently mismanaged their waste, creating new types at an increasing pace and in excessive quantities without establishing recovery mechanisms that enable their flow and circulation back into the cultural/natural systems. the key to this disparity might be our cultural constructs of and taboos regarding waste. these have largely interfered with wise management, confusing real and percieved dangers.

mira engler

*detail: andreas gursky, mexico (2001)



waste is what is worthless or unused for human purpose. it is a lessening of something without useful result; it is loss and abandonment, decline, separation and death. it is the spent and valueless material left alter some act of production or consumption, but can also refer to any used thing: garbage, trash, litter, junk, impurity and dirt. there are waste things, waste lands, waste time and wasted lives...

kevin lynch


the parable of the bee and the architect

have some marxy:

a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. but what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is that the architect builds the cell in his mind before he constructs it in wax. at the end of every labor process, a result emerges which has already been concieved by the worker at the beginning, hence aready existed ideally. man not only effects a change of form in the materials of nature; he also realises his own purpose in those materials...

from capital


tower suspended

thank god. i was even boring myself with all this talk about the torre bicentenario. fortunately, the project has been called off before i could get deeper into it. grupo danhos, the developer behind the project confirmed this yesterday. an informal meeting between marcelo ebrard, mexico city mayor, and a group of opposing neighbors a couple of days ago brought rumors that the project was being cancelled. danhos is already on the hunt for an alternative site, and the city government is hoping to keep the 60 million dollar projected investment the group along with spanish developer pontegadea had promised for the building. so, we might expect the fiery urban drama to keep unfolding elsewhere in the not-so-distant future (the city has promised to announce a new location by the end of this year). in the meantime, we can discuss more relevant matters.



i am so depressed with the crap i'm expected to read as an urban aficionado, not to mention as a moderate architecture enthusiast (downgraded enthusiasm after 3 years of dealing with architects and/or architectural ambience). i try so hard to find my way into spaces. theory seems like such a pain in the ass right now. i hate all this quick-quote cool-cut theory popping up everywhere paired with pictures of pogroms and prada pasted on top of each other. it is so difficult to stitch together a critical standpoint. i'm looking to expand my urban horizons. grade-c urban shock-journalism and yellow press seem suitable:

the new alarma!.* only the truth.

via notaroja

*beware! gruesome photos and even scarier cheesy photochopping.


tower and totem



1. a natural object or an animate being, as an animal or bird, assumed as the emblem of a clan, family, or group.
2. an object or natural phenomenon with which a family or sib considers itself closely related.
3. a representation of such an object serving as the distinctive mark of the clan or group.
4. anything serving as a distinctive, often venerated, emblem or symbol.

beyond hybrid and fad, neoprehispanic architectures in mexico have been very much about politics. in the form of neoaztec, mayan revival or even officialist state architecture (barroco priísta), neoprehispánico style has shaken pastiche, indigenismo, bloated patriotism, brutalism and a dash of altantic (from atlantis) fantasy in the process of concocting modern-day totems for the nation.

theme-wise, the oman scheme for the torre bicentenario (a pyramid set on top of another inverted one) is just a (too) late, skimmed-down, space-aged, millennium-friendly adaptation of the same architectural bosh that comes and goes every so often in the name of fathom and effigy.

a brief recapitulation of mexicanista neostyles would be fun and in order as a backdrop to this candyland bicentenario brief.

come now, let us visit the prehispanismo of the late 1800s, the messy spillovers of border revival styles, the primitivist fantasies of postrevolutionary experiments, the glories of post-ww2 internationalized aztequismo; hell, we might even get us some 80’s-90’s technotzompantli

tower and nyt

the new york times just ran a little something on the torre bicentenario scandal, nicely condensed, as usual. i like it that they point to the affair in all its libretto cheesiness:

an influential developer plans an enormous skyscraper at the edge of the city’s giant central park. a celebrity architect is commissioned, and the ambitious mayor unveils the proposal at city hall. instantly, the prospective tower’s largely genteel neighbors rise up in arms. they vow to tie the plan up in lawsuits and procedural reviews. there is also a reclusive investor, a much-questioned relationship between the mayor and the developer and a building on the site that, though it has long been ignored, preservationists now want saved.

it could be new york.

but this is mexico city, and the fight over what would be latin america’s tallest skyscraper — at 300 meters, or 984 feet — takes on a tinge of high drama...


tower and heritage

revolution baking, vladimir kaspé popped out of the oven. it was 1910, mexico was overthrowing a modernist dictator and russia was getting ready for a second shot at revolution. the countries' paths would cross intensely in the next couple of decades, and major soviet figures would flock to mexico for whatever reason (be it communist intrigue, cultural fascination or running away from stalin; from trotsky and alexandra kollontai to maiakovsky and einsenstein). kaspé came after the big soviet infiltration fuss was about over (around 1942), and mexico's own version of revolution was well on its way to being "institutionalized" (that is, neutralized) through single-party corporate authoritarianism. it was also around this time that the base values of the struggle (popular, agrarian reform, social equality, wealth redistribution, etc.) were belied into those of the "peaceful revolution", or "constructive period" (urban, modernizing, industrial, middle-class, state-control, etc).

