No More a Good Citizen

No More a Good Citizen at "Mornings in Mexico", Third Guangzhou Triennial
(intervened books, 2007)

A few years ago, going through old bookstores in Mexico City, I found a huge collection of biographies. Every book containing the life of two historical figures; always two persons, always in pairs. At first sigth was fun to see this group of such dissimilar characters coming togheter in couples for no reason (apparently) but randomness. I’m talking about couples like Rasputin/Thomas Alba Edison, Simone de Beauvoir/Mother Theresa of Calcuta, John Fitzgerald Kennedy/Jorge Luis Borges.
I bought one of the books hoping it would share the secret of the sect and how they came all togheter, but the only lead was they belonging to the XX Century.
Trying to pull out some sense from my book I started the drawing excercise called No more a good citizen, a sort of forced dialogue between two completely different characters. What I did was to cover all the letters of the first biography that didn’t help to construct the text of the second one, overlaping here the life of Mao Tse-tung over Picasso’s. With no sense of democracy at all in this conversation, and one of the parties taking active control over the dialogue, now Picasso acts as a communist role model.

Text is king, bow down in bliss.

Reading strategies by Countries (text/napkin, 2002)
Napkin with text that reads: “Bowing to show respect is a moral obligation between nations” placed in galleries, museums and restaurants walls at 50 centimeters of the floor. This piece was designed after the cancelation of a group show in the city of New York due the United States international policies after the Iraq war.

Taking aside for a moment the political context of this gesture, what I like must of it is the possibility to proposse the spectator a kind of game where the rules are only set up once he’s playing. The “activation” of this message force the reader to develop a close conection with the content of the text. Forcing also an act of mimicry even before “meaning” has come to scene.

Reading strategies by Countries at "Mornings in Mexico", Third Guangzhou Triennial, China, 2008.

Third Guangzhou Triennial, China, 2008.

New York Times review on Landscapes for Frankenstein, at Sara Meltzer Gallery, NYC.

Fear no thunder, nor lightning (Braille text/landscape pictures, 2006)

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Edgar Allan Poe’s only complete novel, tells the story of a group of sailers that after countless calamities and misfortunes arrive to an island close to the south pole inhabited by a large number of black natives that will end persecuting them. In the middle of the narration of this chase we can find a few drawings that represent maps made by the hounded sailors while hiding into tunnels. In a postscript Poe tells us (supposedly Poe is just the transcriptor of the story, originally comunicated to him directly by Gordon Pym himself) that those drawings seemed somehow familiar, and after some research he found them to resemble Arabian and Egyptian characters with meanings of "Shaded", "White", and "Region to the South".
What we have here are letters printed deep into the ground, written by God or Nature (or perhaps a demon). Thou they are not meant to be seen by human eyes, they are “pronounced” every time we walk through them.

Fear No Thunder, Nor Lightning is the video documentation of the act of reading performed by blind people while reading a braille book. All the pages into the book were printed with full-page landscape images as well. The text describes someone crossing a forrest (a fragment of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, -when the creature decides go looking after his creator, in a journey through different countries, understanding as well that no mother language belongs to him-).

“...Although we cannot read the text in the book (those who cannot read braille, of course), when it is activated, I mean readed, we can actually see someone crossing a forrest, just as the text describes, covering for a moment this gap on thanslation...”

It may seem for a moment that meaning prevails, and in one way or the other it finally reach us, but the title of the piece comes as a reminder of the loss and leaks in all of our communication attempts. Fear no thunder, nor lightning, a mechanism where alternately for each of the readers, the sonority of language is lost as well as its visuality.

Watch video here...

Projects at The Drawing Center Viewing Program

12,000 words often mispronounced, 2006
Audio CD's with a total of 768 tracks.
Press here to go to the Drawing Center Viewing Program!

12, 000 words often mispronounced

12, 000 words often mispronounced, 2006
Sound recording of the handwriting of the homonymous book. The viewer is encouraged to draw lines or write words in his own mind, following the writing sounds recorded on the disc.

