• Mexicanos Olvidados, 2021
    • ˪ I

      NFT
      Variable sizes
      1/1
      2021

      Expired Photographs of XX Century Mexicans on the Blockchain from The Alejandro Cartagena Archive.

      Work available through Hic et Nunc

    • ˪ II

      NFT
      Variable sizes
      1/1
      2021

      Expired Photographs of XX Century Mexicans on the Blockchain from The Alejandro Cartagena Archive.

      Work available through Hic et Nunc

    • ˪ III

      NFT
      Variable sizes
      1/1
      2021

      Expired Photographs of XX Century Mexicans on the Blockchain from The Alejandro Cartagena Archive.

      Work available through Hic et Nunc

  • Santa Barbara save US, 2016-2020

    Archival pigment prints
    11 X 14 in
    Limited edition of 10 +2AP
    2016-2020

    “Alejandro’s pictures in this project, since the beginning, have channeled that fear of fire, the engulfing heat, the insatiable flames, devouring everyone and everything, leaving charred scars behind…So what now? If Alejandro can see the future? How is this book, the last in the trilogy, different and new? Well, it’s confident in its bleak outlook”. — From the introduction for the book by Jonathan Blaustein 

    Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • We Are Things, 2020
    • ˪ We Are Things

      Unique Silver gelatin collages
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2020

      We are Things es una serie de collages donde Alejandro Cartagena nos presenta una interpretación de nuestra incesante necesidad de identificarnos y confirmarnos por medio de la imagen fotográfica. Es la fotografía un medio que por su reproducibilidad, facilita la búsqueda de la imagen “perfecta”; modelo que actualmente es usado (y abusado) en redes sociales y sistemas de identificación. Por medio de utilizar imágenes descartadas y desechadas por sus dueños, Cartagena ha creado un imaginario alterno de la construcción del humano moderno; uno que nos acerca a descubrir la perversidad de la búsqueda de “ser” por medio de la imagen personal y de los espacios que habitamos.

      Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ We are things

      Unique Silver gelatin collages
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2020

      We are Things es una serie de collages donde Alejandro Cartagena nos presenta una interpretación de nuestra incesante necesidad de identificarnos y confirmarnos por medio de la imagen fotográfica. Es la fotografía un medio que por su reproducibilidad, facilita la búsqueda de la imagen “perfecta”; modelo que actualmente es usado (y abusado) en redes sociales y sistemas de identificación. Por medio de utilizar imágenes descartadas y desechadas por sus dueños, Cartagena ha creado un imaginario alterno de la construcción del humano moderno; uno que nos acerca a descubrir la perversidad de la búsqueda de “ser” por medio de la imagen personal y de los espacios que habitamos.

      Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • What We Fight For, 2010-2020
    • ˪ Chiapas

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Colombia hípicos

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Colombia toros

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Costa Rica

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ España

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪

      Archival pigment prints
      Variable sizes
      Limited edition of 10 +2AP
      2010-2020

      The city, as the noted urban sociologist Robert Park once wrote, is: “Man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the City is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the City man has remade himself.” 1 If Park is correct, then the question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of daily life we desire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetic values we hold. The right to the City is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: It is a right to change ourselves by changing the City more after our heart’s desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the City inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake 2 ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.  David Harvey

      The importance of space can be understood through the, somewhat metaphysical, meaning of dwelling. Dwelling and building became two very different verbs even when, as Heidegger explains, they were conceived as one same concept in the Old German language. As if the act of dwelling could not be separated from the act of building. Yet, dwelling has also been closely linked to the being. Ich bin (which in German means I am) was conceived in language as a synonym of I dwell, du bist as a synonym of you dwell. Heidegger’s finding was greater, though. Bauen -to dwell- also meant to take care of something; thus, taking care and protecting were related to building. In the Old German language, the concept of tilling (taking care of) the soil was not so different from the one of constructing or working the land. We can then say that once upon a time there was a human being who took care of the land by inhabiting it. Such link, which can also be traced back to certain cosmogonies of the pre-Hispanic world, does not seem to make sense anymore in our modern world. Nowadays, building is a mere economic activity and dwelling is a form of consumption. Unlike ancient inhabitants who expressed their existence through the way they dwelled, nowadays most of us do not seem to have a say on the design, planning and building of the spaces, both private and public, in which we dwell. Nowadays, building of spaces involves of a series of mediators, which sets the inhabitant or user apart from their right to decide how they want to build their spaces. That is why transforming, building or defending a space based on the drive to dwell –as in being and taking care of- will always be a political cause with philosophical implications.

      Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities.

      Space is one of the most conclusive political representations. Making a faithful representation of the links that originated it to respond to certain interests should not be a problem, as long as said representation does not belong only to a few. In this way, hegemonic spaces, which do not mean sole or indisputable ones, exercise a ruling power on our daily lives. This can be seen not only in the bureaucratic systems that have to authorize practically every intervention, but also in more volatile concepts, like surplus value or real estate speculation, which turn space into merchandise. Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields. Even when the image of war suggests so, we should not imagine a conflict between two clearly identifiable powers. Fights over space are much wider, and even more unconscious, than the image of two parties facing each other and this is because the favorable decision for one of them will not depend on whether they have the best argument, or on their compliance with the law, but on how coherent their proposal is with the established relationships of production and power. A whole way of being and conceiving the dwelling is being faced. That is why when we fight over a certain space, we fight for the right of imagining it as a possibility, which becomes much more difficult in authoritarian situations.

      All this can be verified with specific cases, from the resistance of a small group of farmers against the creation of a gold mine in Rosa Montana, Rumania to a group of youngsters anywhere in the world who defend their football field against the “public interest” of turning it into a parking lot. The number of fights being led everywhere in the world, no matter the form they take, is bringing light to a blind spot of liberal democracy since space is one of the most powerful of political representations and, nevertheless, there are no mechanisms that allow taking collective decisions on them. Henri Lefebvre said “’Change life! Change society!’ These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space.”

      On this point, spaces, whether it is the rainforest in Nicaragua, Downtown Tijuana or the sea in Cadiz, Spain, captured by the lens of Alejandro Cartagena are nothing more than common places, stripped off a daily moment in which nothing was going on. WHAT WE FIGHT FOR shows precisely what is usually hidden in the fight for space and what generates an inescapable misunderstanding: space does not say anything about itself; it is us who create it. There are no spaces with one single use, there are no assigned spaces and there is no such thing as a space evolution line. In this sense, the emergence of disagreement should not be an exception, but something hoped for. As Chantal Mouffe argues, disagreement should be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, much less suppressed, but as an expression of life itself within society. That is why unprecedented conflict breaks out, like the opposition to the Via Express in Guadalajara or the demonstrations that cried: We want a stadium, but we want it somewhere else! in Monterrey, reflect more than a democratic moment: a deeply authoritarian society that denies the existence of disagreement until the latter comes to life and is expressed in a certain space.

      Maybe the global movement that best captured this approach was Occupy Wall Street. Gaining representation through the electoral and institutional ways had no success and people were desperate because they existed but they were not acknowledged, let alone be seen, so they decided they were going to make others see their indignation by occupying spaces and modifying the relationships that usually took place in the financial area of New York. It is not that the demands taking place at that moment had not been expressed before, but by occupying the streets such demands were made visible in a way in which they could not be ignored any longer. By breaking into one of the most guarded and neatest places in the world, people were also breaking into the monopolistic mantra of everything is fine. All in all, even when it was a fleeting intervention –the occupation finished over the night- after a repression and massive detention that took place in the Brooklyn bridge, the movement managed to provide with consistency and political sense the fight against the oppression and abuse of a minority that could not manage to be seen because of its abstract nature. We have to ask ourselves whether this rupture would have had results if presented through legal, moral or political arguments because in such cases ideas do not land on spaces, they continue to be utopias, i.e. without the topos, without a place or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos puts it, not yet in a place.

