Saturday, January 11, 2014

Simon Fujiwara. Letters from Mexico (2010–11), Proyectos Monclova Mexico DF

I was fortunate to be able view Fujiwara’s installation Letters from Mexico (2010–11) when it debuted in Mexico City in January 2011. The discursive installation toys with notions of cultural play and artistic research by muddling earnest observation and satirical self-parody to present a commentary on contemporary Mexico. Controversial for some, as I was often reminded during my stay in Mexico, it is one thing for Mexicans to joke about their country’s predicament, but quite another for a foreigner that may come and go as they please, and not have to live with the consequences!

Letters... consists of a series dispatches from the artist addressed to ‘Europe’ made in collaboration with typists at the Plaza Santa Domingo in Mexico City, and was inspired by writings of conquistador Hernán Cortés, whose letters to the King Charles I of Castile (Spain) described the ‘discovery of Mexico’ in the 16th century.

Dictated in English by Fujiwara, they appear typed as a barely recognisable ‘Spanglish’, transcribed according to each typists’ phonetic interpretation of Fujiwara’s speech. Each letter is co-signed by Fujiwara and the typist as collaborators and co-authors. In order to understand the text, one is required to read the text out aloud. Fujiwara’s words modified by the typists’ translations are re-articulated by audiences and comprehended in their minds as the author’s voice, initiating a chain of processes that broach interpretation, commerce, and persuasion to produce a strange, and for some uncomfortable, intmacy.

When I experienced the work, a line of gallery patrons stood side by side muttering to themselves before a row of glass panels that contained the typed slips of paper assembled together with an assortment of trinkets and souvenier objects, such as a matchbook, a coin, a deer foot lucky charm as well as photographs, embellishing the anecdotes recalled in each missive back to Europe. Around the roof top space objects half packed in cardboard boxes for repatriation back to Europe, such as a Conquistador's head with an Aztec axe wound, turned tables on antagonistic postcolonial discourses. Fujiwara also re-appropriates historical documents and books taking ownership of these objects; perhaps performing another kind of historical theft? A curtain in the tri-colour of the Mexican flag enveloped the mis-en-scene.

With a feigned niavity Fujiwara exhibits a patronising performance of his European self, but that could also seem to mock Mexican culture:

‘Ai hop gu wil forgif tha teribol spelin, bat in ei land ov sosh poberti, it is a Europiyins diuti tu employt pipl weneber wi can, don yu agri?’ 

I read it as a self-parody of the artist’s own position of privilege, and invariably that of the audience (Fujiwara’s gallery, Proyectos Monclova, is located in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in Mexico City), in which the artist emphasises the colonial legacies that underpin class inequalities in one of the most vibrant and notorious cities in Latin (North) America. In another letter he asks, ‘Da contry is at wor, dir yorob, is violens ol u left hir?’

Produced as 2010 came to a close, a year that marked two hundred years since Independence as well as centenary of the ‘bloodi’ Mexican Revolution (celebrated as key dates in a nationalistic narrative), but also a year that saw escalating drug-related criminal violence, Letters... appeared as an elaborate prose and prank, but at whose expense?

A pivotal episode in the sequence has the artist recounting a dream delirium where thousands of Mexicans of all classes, ethnicities and genders come together at the Plaza Santa Domingo to participate in a mass orgy—Mexico’s sexual revolution, Fujiwara quips. When the the artist removes his clothes to participate, he discovers he is sexless, with only soft, smooth skin between his legs. Hysterically, he calls for help in English, revealing his European identity. It would seem quite likely that Fujiwara must have appeared as Mexican to some and it is worth considering the artist’s mixed-race make-up. A heritage that seems enviable as a cosmopolitan European, but in the contexts of Mexico’s mestizo culture and its history of racial classification, recalls a legacy of the colonial occupations and arrangements of power that Fujiwara might inadvertantly be replaying. Recollecting his dream, Fujiwara describes the fornicating crowd turning on him, severing his head with a guillotine and sending it back to Europe in a box, adding in parenthesis, ‘Eben in yor drims, u cant olwieis ged wodchu won’.

The last of the letters appears typed by the artist himself in perfect English as an apology to his host country. Upon discovering Fujiwara is a fluent Spanish speaker the typists refuse to work, even for double the amount of money. He offers the following short verse:

When money does not work, there is persuasion.
When persuasion does not work there is aggression.
When aggression does not work there is no remedy, only poetry.