The Negative of the Text in Never Odd or Even, Mariana Castillo's editorial project

A compilation of 23 titles in one single publication! Join us in this literary journey throughout different topics and subject matters: archaeology, contemporary gardening, magic, history of technology, mysticism, tourist guides, autobiography, archival techniques, monuments in motion, and more!
Marres, Center for Contemporary Art (12. Dez. 2004 - 23. Jan. 2005); hrsg. v. Mariana Castillo Deball; mit Beiträgen von Gabriela Aguileta, Bina Choi, Ricardo Cuevas, Hubert Czerepok, Daniela Franco, Heidi Lynn Ganshaw, Alexander Komarov, Irene Kopelman, Susanne Krieman, Alexandra Leykauf, Raimundas Malasaukas, Miguel Monroy, Brian O‘Connell, David Puig, Manuel Raeder, Sebastian Romo, Steve Rushton, Gabriela Torres Mazuera (englisch)
23 versch. Schutzumschläge, div. Größen (max. 24 x 17 cm)

ISBN 978-3-86588-073-4 {Lieferbar}

Citando al Robot, 2005

Citando al Robot, 2005 (Quoting the Robot)
A fragment of Edgar Allan Poe's Gold Bug (a story about decoding a hidden message) translated from the original to spanish with an internet automatic translator. Edition of 2,000. 14 x 28 cm.
Edited in colaboration with Sol Henaro in Celda Contemporánea, Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico City.

Colophon (Master Humprey's Clock)

Master Humphrey’s Clock is a project that explores the many intersections between circulation and storytelling, set up in the context of the new urban developments in The Netherlands.

Index/Criminal offenses, Chapter 11 at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York

Index/Criminal offenses, Chapter 11 (Graphite/brille book, 2008)
Drawing excercise performed by blind people in a braille public library. One of the first pages of a book (the Index) was covered with several layers of graphite, becoming the act of reading visible after the contact with such page. This work was inspired by the Patriot Act, a law approved after 09/11/01 that enable the US Government to listen to phone calls, read e-mails and even to check out the list of books taken out from a public library of any suspect of terrorism. (...)“this drawing method allows to keep perfect track on the readings of users at the same time it make us aware of the becoming of private information into a public discourse”.

The book of Intentions, Fourth issue of F. R. David, de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam

The Sketch book of a hardworking drawer on The fourth issue of F.R. David

The sketch book of a hardworking drawer (graphite over book, 2004)
A book completely covered with graphite designed to remain in a public library in the "how to draw" section, to share everyone the act of drawing, not by telling, but by fact, being draw themselves while they manipulate it, as well as they'll start "drawing" everything after the contact with the book.

Opening of the "Master Humphrey's Clock" exhibition in Leidsche Rijn, 11 May 2008

Walking with the Ghost, 2005

Walking with the ghost (Lightproof box/unfixed photographic paper, 2005)
Book-shaped box containing a text printed over photographic paper. The sheets have been exposed and developed, but not fixed, which means that if one opens the book to read the text, it will gradually dissapear.
see Walking with the Ghost and Dmitri's dilemma...

Comets, 2005

Comets (Eraser/book page, 2005)
Erased page from an Art History book.

Understanding at DAS PHANTASTISCHE GEHEIMNIS DES EXOTISCHEN UNIVERSUMS, Galerie Birgit Ostermeier, Berlin.

Understanding (Eraser/book, 2005)
Spread of a book about how to photograph the Universe where all the dots, O’s and zeros have been eliminated with a regular eraser (...go to Galerie Birgit Ostermeier)

One Day in a Perfect Darkroom, 2005

One day in a parfect dark room (Digital prints, 2005)
Photographs made in colaboration with blind people. The camara was placed in front of a wall (previosly chose by them) of their own homes, and the shutter was open for a long time. The only light in the room came from a flashligh controled by the blind photographer, allowing him to decide over the exposure time, but more important, the object he wanted to appear on the picture.

Gary Michael Dault's review on Beyond Love and Democracy, Globe and Mail, November 2005

Beyond Love and Democracy at Gallery 44, Toronto 2005