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WA/SA [waldrip architects/ s.a.] [architecture- los angeles]

Alberti, Sandro Tijuana, Made in Mexico?; 26 October, 2002 [text25]

Working 9-5, at...

‘WA/SA’, ‘Aloha8’, and ‘Working 9 to 5, at...’

Some days ago, I had the opportunity to visit Tijuana, in a slightly ‘unusual’ manner (there would be no construction work, ‘pro bono’, in favor of the Esperanza schools). I think it ended up being a more sophisticated visit. At least, I think I had to describe it as such; well, it is already some weeks ago that a Newsweek article was published, Exhibit at the CeCuT. entitled ‘The World’s New Culture Meccas’ [2 September, 2002]. In it, Tijuana is identified in the following manner, amongst 8 innovative international ‘capitals’: “Partly because of nortec, but for many other reasons as well, Tijuana is in the middle of an artistic flowering that has drawn attention from television executives and museum curators from New York to Tokyo. Artists of all stripes are re-examining the hybrid culture of Tijuana that exists between the glitz of San Diego and the factory life Diego Rivera could have painted... [For years,] Tijuana has beckoned to people from all over Mexico and Latin America for years. First came the fortune seekers eager to cross into the States. Those who didn’t make it set up in sprawling shantytowns on the outskirts of town. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 brought another flood of migrant workers. This eclectic and ambitious mix of ideas, cultures and tastes helped spawn a thriving frontier atmosphere. Unlike their predecessors, who often rejected their roots in Tijuana because of the town’s seedy reputation, this generation takes pride in its heritage... [And that has generated a new type of art,] inspired by technology. The city has attracted several cyberfestivals in the last few years featuring guerrilla art, virtual sit-ins and activist speakers. Artists and producers abroad are taking a growing interest in Tijuana. The film troupe Bulbo, which makes short documentaries on Mexican social issues, is on the verge of signing a broadcast deal with Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the United States. Others are stepping in to help ensure that the current trend continues. [For example,]Luis Ituarto, a cultural promoter in Los Angeles, is organizing an exchange program with art centers in New York, Mexico City and Tijuana ([this, funded by] the Rockefeller Center and the Mexican Banco de Comercio...” We see, thus, what has been kept ‘foremost’, particularly during the 20th-anniversary

are fictions of fen-om: [www.fen-om.com]

20th anniversary.

‘Century 21’.

‘Living in Comfort’- Torolab.

celebration of the CeCuT (‘Cultural Center of Tijuana), which I attended that night, a short while ago. Several events had been held throughout the week, and, of course, on that particular Thursday night, as a part of the celebration. The Cultural Center, symbolic monolith, remains frozen, eternal, just like when I first ‘discovered’ it, back in 1982. These days, it has gained an anchor status, in the developing chain of monuments that line the Paseo de los Héroes [chic ‘main street’ in Tijuana]. And I remember that, as a matter of fact, this compound has continued to promote a local culture to the point that it now begins to ‘take flight’ (probably in the last 8 years, thanks to the administrators and employees that make up its ‘soul’). But this is not a straightforward ‘takeoff’; perhaps ‘realistic’; the type of ‘real liberty’ that is being presented these days in a musical triptych by Luis Montes (Guadalajara), in which the final third, representative of ‘freedom’, is actually the heaviest, burdened with fluttering energy, the fear of falling, the shifting currents. Very real. Perhaps too real, because, just like a friend recently described the ‘beautiful people’ of Mexico City as an absolute ‘standard’ (in comparison to Jalisco’s ‘villagers’), what would people in Guadalajara think of Tijuana’s artists meeting socially at a streetwise level that promotes its essential cultural vision? How would I explain to my fellow cityzens what Tijuana is about, when it is with such difficulty that they accept the ‘modern’, or even the ‘less refined’, in their own city? And, more difficult, is the fact I do not write here of greater or lesser refinement, because the love of the ‘urban modern’ in Tijuana can be as historicist, as ‘snob’,… as the colonial in Guadalajara (it might be that the border’s history is not as long, but it can be just as impenetrable). Or maybe the fear is private, personal. It might be that I already know too much about the worst in Mexican society (a whole mess that not even international proximity might be able to unravel).

‘Visionary flood of Alcohol’- de la Torre.

‘Platforms’- Candiani.