There is something about these aphorisms that left me doubting the sincerity of Fujiwara’s apology. Perhaps it was the duplicitious and the uneven nature of the collaboration, more so than the feigned patronising of tone of the letters’ author. Despite the delight I derived from this work, Mexican friends and peers were offended, suggesting to me that the flawed process of translation that Letters... relied on, fictional or otherwise, worked on assumptions made about Mexicans by Europeans that were not only fundamentally disrespectful, but that still persisted. However, it is also this problem of translation across unequal teirs of class, citizenship and ultimately social and geographic mobility that I think is what makes Letters... so compelling.

‘Dear Mexico, forgive me but I am only European.’

Monday, January 7, 2013

One death, One minute, Four takes

by Daniel Mudie Cunningham is a blog that insalubriously reports on drug-related violence in Mexico. Anonymous bloggers established the site in 2010 after several journalists had been murdered for reporting on narco activities, thereby attracting global notoriety by sensationalising an inordinate number of gruesome drug war crimes gripping the country. Torture and public executions are commonplace in this context with such blogs capitalising on our long standing fascination with the spectacle of publicly staged violence – both real and represented. Mexico has a long established culture of death, albeit one that has been romaticised within art history and popular culture. To an outsider looking in, the proliferation of blogs and social networking sites reporting on the drug trade would seem an extreme and deeply disturbing consequence of narcocultura. Aside from its online manifestations it is also evidenced ‘in the mausoleums and the music and the baseball caps embroidered with marijuana leaves in Swarovski crystals,’ as historian Froylán Enciso points out. Such expressions of death he claims, merely refer to ‘the array of symbols they surround themselves with in order to ward off that fear.’ [1]

Describing himself as an ‘anti-disciplinary artist’, Sumugan Sivanesan’s work interrogates Achille Mbembe’s theory of ‘necropolitics’ and its various developments. Sivanesan spent more than three months undertaking a residency at SOMA in Mexico, his ensuring research into narcocultura informing the four-channel video installation Dos Sicarios… (2011). Having mined the site for content, Sivanesan selected a one-minute grab of surveillance footage showing a man being shot dead in a public lobby, presumably a drug trade casualty. Typical of surveillance imagery, the camera is static and banal, detached from the horror it depicts. Narcocultura has become so normalised that it has inevitably become a facile part of everyday life in Mexico. Narco imagery is consumed as comedy – terror emptied out and replaced with absurdist shlock, an advertisement for the pervasive drug-related economy of death it depicts. The branding on the clip, along with the retail-like display Sivanesan creates with his arrangement of screens and headphones in the gallery, reads like a droll commercial for murder. More a comedy of errors than a clean kill, the victim is murdered after the gun jams and is thrown across the floor to an accomplice who together bumble but succeed in the execution. It’s the kind of bamboozled violence familiar in Hollywood and exploitation movies alike.

Sivanesan recontextualises the found footage as art by presenting four different ‘takes’ of the same footage to augment its comic value through sound or the lack thereof. The first screen uses video effects to sonify the visual signal; cartoonish sound effects imbue the action with broad slapstick punch in the second; the disembodied voiceover of a film director is ironically heard obsessing about the violations of OH&S in the third take; the fourth ‘applies’ silence yet headphones are plugged into each of the monitors (it only lasts for one minute, but recalls the same kind of silence John Cage constructs in his avant-garde masterpiece 4’33”). The serial killing on screen becomes a serial artwork; each screen synced and repeated in image but not meaning.

More than simply pointing out the malleability of the image, Sivanesan responds to a culture of user-generated media that negates encoded dominant meanings through oppositional tactics. Such is the democratic power of a more mainstream site like YouTube for instance, where users can upload ‘video responses’ that often remix and mash content already on the site in ways that construct entirely new understandings. Narco blogs, however, are in and of themselves oppositional, using dark humour to amplify shock value. Sivanesan notes: ‘a generation of narco youth raised on social media court celebrity by posting dispatches, threats and trophy videos that drive an emerging trend of watching real deaths online — a nefarious spin on prosumer net culture." [2]

The aesthetics of surveillance already have a grubby lackluster quality, especially when remediated at low resolution on ‘prosumer’ blogs and gore galleries that are typically viewed on hand held devices and presumably shared virally through any number of social networking sites. Yet we are trained to believe surveillance is a truthful and unmediated trace of the real: the panoptic gaze of the camera regulates our behavior socially, capturing evidence, catching out a crime. By tinkering with the clip through value-added effects and soundtracks, Sivanesan exposes as connotation the supposed indexicality and truth-value of surveillance. No longer are we certain whether the scene is real or staged. Authenticity reveals itself as a construct.