      Thus, as reflected in the conflicts over space captured by Cartagena, space deals with the identity matters that we mentioned at the beginning, the link between I dwell and I am, that justify the resistance or the promotion of a determined space. We could then say that space is a means for being and, at the same time, it is a mediator between the being and its reality. Its political relevance is undeniable: I am this person here. As a result, it is hard to imagine that raising awareness about the importance of the democratization of space is possible without going through the identity circuits. I am fine if my space is fine. Oftentimes, this obvious statement is only noticed once there have already been traumatic experiences that reveal to us the importance of space.

      Chico Mendes was a leader of the rubber tappers in the Amazonian region of Brazil. His parents migrated from the city to the rainforest looking for a job. He learned the trade of the serengueiros since he was a kid. By making a daily angular incision in the tree’s bark, the tree secretes a milky substance that has been commercialized since the XIX century to manufacture different necessities, such as latex. During the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985, the State implemented an Agrarian Reform that made it possible for corporations to buy great amounts of rainforest lands for cattle raising or the exploitation of rubber. The new landowners cut trees down and used them up, eliminating the ancient socio-environmental system. Chico Mendes led a movement during the 70’s and the 80’s that did not accept the cutting down of trees or their exfoliation simply because the rainforest was their home and their subsistence depended on the care given to those rubber trees. This absolutely revolutionary approach raised awareness on the right that we have to well dwelling without having to stop being productive. Chico Mendes, who was murdered in 1988 precisely by the owner of a ranch, brought back an ancient wisdom and integrated it to the new dweller’s identity, i.e. taking care and tilling the environment so that nothing threatens survival.

      Nowadays, the challenge is to reintegrate this approach in the context of extreme predation, like in metropolitan areas, where the ideal of building involves market logic and the cityscape is nothing but a monochromatic mass of concrete and steel. How can we conceive and dwell in a space that does not even exist? Boaventura de Sousa Santos brings up the need to see the counter-hegemonic resistance as a growing fight that usually begins with a process that simply destabilizes the everything-is-fine perception, as I like to put it. Turning human suffering into a political debate, making it visible, discussing it, dealing with it as a painful situation that outrages us because it can be changed and that affects our living experience, is a destabilizing image with a huge transforming potential, says Santos.

      It is precisely Lefebvre who points out the importance of the dweller’s experience since it is the most sensitive part in the creation of spaces and, paradoxically, the most invisible one to the eyes of the planners and the people in charge of executing the work. We would then have to turn around the order of importance in the process of space creation, putting dwelling in the first place and then building. Of course, it would be desirable to have the support of the State in this endeavor since it would act as a regulator that democratizes the decision-making. Nevertheless, most of the times, and with almost no exception, we, inhabitants, are left alone. This loneliness opens the door to a critical analysis of spaces, which is essential to put an end to, quoting Durkheim, “an illusion which leads us to believe we have ourselves produced what has been imposed upon us externally.” However, this rupture has to be productive for it to surface. Its fruitfulness is not linked to the excitement it causes but to how deep it is rooted. These productive ruptures as Marc Angenot calls them “are being born, but they always come as chain effects and probably never as something characteristic of a single moment or individual. They arrive untimely, once an ambiguous detour is reinterpreted and then transformed, thus establishing a new space for credibility.” That is what we fight for”. — Ximena Peredo

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • Photo Structure / Foto Estructura 2018-2019
    • ˪ Boy doing things

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Business man

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Dissapereances

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Faces

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Family Vacation

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Flying babies

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Gerber babies

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Gone

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Identity panel

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Men at work

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Monsters

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Narcissus

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Presence, group

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Street people

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Traveleres

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

    • ˪ Women in skirt

      Virtual Tour here

      Unique cutout Silver Gelatin Works
      Variable Sizes
      1/1
      2018-1029

      “Paradoxically, Cartagena’s approach involves the destruction, rather than the preservation, of the photographs. With a sharp blade, he excises details, either allowing the voids to remain or reconfiguring the original composition by moving the cut fragments. He then organizes the altered photographs into a series of grids. The grids emphasize a repetition of forms that make the individual photographs both strange and familiar. Cartagena’s arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of a photograph—a face or a figure—are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works. He compels us to consider how meaning in a photograph is structured and how photography has come to structure the meaningful events of our lives. In his final act as artist-archivist, Cartagena creates a new context for the altered photographs by bringing them into the museum. The former castoffs have now become unique objects created by the hand of the artist. In the context of the museum, Cartagena situates the photographs in the exalted domain of art”. — Heather A. Shannon, Ph.D. Associate Curator George Eastman Museum

