Conquering and Constructing the Common

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The exhi­bi­ti­on explo­res the orga­ni­sa­ti­on of everyday life in the poor com­mu­ni­ti­es on the perip­hery of Mexico City

MUAC, 27. 11. 2013 — 2. 2. 2014, Mexico City

Curators: Amanda de la Garza, Alejandra Labastida, Ignacio Pla / Communities invol­ved in the pro­ject: Asamblea Comunitaria Miravalle (one of the poorest young com­mu­ni­ti­es on the edge of the city), Calpulli Tecalco A.C., Milpa Alta (an indi­ge­no­us Indian com­mu­nity on the edge of the city), Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral – Cereal (a gro­up of Jesuits who act accor­ding to the prin­ci­ples libe­ra­ti­on the­ology), Unión de Colonos, Inquilinos y Solicitantes de Vivienda, Cananea (a poor com­mu­nity on the edge of the city with 40 years of expe­ri­en­ce in self-organization


In a coun­try with a hig­hly dif­fe­ren­ti­ated popu­la­ti­on and a non-fun­c­ti­oning sta­te sys­tem, perip­he­ral impo­ve­ri­shed com­mu­ni­ti­es can work only than­ks to for­ms of self-orga­ni­sa­ti­on thro­ugh which they com­pen­sa­te for the defi­ci­en­cy and dysfun­c­ti­ona­lity of ins­ti­tu­ti­onal struc­tu­res. Videos recor­ded during field research>

The artist set up the mate­ri­als ari­sing from her field rese­ar­ch into the­se com­mu­ni­ti­es in the Museum of Contemporary Art as a video ins­tal­la­ti­on, shif­ting them, then, from the out­skirts into the cen­tre. She also invi­ted mem­bers of the self-orga­ni­sing com­mu­ni­ti­es to talk abo­ut exam­ples of the­ir prac­ti­ce, orga­ni­sed wor­k­shops, invi­ted experts, stu­dents and other gues­ts. This was not just abo­ut a one-way pene­tra­ti­on of a for­bid­den zone, or just abo­ut ope­ning up the spa­ce of visi­bi­lity of the depri­ved, but a rever­si­ble tran­s­lo­ca­ti­on, the inter­fe­ren­ce of soci­al fiel­ds. The cen­tre that inclu­des muse­um and muse­um public fin­ds the perip­he­ral impo­ve­ri­shed com­mu­ni­ti­es repug­nant, com­mu­ni­ti­es that it does not know and into which it does not wan­der, abo­ut which it cre­ates opi­ni­ons based on bad news and fear.

If what dis­tur­bs the domi­nant sys­tem of knowled­ge and inte­res­ts is repug­nant, and Andreja Kulunčić reve­als this spa­ce of repug­nan­ce to be a spa­ce of cre­ati­vity and soli­da­rity, of a strug­gle for a bet­ter life for the com­mu­nity, and inven­ti­on, then she is having an empowe­ring effect on both systems.

Aware that she is her­self in a posi­ti­ve pole of power, she makes use of her pri­vi­le­ged posi­ti­on, that of a whi­te, European fema­le artist, to awa­ken the tran­sfer to the­se subal­tern voices. Pulling the­se impo­ve­ri­shed com­mu­ni­ti­es into the sys­tem, she cre­ates a para­doxi­cal situ­ati­on: she under­mi­nes the sys­tem for she shows tho­se it has disen­fran­c­hi­sed and con­so­li­da­tes it for she dimi­ni­shes the error, offe­ring the sys­tem the possi­bi­lity of its own res­truc­tu­ring with res­pect to the per­cep­ti­on of rela­ti­ons in the community.

The pre­mi­ses of the MUAC during the exhi­bi­ti­on beca­me a cre­ati­ve spa­ce of lear­ning, of cri­ti­cal reflec­ti­ons, of reci­pro­cal empowe­ring and con­cre­te ini­ti­ati­ves and col­la­bo­ra­ti­on of com­mu­ni­ti­es and indi­vi­du­als from the perip­he­ral and from the domi­nant cul­tu­ral are­as of Mexico City.

(Text by Irena Bekić)

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