Arriola, Magali; © Urban Diagnostics; CeCuT; 24 October, 2002 In [a published] investigation… architect/ urbanist Rem Koolhaas pointed out that, since “today the urban condition is transforming faster than ever,… contemporary language is incapable of describing a city, unable to name and interpret its mutations”… Since we need to evolve our architectural/ urban vocabulary, Koolhaas developed and copyrighted 77 terms/ concepts… Considering the geographic [-political] location of Tijuana,… this new vocabulary could [easily] apply. We know that the growth of this city in the last years has not necessarily followed the mandates of those regulating organisms that aspire towards the realization of political, economic, and social spaces. Rather, it has been prompted by the spontaneous strategies that the population has generated in order to satisfy its personal needs… [In 1997[, Tijuana’s government attempted to obtain copyright for the name of the city, in order to “take care of the image of the city and protect its good name”… How is it possible that, by decree, anyone would attempt to define the city’s multiple images?… The © exhibit juxtaposes Koolhaas’ developments and the concept of trademark,… [exposing the] urban condition, and the cultural expressions that are derived from it, as a response to the spontaneous fluctuations of its multiple actors…

‘YMCA Home for Migrant Minors’- O. Castellanos.

‘YMCA Mariano Matamoros Center’- I. Martinez.

As a starting point, the exhibit takes up the implications of the development of the CeCuT (“dignifying symbol of the dynamics of a new Tijuana”; Pedro Ochoa Palacio; CeCuT 1994). Its architectural proportions, appropriate derivatives of a visionary 18th century architecture, determined “the development of surrounding real estate” [Jorge A. Bustamante; CeCuT 1994]; [and its activities affect]... The social, political, and cultural dynamics of the city. Architectural alternatives… (Teddy Cruz) and the recovery/ transformation of public spaces… (Manuel Varona) engage in a dialogue with the creation of quotidian narratives… (such as the photographs of Ivonne Venegas, the work of Ana Machado, or the proposals of Julio Orozco). The importance of the culture of recycling, linked to phenomena such as the development of maquiladoras (Jaime Ruiz Otis), and even the phenomenon of natural recycling reveal a narrow interweaving composed, in every day life, by the phenomenon of immigration and its distinct hybridizations (Marcos Ramírez Erre, Jamex y Einar de la Torre). The representations and reinterpretations of urban fields are also made present in those interventions that decry the logic of spectacle and its mediatization (Iván Díaz Robledo), and even the integration of some visions of Tijuana as ‘futurist cosmopolis’ (Salvador Ricalde). ----So, thus, I discovered something of what has been sprouting in Tijuana all these years, because the oeuvres presented at the CeCuT on October 24th, beyond arranging a particular exhibit, reflect a constant and generalized yearning; and these are some of its main protagonists [the following ‘reflections’ are based on what has been made available via Internet]: Marcos Ramírez ‘Erre’: This is the famous author of the deformed Trojan (‘Tijuanan’) horse, made with 2 heads (to indicate a bipartite range of ‘attack’, north-south), and that was installed a few years ago at the main border crossing. Continuously noticeable are this artist’s 3d pieces (very ‘architectural’; amongst these, the ‘Presidential Bed’, richly crafted in various woods that represent 3 centuries of colonization; and ‘Century 21’, that plays with the idea of real estate, in the development of a typical hillside shed, but right in the middle of the CeCuT). Here, in Urban Diagnostics, he presents images of some work, as well as a kitsch-architectural visit to a graveyard). ToroLab: Recently ‘renowned’ on both sides of the border, thanks to the ‘spectacular’ exhibition organized at the Museum of Contemporary Art- San Diego. This is a group (a ‘collective’, organized by Raúl Cárdenas Osuna) that seeks to combine architecture, fashion, music (NorTec-derived, of course), design, etc. in a very ‘chic-lounge’ way. Regarding its production of ‘fashion’, they continue to present colored t-shirts, silk-screened with contemporary urban graphics (these tend to be presented on the walls, ever more as mosaics, rather than wearable garments). At the CeCuT, they present much of the same work, reconstituted, that had already been on display in San Diego (urban projections combined over an architectural model). Eimar + Jaimex de la Torre: Origianlly from Guadalajara, they work on both sides of the border. They superimpose fragments and elements until 2d becomes 3d (full of textures and colors, that reveal a sense of ‘horro vacuii’). They combine the acceptable with the unexpected, the funny, and the uncomfortable. Acamonchi: ‘Extra-cultural’ group based in San Diego (they make a point of announcing that they are not Chicanos;… the group’s ‘organizers’, apart from Gerardo Yepiz, are located in Ensenada and Tijuana, and collaborate internationally). Its members focus on promoting art, graffiti, design, experimental music. On the Mexican side of the border, they distribute tons of flyers, stickers, and

‘Orthodoncy’- Minjares.