      In Photo Structure, through a meticulous and potentially failure-prone process, I am stripping these physical images from their direct representations by removing figures to create unique cutout silver gelatin prints. The result, Photo Structure, is a photographic structure that emerges from within the image and speaks to how we build what we see in most photographs. The photographic medium has used format, material, aesthetic and lighting structures to create a standard version of ourselves. Everything feels the same and what is left is a cultural construct of how we have built our identities through images. This series of Dismembered representations also connote larger issues in my Latin America, where we have become ‘no one’ in the midst of our social and political crisis. In the end, it seems anyone can disappear, and no one will ever give us answers.

      Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • Suburban Wars, 2016-2018

    Single channel, video loop installation with sound
    Variable Sizes (1920×1080 px)
    Limited edition of 5
    2016-2018

    In Suburban Wars Cartagena works with the internet to access the lives of people living in the new suburbs of Mexico to show us a glimpse of the disorder and violence that is crawling into these new homeowners lives at every single moment.

    Interview in Código Magazine

    Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • Accumulations, 2018

    Unique collages
    32 X 32 in
    1/1
    2018

    Accumulations is a contemplation on, and response to his acclaimed Suburbia Mexicana project, a long-term documentary project, rooted in the artist’s own experience living and working in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. Suburbia Mexicana sought to tell visually the complex story of the region’s rapid growth, looking at the causes and effects of unhampered and unplanned development on the people and the landscape, including the environmental consequences.

    Accumulations is a bold departure, formally, from Cartagena’s previous work. The culmination of years of research and thinking about how to picture adequately the important issues it explored.

    The exhibition features two large abstracted monochromatic circular installations that are comprised of hundreds of small individual photographs Cartagena took of the sky. These photos were taken from his roof when the air quality officially registered as ‘bad’. They are arranged concentrically and held in place with magnets. There are also 10 new photomontage works—the source material for which are photographs from Suburbia Mexicana—cut-up, reassembled and likewise held in place with magnets.

    The circle motif, echoed in the use of small black disc magnets, are both a formal allusion to the invisible particles that are in the air and to various concepts in optics that have a direct bearing on visibility—f-stop, ‘circle of confusion,’ focal point, blind spots, etc.—metaphors for photography’s failure to reveal this otherwise quantifiable fact of pollution.

    A large black circle shows the sky at night, where nothing, because of the lack of light, is visible. “You can’t see them but the contaminants are there”. As Cartagena explains, there were reports of an increase in clandestine night-time emissions by various companies circumventing regulations.

    The magnets themselves are a significant element or device in the work—at once visible but progressively less seen as they assume their function and you look past them.

    The use of magnets in the photomontages is deliberate (while they easily could have been, these were not made in photoshop). Here they provisionally hold in place the various image fragments to create new images, speaking to the fragility and tenuousness of the ‘bigger picture’ while also implying that it might be changed, that looming disaster could be averted, and the fractured image just might be restored.

    For those who are familiar with the undeniably exquisite and powerful photographs that make up Suburbia Mexicana, Cartagena’s move in this suite of new photomontages, can at first blush, appear to be a destructive if not nihilistic move or breakdown—literally cutting up his own work, rearranging and reconfiguring key images—but upon reflection this move makes sense and fits in terms of both his approach to documentary photography and his more recent trajectory and focus on the possibilities of the photobook.

    Cartagena’s approach to documentary has always been multi-faceted—a bit cubist. He comes at his subject from all angles while insisting on maintaining the complexity of the narrative in his efforts to raise awareness of the larger interrelated issues. Here he is confronting Mexico and, in particular, his home city of Monterrey about irresponsible and unsustainable development, while trying to be a catalyst for the creation of a better future for the region’s inhabitants.

