a bunch of appo (popular assembly of peoples of oaxaca) kids taking over some billboards in posh polanco neighboorhood, méxicocity. i'm not into the type of politics these people are pushing, but i must admit this specific tactic is quite appealing. marcos, montblanc and nicolas cage. makes your stomach churn.
(clic on pic for more)
no mames wey. (slang). mexican for “you’ve got to be f*cking kidding me”
“in 1810, mexico gained its independence from spain. 100 years later the mexican revolution began mexico’s political modernity. a century later mexico and its capital stand at the brink of another quantum leap: a nation at home in a globalized world, in which economic prosperity and a new cultural flourishing promise to transform the nation and its capital”
oma’s torre bicentenario 2010 (bicentennial tower) to become “the tallest skyscraper in the third world.”
mexico…celebrating 200 years of independence and 130 years of colonialist capitalism
"america has changed me...i am now a much less private person, more open, prepared to say more. i have even changed my view of sexual love. in my other films, i looked upon sex as a disease of love. i learned here that sex is only a part of love; to be open and understanding of each other, as the girls and boys of today are, is the important part. but it is not fair to ask questions of me before i put my picture together. the responsibility is mine. it is me in front of the camera saying what I feel about my america."
*shot form zabriskie point
from the nyt:
in these five canvases (thomas) cole laid out the rise and fall of an unidentified but seemingly greco-roman empire, from “the savage state,” with hunters and gatherers foraging under forbidding skies, to “the arcadian or pastoral state,” in which the natives have acquired a temple and some landscaping skills. fast-forward to “the consummation of empire”: nature has been overrun by classical architecture (cole borrowed compositional ideas from j. m. w. turner’s painting “dido building carthage,” which he had seen in london) and regal processions. in “destruction” the state is swallowed by a tempest of smoke and fire; finally “desolation” reigns at the site, now a pile of rubble, with only decayed traces of humanity.
don't get me wrong. i love city of sound. it's smart, sympa, and usually impeccable. i have a problem with monocle, though. i'm totally into the idea of working "with the system" or even "within the system" instead of "against the system" countercultural neohippie or neomarxist naomiklein crap that's been proven useless before. but sometimes, if you get fucked up the ass too much, you might start to actually like it and forget about the reason you accepted to take it in the first place. ¿what makes cities desirable? ¿livability? ¿what do the guys and gals at monocle mean by livability? ¿niceness, correctness? ¿managed, unconflictive diversity? ¿shinyhappydirtfree "urban villages"? my god, ¿what is this? ¿the XIXth century redux? a perfect little cityscape of delicious breads, cakes, "textured milk", special edition knitwear and outsanding service, a milanese laundry, fresh seasonal blooms "without a dyed carnation or celofane wrapper in sight"... jesusxist, ¿who are these people? ¿are they SERIOUS? ¿is this what snotty british folk crave? ¿this is your idea of global dynamics? ¿picking the bestest and cutiest boutiques and shops and espresso bars in the world and cramming them on a single street so you can walk back and forth in beautiful pointlessness? i probably wouldn't want to live in any of their top 20 liveable cities (¿honolulu?) anytime before i'm like 40 or something. and i already do... ¿am i wrong? ¿are my sensibility and my idea of what makes cities cities a result of me being damaged thirldworld goods? ¿am i the only one here who finds this neoaristocratic citybeautiful cityslick gross? ¿why am i writing my questions with upsidedown question marks at the beggining?
it all started with a night on the town. i led the group. we drove up eje central, and somehow missed el 33. we reached plaza garibaldi, u-turned for another try. nothing. we stopped the car. i crossed the street and realized when i reached the corner that the rubble in front of me was the 33, its remains, anyway. it had been demolished. bye bye. no more. nothing left. no one cares. i was shocked. i wanted to puke. i called miss m and gave her the tragic news. she thought i was joking. we never took pictures. a few weeks later we returned and a fugly "social housing" apartment block was being built. it was raining. a few months later, the hotel bamer, one of the last refuges in the centro (that kept its original progressive accretion of interior styles from 50's cool to 70's beaurocratic barroque) was closed for "refurbishment." i took pictures of the empty insides from the window. everything was gone or faded: the grand fiberglass greek sculptures and grand piano in the lobby, the mirrored walls and fake pink marble tables and coral-colored polyester roses of the bamerette (the cafeteria). i thought it was the end. i was desperate. the wasteland of crooked empty building skeletons that towered over the alameda as a testimony to the 1985 earthquake were cleansed and replaced with sparkling generic business class hotels.
the drive behind my work and involvement with the centro has been profoundly emotional. downtown mexico city is an area I’ve been fixed on making my own since i was a teenager. the more I scouted the centro, the more it became a place both exotic and intimate, a site of complexities: awful, decadent, vibrant, rude, stunning, nerve-racking, revealing. it stood as a total compression and concentration of what the city is, has been, could be. then the “rescate” (rescue) came. buildings have been demolished or revamped. empty lots turned into mixed-use developments with rooftop swimming pools. part of the centro has been permanently erased. nonetheless, instead of an attempt at saving hints of what’s left and retracing old places, i have tried to dissect the sites and processes of the gentrification scheme, hoping to build alternatives for reactivation instead of renewal.
towards the margins, friday everything’s fine. i met miss m for a beer. we chose el 33. tiny red tables and royal blue walls. the ceiling is covered with leftover balloons and mixed christmas poinsettas / saint valentine’s paper hearts. a woman with a deep voice singing an old bolero on the jukebox: podrás cambiar de nombre, de patria de todo, modificar tu rostro tu historia tu modo, pero por más que borres, que limpies, que cambies…la huella de mis besos tendrás en la cara… thalía poster and pictures of this guy called rafaello with a mullet and a bow tie. red saloon doors, red chairs. the windows are barred with wrought-iron fish. a sad place, home to 12 o’clock drunkards. a guy comes up to us, his name is octavio, starts bragging about being a hustler and sleeping with his cousin and killing a man. he showed us the scars on his belly from when he was stabbed once. miss m danced to a doors song. octavio told me i look very fresita, that i probably got charged double for the beer. i said i got charged $15 for the beer like everyone else, that its one thing if people want to think i’m a fresita, but another if they want to think i’m an asshole. he seems smart. i felt sad for him. he said i’m cute, but not that cute. he said i could make some money there, like him. he was picking on this old queen with curly hair. miss m called him el niurka. el niurka offered us some of his pink goey drink in a cognac glass, a conejo, he said. el niurka told octavio he loved him. octavio told el niurka to keep his stinky breath away.
:: as far as i know, this is all that's left of el 33
apologize for deadtime. i'm pretty much done with masters work, so posting will be up-n-running again with usual frequency next week. i'll start with a generous sneakpeek of my AQUÍ project, an ongoing research on gentrification, failure and popculture in downton mexico city. phase A of the research is done. phase B might well have an online ramification. my borderlandia paper is due for mid july, so in august the english translation of my tidbits will begin appearing on the blog. thank you for your patience.
i leave you with an opening quote for AQUÍ:
"camp doen’t reverse things. it doesn’t argue that the good is bad, or the bad is good. what it does is to offer a different -a supplementary- set of standards … (camp is) the sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience… the whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious."
susan sontag, notes on camp