One morning in class, after several hours of discussion on art, resistance, and politics, Jesusa Rodriguez said that, for her, developing a method to engage politically from within a framework of artistic, or creative resistance is about being able to breathe in the country she calls home. Actions of art and resistance are spaces of oxygen in a country in which the socio-political situations can be difficult, depressing, and suffocating. As we began to discuss our Street, or Urban Interventions project for this Art and Resistance course, this idea of Jesusa's became our inspiration, and shaped the nature of our exploration.
As we brainstormed, thinking of lived spaces, public and private, territories, and routes through space, we began to see the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas as body — alive, full of movement and chaos, with diverse subjects circulating on streets and paths that became the veins in this body. Artists became our white blood cells, and the actions, spaces, and projects of art and resistance became our lungs — the producers of oxygen, the breathe of freedom, many of them of various sizes pumping oxygen into the body of the city.
And thus our project was born: we decided to work to identify the lungs and white blood cells in the pulsating body of the city of San Cristóbal, and to explore them in dialectical conversation with the flows of movement, identity, and power that wrap around and through the city, including tourism, Zapatismo, the multitudes of indigenous cultures, and so on. For practical purposes, we limited ourselves to the centro of San Cristóbal. Our project incorporates several components.
First: loosely taking inspiration from Walter Benjamin's flaneur, and Michel de Certeau's "Walking in the City" we each embarked on walks through the area, wandering without a predetermined destination, taking pictures, striking up conversations, stopping to sketch, looking for pulmones and white blood cells along the way. A description of this can be found on the page entitled "Mapping the City." Photographs of sites, graffiti, murals, creative interventions, performances, and more, can be found throughout this site.
Second, we took advantage of the wealth of information available to us through the network of artists who have been collaborating with us here, interviewing them and learning more about their artistic project. Those interviews can be found on the "Artists" page below.
Third, we each chose a specific type of lung to focus on, and consider a little more closely. They are as follows: Public Dances, Rites and Rituals, Popular Culture, Clowning, and Playfulness, Graffiti, Interventions, and Place. Adding another angle of analysis, Polina, interested in the nature of the lung from within, did an artistic intervention of her own, entitled "Donde esta Piecitos Azul?"
To be clear, this list is neither comprehensive nor complete. Given our time constraints, there is much we weren't able to uncover. Instead, it is an introduction to one framework of understanding art and resistance as urban intervention within the city. We hope you enjoy it!
Group Members: Annabelle Contreras Castro, Edwin Alfredo Cubillos Rodríguez, Julia Handschuh, Kaitlin McNally Murphy, Volfoz Mordente, Andrés Sanin Ordoñez, Polina Porras Sivolobova