    The story is never contained in the individual image but rather in their sequence and juxtaposition, a larger vision is offered by way of these deliberate collisions and the flow from one to the next. This is why the photobook, something he’s been experimenting with, is so appealing for Cartagena.

    This new work however does something else. It is an immediate and visceral commentary or self-reflexive critique of his earlier work, an expression of the photographer’s ambivalent relationship, if not frustration, with his chosen medium and its ability to inspire change.

    It is certainly, as Cartagena admits, an expression of his feelings of frustration, disappointment, disillusion with the lack of any real change or improvement around the issues he’s been exposing for more than a decade—but also with photography itself, its failure to truly capture the ‘whole picture’ so-to-speak, and ultimately its limited efficacy.

    “I’m tired of pointing fingers, its more an expression of feeling… There are no answers here. I don’t even now if there are questions anymore.”

    But it is not the duty of the Artist to solve our problems. Accumulations is a painful and passionate expression of outrage, albeit beautifully and articulately rendered.

    Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • An Invisible Line, 2010-2017

    Archival pigment prints
    Variable sizes
    Limited edition of 10 +2AP
    2010-2017

    Invisible line Project Includes:
    Between Borders 2009-2010
    Americanos 2012
    Without Walls 2017

    Since 2009 I have been portraying different aspects of the US-Mexico border. As much as this line is real, there are invisible cultural, economic and social aspects surrounding it. These three chapters of the border I live in and transit through, speak of those invisible traits that push and pull the boundaries of the line. Between Borders 2009-2010, Americanos 2012 and Without Walls 2017, present an opportunity to rethink what this wall is and why it will never dived the life that surrounds it.

    Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption, 2010-2017

    Archival pigment prints
    Variable sizes
    Limited edition of 10 +2AP
    2010-2017

    Book available here

    “In A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption, urban infrastructure is a gear of political power. Its aim is to conquer the territory of the city and hold dominion over certain city relationships. Public space is more than just a polygon delineated by coordinates, it is a factory of social realities. There would be nothing problematic about this power if it weren’t exclusive. Those who build the city exercise a regulatory power over our mindset and our everyday experience. The rhythms that regulate our hours, “our place” in society and the type of roads we take on our daily commute are manifestations of this control”. Ximena Peredo

    Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • Santa Barbara Shame on US, 2015-2017

    Archival pigment prints
    11 X 14 in
    Limited edition of 10 +2AP
    2015-2017

    Book available here

    “I imagine it: Alejandro creeps around the beach town, peeking into people’s homes. He looks, and lurks. We see a neighborhood watch sign. And peeper photos from above. Ronald Reagan pops up twice. But now he’s a metaphor for Donald J Trump, our current huckster-in-chief, a reality television celebrity rather than a B-movie star. We see wildfires. Burning, burning. And beauty queens. Satellite maps, historical photos, and a newspaper headline about dead children, but no gun reform. (Santa Barbara had its own mass shooting a couple of years back, and a photo alludes to that as well.) When Alejandro saw Santa Barbara’s red tile roofs and stately State Street, the big houses with sea views, he wasn’t fooled.

    The wealth here is built on quicksand, the pictures in this book are saying, and we better watch out. I’m also drawn to the historical paintings. Given his residency, I’m sure they come from the museum’s collection. But he didn’t shoot the pretty sunset paintings. Rather, we see two executions, recording the very moment before a head was chopped from its body. (Foreshadowing the death of Democracy?) Cheerleaders and beach boys get brief mention, but make no mistake. This is a disquieting group of pictures. It’s not for me to say, whether the first part anticipated the rise of Trump. Certainly, it came out before the election. Ultimately, that’s what art like this does. It screams loudly, “Hey, you fools, look at this. Your world is a tinderbox, and if you don’t get wise quick, it will all burn to ashes. In a flash”. Jonathan Blaustein

    Limited Edition Prints Available through: Assembly. Patricia Conde Gallery. Kopeikin Gallery. Edelman Gallery. Etherton Gallery. Circuit Gallery

  • Suburban Bus, 2016