Lights out for the territory 2011
This exhibition was part of Centro de Arte, Diseño y Multimedia (Centro ADM) International Artist in Residence Program (PIRA) from January – April 2011, around the workshop Exploración Psicogeográfica a través de la fotografía emphasizing the Theory of the Dérive around urban environments.
Centro ADM Main Gallery
Mexico City
Graffiti is and has always been an overt political act. It’s purpose: to claim ownership of the public sphere 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. As pedestrians of the city, we are inevitably forced to take in this visual psychogeography. But without a doubt, what is in the public domain, so to speak, is for the public to dispose of as it pleases. So then, who is really staking a claim in the public sphere?
The photographic series Lights Out for the Territory, title taken from the book by Iain Sinclair, is comprised of photographs of erased graffiti of political messages on the streets of a couple of cities visited in the past few years. These images rebel against themselves and make us question the true nature of the political.