Lights out for the territory 2006/2012
80 color slides / digital prints
dimension variable

80 images of censored ideological graffiti on the streets of Mexico City.

Graffiti is and has always been an overt political act. It’s purpose: to claim ownership of the the public space (space of representation) by denouncing social and political inequalities. Considered by many as a form of defacement, graffiti is perhaps one of the only true democratic mediums, at times sacrificing aesthetic formalism for ideological substance. But its invasion into the urban landscape is also plagued by another type of subversive act; its erasement, which is as much of a political act as the writing on city walls. The graffiti’s erasement at times makes it even more conspicuous. In any case, both are acts that stand for transgressions on our urban landscape.

The term “public space” is often mistakenly assumed and loosely used to describe gathering places such as parks and plazas, places of transit such as streets and sidewalks, or any places that charge no fees. These are all specific elements of a much larger concept of what social space really is. I find this use of the term like an old habit, one that is hard to break. Instead, I want to suggest thinking of public space as a condition, like the prevailing state of the weather, ground, sea or atmosphere at a particular time. Public space does not simply exist as a void to be filled up; it has to be created much like a big bang, in which an immense amount of energy and mass is liberated all at once, bringing forth the birth of a universe—a significant yet disruptive event. Only by prying open the private space and forcing it into some sort of dialogue, a two way conversation, can a new space be created and hopefully remain open and accessible.

Text published in Perspecta 46, MIT Press

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Lights out for the territory 2006/2012 
80 images of censored ideological graffiti on the streets of Mexico City.