Sivanesan plays with what viewers are willing to believe. When exhibited in an Australian gallery far removed from its Mexican narco context, the work inevitably becomes a critical exercise inviting potentially messy and irresolvable debates about mediation, affect, ethics, and politics. This doesn’t mean that the experience of watching is entirely devoid of visceral impact for an untrained viewer, especially if a viewer is to discount the artist’s use of sound (arguably it only becomes mordantly humorous when you pick up the headphones for two of the four screens). Sivanesan succeeds in trading off horror for banality in keeping with the way narcocultura is produced and consumed in Mexico and disseminated globally online. Sivanesan punctures perceptions of narco economies as airtight and culturally specific, exposing how drug worlds intersect with art worlds, all kinds of worlds. As drug money circulates volubly artists toying with narco and/or necropolitics unmask their complicity. And ours.

[2]  Sumugan Sivanesan, ‘The Politics of Ass’ (artist statement), 2011


'Dos Sicarios Ejecutan a un Sujeto Armado' (after Farmers Manual)

'Dos Sicarios Ejecutan a un Sujeto Armado' (after Jean-Jacques Perrey)

'Dos Sicarios Ejecutan a un Sujeto Armado' (after John Smith)

'Dos Sicarios Ejecutan a un Sujeto Armado' (after John Cage)

The clip as found.

Aztec (No) Futurism

Jorge Arreola & Jorge Juan Moyano, Emptying a FOLDING TIMELINE

TIEMPO MATERIAL Espacio Cultural Edificio S, Sotano, La Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, 8 Marzo – 6 Abril, 2012.

Billboards and hoardings stand large and empty over Ciduad Juarez – advertising nothing – a testament to NAFTA’s empty promise of prosperity.

Merz – marks, scratches and layers of paint, pen, paper, plastic, popular icons, snatches of newspaper headlines recount gods, monsters and mortals at war and/or at play.

Painting and photograph face off. Terminal points transmit a field of forces that oscillate, attract/repel. A re-presentation that allows one to perceive at once the socio-political processes (colonialism, capitalism, postmodernization, globalization) that manifest as the maquiladoras-theme parks-yonkes-check points-dental clinics-discount chemists-red-light-districts that signal the trash strewn limits of the first world.

Times change. Bodies once caught within the gears of industry (and once sacrificed to cosmic machinery) are superseded by more flexible forms of info-techno-capital that self organize, reproduce, work and expend. Biopolitical forces conditioned within a climate of semiocapitalism that propel the processes of life (and death) along the border.

Too old for Juarez, too young for America. Los Ni Nis – Generation Free Trade – got wise to the fact that the fast cash from the dirty work in the drug trade is the only way to make any sense of their short lives. Homicidal and suicidal foot soldiers in a war already absorbed into the everyday.

Una mujer decapita a un integrante de Los Zetas is a grizzly YouTube artefact of an act that quite literally attempts to unmask the state, and predictably reveals no villain nor any great conspiracy. Captured-tortured-decapitated-broken- blogged-tagged-Tweeted – desensitized poor players are caught in a self-perpetuating game of impunity. Echoes of pre-Colombian mythology in recent history suggests an ancient order or blue print of the present in the past, but what is the use of such a meta-narrative? What is so good about such an underlying truth? Why bother with meaning at all?

“I answer tentatively that I think there is a correlation between the causelessness of Mexico's war and the savagery. The cruelty is in and of the nihilism, the greed for violence reflects the greed for brands, and becomes a brand in itself.” [1]

Billboards and hoardings stand large and empty over Ciduad Juarez – advertising emptied of its symbolic meaning – promise nothing, but belie a significant philosophical shift. As a relic of the future, they hint at a time to come once liberated from the repetition of myth and unbound from the insistence of history.