‘Sector T’- Ricalde.

‘McDonalds’- Rosique.

graffiti. On the American side, it is more of an Art project. PO Box 4737; San Diego, CA 92164-4737 www.acamonchi.com kaliman@acamonchi.com info@acamonchi.com ICQ: 63587473 Tania Candiani: Known for her representations of women’s roles in Mexico. In her sewn canvases, she represents images of women with multi-colored threads that recall surgical stitching and the restrictive laces found in corsets. In other works, she explores remorse and ritualistic aspects associated with eating. Octavio Castellanos: Photographer. Interested in documenting the life of children living in a border town. You may see some related images from the First Photo-Documentary in Tijuana [http://f8.com/ FP/TIJUANA/indice.htm]. ocaste@telnor.net Iván Díaz Robledo (‘Piniaman’): Video-artist. Founder of the collaborative projects entitled ‘Vagos’ (‘Bums’) and ‘Arteria’ (‘Artery’). As a member of the NorTec Visual Collective, he produces and promotes photo-documentaries, experimental video, and events. ivan@zu33.com Ana Machado: Has formed, together with some collaborators, the group ‘Pepito’. Since 1999, they ‘manufacture’ musical rhythms. They play live, and their first album, ‘Migrante’, was released in 2001. They have also produced a video (‘Coca Cola en las Venas’), presented at INSite-2000 and Urban Diagnostics (it deals with the contrast between center and periphery, modern and traditional, work and leisure, possibilities and impossibilities, known and unknown space). PO Box 410372; San Francisco, CA, 94141-0372 Itzael Martínez: Younf photographer interested in ‘visual’ investigation. You may see some related images from the First Photo-Documentary in Tijuana [http://f8.com/FP/TIJUANA/indice.htm]. Enrique Minjares: His work deals with childhood, via an autobiographical iconography. Utilizing resources such as painting, ‘collages’, and mixed media, he reinterprets the ‘child’s drawing’ into a current perspective. Julio Orozco: Photographer/ conceptual artist. One of his current interests is the documentation of all of Baja California’s movie theaters (‘Theaters of the Past; Projections towards the Future’, in which he combines photographs, designs, and video of movie patrons, reincorporating all in videos that are finally projected over the theaters’ facades). Salvador V. Ricalde: Movie producer. In ‘ZooSonico’ [2001], he combines music and video in order to contemplate the relationship between man and machine (high-tech maquiladoras). Roberto Rosique: Although he emphasizes ink and acrylic in his oeuvre, he really uses any media (‘collage’, serigraphy, sculpture, xylography, monotype, dry point, photocopies, etc.). He accomplishes, through mixed media, a ‘neo-graphic’. He is also a doctor, a fact that enriches his artistic career. He also develops narrative literature, through which he manages to critique his own art and that of his contemporaries. He develops abstract and spontaneous works, but is particularly interested in documenting the plight of undocumented migrant workers (and the denigrating manner in which they are treated by the united States). Jaime Ruiz Otis: This artist re-uses discarded materials found in the many garbage bins of the industrial parks in Tecate, Tijuana, and San Diego. Ivonne Venegas: She has spent several years compiling color photographs that explore the lives

‘Signals’- Jaime Ruiz Otis.

‘Consuelo’- Venegas.

A textual photo by Heriberto Yépez.

‘Odyssey 2002’- A. Moreno.

of friends at social gatherings and ‘at home’. These distinct photographs combine the intimacy of casual-instant photography and the critical eye of a social anthropologist. Doubtless the fact that her father was a professional wedding photographer, brought focus to Venegas regarding the rituals and aspirations of a Catholic culture. Heriberto Yépez: Writer, translator. He has founded 2 magazines and 2 independent editorials in Mexico. He is a literary critic on papers and Internet. He has published 3 poetry books, 4 fictions, and a text on essays: ‘Esays for Disconcert and Some Critical Fiction’. He is considered to be one of the new voices in Mexican poetry.

‘Laboratorio Tijuana’- Estudio Cruz.

Profile for Sandro Alberti

Tijuana, Made in Mexico?  

20th anniversary of the CeCuT- Tijuana, reveals ways in which Tijuana is taking off, perhaps 'away' from Mexico.

Tijuana, Made in Mexico?  

20th anniversary of the CeCuT- Tijuana, reveals ways in which Tijuana is taking off, perhaps 'away' from Mexico.

Profile for salberti