kaspé had gone to school in paris with mario pani, the pet architect of the developmentalist regime (the hand behind the unam and tlatelolco). pani invited him to mexico to be editor of arquitectura méxico, local modernist bible. kaspé also started building: the lycée franco-mexicain, the centro deportivo israelita, the economics faculty at the unam, the roussell labs. quite the hardcore functionalist, kaspé thought architecture should "furnish the country with that which is necessary and sufficient." his legacy has been kept by a private trust, that recently got its own cultural center by BH architects.

kaspé's first mexican project (1946-1948) was a multi-use, multi-function, "ahead of it's time" bulding: the super servicio lomas, now slated for demolition to open the way for oma's torre bicentenario, intended to occupy the same site. in its day, the super servicio included a gas station, a car dealership, a minimart and the ciro's de las lomas nightclub, where everett hoagland played and boppy starlets such as as los hooligans, julissa, los jiggers and enrique guzmán fought the 1960 "radio exitos" duel (apparently fans who got left outside of the packed event trashed the place). only five years ago, the super servicio lomas was trashed again ("refurbished", as they say), this time by matthai architects.

the building was hardly noticed before the tower was anounced. it wasn't listed as heritage (only a provisional "building of exceptional value" decree was anounced by the national fine arts institute in the midst of the bicentenario scandal). i heard somewhere that louise noelle, a relatively well-known architecture historian who happens to be the authority on both pani and kaspé, and who has become very outspoken against the tower, is also gabriela cuevas's (the miguel hidalgo delegada heading the snob résistance against oma and the city government, see older post) mother-in-law.

personally, i don't get this whole preservationist appeal biz. first of all, the building is not the original, it has suffered various major alterations (including to the beautiful concrete nautilus garage). moreover, its razing could actually culminate the building's pseudo-revolutionary vocation. considering the regime and culture that brought it to being, the demise of the super servicio lomas would close a mini-circle of extinguishing dissent and upheaval, the turnover to reactionary consumerism, the ultimate lasting heritage of postrevolutionary mexico. a living testimony to our failed (and still failing) path to revolution.


tower and scandal

a couple of months ago, oma unleashed the torre bicentenario project on their website. in mexico city, word about the proposal was out before, and a major political scandal was in the making. intended as an urban benchmark for the celebrations of the country's independence 200th aniversary in 2010, the construction of the tower has stirred a bitter political debate and revealed the exasperating state of development affairs and the dispiriting urban aptitude of local actors and decision-makers. once again, formal or professional criteria have been left out of the discussion, and the whole thing has turned into a big local political pissing contest.

driving down the flawless section of paseo de la reforma that crosses las lomas (formerly known as chapultepec heights, and commonly reffered to as "el beverly hills mexicano"), something seems off. not drivers and thugs washing their bosses' hummers or sportscars, not the uniformed maids scooping-up dog poo from the perfect lawns on the median strips, not even the total absence of any means of public transportation...

what seems strange this time around is the "civic resistance" movement that announced on posters and plaques on the massive walls of most of the mansions in the area, with bold statements like:

RESPETO A NUESTRAS COLONIAS...¡NO A LA MEGATORRE! (respect our "colonies" -that's what we call neighborhoods in mexico- ... no to the mega-tower!)

the rich have reacted. they are afraid the tower will take a chunk from chapultepec park (just like they did to develop their own lots forty years back) and generate congestion (just like they do with their high-end schools and shopping malls and restaurants and valet parking stops) in the area. they don't want a skyscraper blocking sunlight from their 500m2 backyards. they don't want all those yucky middle-class corporate types with their cheap suits and tsurus adding to the already hectic everyday life threatening their fenced (more precisely, fortified) privileged havens. and they have their delgada (the city is divided in administrative districts called delegaciones, headed by an elected delegate, a sort of submayor) on their side. funny: miguel hidalgo, the delegación where the tower is to be located, is not only the richest district in the city, but also the only one headed by the right-wing pan, the main rivals of the city's left-wing government led by marcelo ebrard and the prd (the president of mexico is from the pan, after beating the prd in a sketchy and still-contested election).

the promoters of the tower, on the other hand, have the full backing of the city government. funny: a huge, private development, with a whole lot of juicy personal interests involved. this is the "left-wing" urban politics we've grown accostumed to in the past years. the government of the poor and needy is also the government of the privatization and gentrification of downtown, of huge investments in transportation infrastructure catering to automobiles (when 70% of the city relies on limited and sometimes shitty public transport), of stinky agreements with big business. funny: the "independence" tower is half financed by spanish boss amancio ortega of inditex (the zara mogul). funny: the other half is provided by grupo danhos, one of the largest real-estate developers in the country. the city government has been kind to the group, that has built 4 huge shopping centers in the last couple of years, and the gigantic reforma 222 mixed-use development, currently ongoing construction.

