Fault Line 2012
Single channel video 4:3
Duration: 00:02:24

A line to define a space, a line as measurement, a line as geology, a line as history, a line as representation, a line as architecture, a line as structure, a line as invisibility, a line as visibility, a line as mirror, a line as temporality, a line as fault.

Fault Line is a drawing in motion; a mark that delineates geographies, that conforms and forms, but also one that represents occupation and rupture; In a symbolic gesture, a continuous line is drawn with chalk marking the perimeter of Unidad Habitacional Nonoalco-Tlatelolco. Here, chalk—a porous material frequently employed for didactic purposes—represents and traces a jagged and rough historic route that paradoxically disrupts the linear conception of history. To draw the city is to approach it as a text, and as the site where histories are articulated and traced. This act of tracing also implies the reading of the histories inscribed on the city’s architecture, not only on its walls and plazas but also on its absent bodies; those that have been invisibilized by the passage of time and grand historical narratives. According to Carla Acevedo-Yates, "much like geological faults are accidents in the territory which are invisible until the arrival of an earthquake marks the structures of the city, the artistic gesture performed and documented in Fault Line, attempts to visibilize the cracks—whether physical or ideological—of a city transformed into a machine of dominations and invisibilization. Revealed in a formal inversion, as a shift manifest in the artist's hand performing a line from right to left, this symbolic gesture points to cracks and breaks in official histories, a line of demarcation that culminates as it eventually snaps under the pressure of the hand".

Performed in tandem during the worldwide democratic social awakening during the years 2011-2012 at the Nonoalco-Tlatelolco Housing Project, the largest modern apartment complex in Mexico and the second largest in the Americas after Co-Op City in the Bronx; is the former site of several dramatic political as well as geological ruptures—including a massive and violent student protest in 1968 and several earthquakes that forever changed the physical landscape of the area—it was commissioned by the administration of President Adolfo Lopez Mateos and constructed between 1960 and 1965. The project was awarded to architect Mario Pani along with Ricardo de Robina and financed by the Banco Nacional Hipotecario, Urbano y de Obras Publicas at a time when Mexico was experiencing rapid economic expansion. Built over the then-abandoned train yard, it surrounds the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, a place that symbolizes the synthesis of Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic colonial past with modernity.

Nonoalco-Tlatelolco Housing Project lies on a former lakebed with soft waterlogged soils crisscrossed with small fault lines that intensify the shockwaves produced by quakes that occur on Mexico’s Pacific coast. This has caused the complex to suffer extensive damage from several earthquakes; two small ones in 1979, the most severe in 1985, and two additional ones in 1993 and in 2007. On October 2nd, 1968, while Mexico hosted the Summer Olympics, at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, the government’s Olympic Brigade opened fire on a student protest, killing anywhere from dozens to hundreds of people according to differing estimates. Quality of life continued to deteriorate around the complex after the only fire station in the area closed and police presence began to diminish, leading to increased crime.