the old pri (70-year single-party rule in the country people) has gotten in on the game: "we believe this is a patriotic pretext to cover up a big business deal, and therefore there is no way we can accept it" said the party senate leader maría de los ángeles moreno (i guess she means they only accept it when it came from within the pri).

i wonder what koolhaas thinks. or if it's important.


back ¿home?

landed on soft barcelona. city sparkling and bubbly. full of tourist types, lost where i knew. after mexico spain seems to be switzerland. i breathe deep. the mediterranean drag is getting to me. feels good.

df left behind. felt she was a little ingrate, maybe jealous. rained down on me for weeks. in the end though, it is the only place i feel real in every sense.

now for the promised flashbacks.


late report

the blow of being back was bigger than expected. i left df (méxicocity) for barcelona may 2006, and hadn't returned since. i forgot what a monster the city is. a constant soft collapse. a wide, circular wreck. half-finished, permanent urban adolescence. the city is just the same as i left it, but worse. here it is as if change only served the grip of the ancient (not so much ancient aztec as ancient pri). change is going back to what we missed and was modern in the seventies. it is so strange and exhausting and infuriating to sense the state pseudourbanity and pseudourbanism in the city. not only is the physical quality of our city grade c, but the overall quality of urban production is absolutely lame, taken buy architectural aristocramediocrity, jerk-off politics and fat rich entrepreneurial rogues. the late-nineties promise of a new phase of city-level democracy (we elected our first mayor in 1997) and urban youngblood feeding neighboorhood life and local production has been miscarried. flaming new barrios go bad in a matter of months, consumed and wasted (the condesa was charming, now it feels cheap)(the centro might be going going gone, as it looses itself to money). huge public expenses go into infrastructure projects that are but temporary glorifications of local (segundo piso) or federal (megabiblioteca) politics, and long term urban traps.

i'm trying to take it in. there is quite the efervesence going on, although efervesence here usually consist of shit being thrown between factions. the latest is the scandal around oma's torre bicentenario, the current fad in local dissing and manipulation. i'll get to it. we also have the projected emptying of the centro histórico with the (negotiated) relocation of the ambulantes (informal vendors) away from the streets of the perímetro a (first section) and into lots and buildings expropriated by the city government. i also wonder if ricky burdett and the lse crew are still advising marcelo ebrard, the city mayor. oh, and i couldn't miss the bipolar construction boom that still has the city by the balls: massive upper-class developments like the ones sprouting all over from reforma to santa fe and the even more massive "social housing" developments splattered onto the periphery, levittown on spurios steroids.

brace yourselves.


no place like home

back to the mother(f*ckr)land for vacation. yey! will be reporting live and directo from méxico monster city. starting monday. hasta prontou.


border nota roja: migra shot my daddy

a 23-year old alleged pollero (people smuggler) was shot four times in the chest (and killed, obviously) wednesday night around 9:45 p.m. by a border patrol agent at cypress and delta in el paso, right off of the fence with ciudad juárez. josé alejandro ortiz castillo attempted to cross with three other people, one of them a woman. apparently he was carrying a pair of tweezers, and the agent felt threatened (other versions state that he also carried a rock). his body was found on the mexican side of the rio bravo/grande. josé alejandro had been previously caught 28 times crossing illegaly into the u.s. since 1999. according to el diario, his family considerd that josé alejandro was a good person, even though he misbehaved ocasionally. nothing worth being killed for. neighboors described him as a person of mistakes and kindness, always buying goodies for his kids. he is survived by three little pollitos (chuy, joan and bryan; respectively five, four and two years old), a teary widow and a 20 year-old girlfriend he had been living in "free union" with for two years. his widow is an american citizen and lives with their children in el paso.

more (en español)
more (en español)

*border nota roja will be posted regularly @ borderlandia when i get it up and running properly (hopefully september).


ask the dust

this is the l.a. building where john fante wrote ask the dust. apparently it is slated for demolition. read more / see more



russian youth being tecnoindoctrinated (mtv russia style). a f*ck'dup mix of pop&politics (popolitics)(can also read like crap politics) on a scale only the kremlin could offer. putin-funded summercamps and rock concerts, youngster magazines and mandy moore-ish comissars and anti-condom slogans. sending electronica chills down your teenie-sensitive spine. go watch.



following up on the prior post, i just noticed jean charlot (frenchy russian artist guy who lived in mexico in the twenties/thirties and then moved to hawaii). i've passed a few of his murals in méxicocity, not knowing they were his. but his mexitiki murales done in the fifties are the ones i like the best. ajúacawabunga.



méxicocity is constantly unearthed. latest one: the probable tomb of ahuizotl, next-to-last tlatoani of the mexicas (aztecs) found in downtown mexico city. the name ahuizotl comes from a sort of mongrel underwater dog monkey creature with a paw for a tail. kewl.

* detail of josé guadalupe posada's cover for: "the mountain of skulls, or the cruelties of king ahuizote", part of the biblioteca del niño mexicano (mexican child's library) series.

via archinect