[1] Vulliamy, Ed. “Ciudad Juarez is all our futures. This is the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad.”, 20 June 2011.

The Politics of Ass

El Beso Negro (The Black Kiss)
Yautepec Gallery Mexico City,  27 June 2011.

In Mexico it is impossible to ignore the escalating violence of the ‘War on Drugs’ and the symbolic and often flamboyant forms of death in public view. Along the border a generation of los ni nis – disillusioned youth who neither work nor study[1] – are being lured into narco organisations, sometimes by force, to partake in these cruel practices.

In a country that has a well-established culture of death, such displays inform a unique popular dialogue. The true crime blog ‘el Blog del Narco’[2] emerged in 2010 as a response to an unprecedented media ban on often charismatic narco content. After the murders of several journalists reporting on narco activities, these anonymous bloggers could make ambiguous claims and draw international notoriety for showing stories from the front lines of the drug war that no one else dared to. Simultaneously, a generation of narco youth raised on social media began courting celebrity by posting the dispatches, threats and trophy videos that drive an emerging trend of watching real deaths online – a nefarious spin on prosumer net culture.

Recently I became fixated on the teens Gabriel Cardona and Rosalio Reta, american citizens from Laredo, Texas, who had fallen in with the ruthless crime organisation, Los Zetas. The childhood friends were trained as sicarios (hitmen) and would kill across both sides of the border, earning as much as $10,000 per hit plus perks such as kilos of cocaine, sports cars and women. Cardona and Reta were arrested in a sequence of dramatic events following a police sting at a safe house in Texas. Whilst awaiting trial Cardona had a fellow inmate tattoo two wide-open eyes on his closed eyelids, and Reta had his face tattooed with the markings of a jester. They are now serving multiple life sentences.

Earlier this year I released a proposition in Mexico hoping to provoke a discussion about the popular dynamics of narco culture and chase up on rumours of drug money being laundered through the art world. To my surprise, a prominent young art collector named Andréa Quiñones–Armería responded to my call and we met soon after to discuss the implications of the piece. The next day we approached a tattoo artist, before hastily arranging a date with Yautepec, an enterprising gallery in Mexico City. Four days after our first meeting Andréa had the faces of Cardona and Reta, who had their faces tattooed in prison, in turn tattooed on her ass.

Located along a busy thoroughfare and framed within the floor-to-ceiling gallery windows, the performance played out as a raucous, near spontaneous event in full view of the public, as well as being streamed live online and Tweeted. The act I proposed, a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of narco teen power by literally ‘giving it the arse’, was transformed by Andréa whose social standing laced it with feminism and class subversion. In Latin America the word is ‘ass’ and – as Andréa’s partner made clear to me mid-tattoo – a woman’s ass in particular is a trigger for desire. Now permanently inked with two very distinct faces of narco terror, Andréa also bears some of that strange power.

El Beso Negro (The Black Kiss) took place at Yautepec Gallery Mexico City on 27 June 2011 with the tattoo artist Greñas Rotten.

Viva La Muerte! Death trips the Distrito Federal

They died on their own from the beating, guey. They just died. They just died and shit, guey. You should have been there. You would have seen Poncho, dude. He was crying like a faggot —

‘No, man, I'm your friend.’

‘What friend, you son of a bitch, shut your mouth!’

And poom! I grabbed a fucking bottle and slash! I slit his whole fucking belly. And poom! He was bleeding. I grabbed a little cup and poom! the little cup poom! poom! I filled it with blood and poom! I dedicated it to the Santisima Muerte. And then I went to the other faggot and slash! I slit him and same thing. [1]
— Gabriel Cardona

Gabriel Cardona and Rosalio Reta

In a telephone conversation teenage sicario (hitman), Gabriel Cardona, describes to his childhood friend and accomplice Rosalio Reta how he finished off two rival teenagers he had kidnapped. After torturing and killing them with a broken bottle he disposed of their bodies in a 55 gallon drum of diesel and set it alight, making a guisado (stew) of their remains.

Cardona and Reta grew up poor and troubled in border city of Laredo, Texas. By their early teens they had drifted out of school and lured by the promise of fast cash, faster cars and racy chicas, the childhood friends fell in with the notorious Mexican drug gang, Los Zetas.

The two were schooled in arms, combat and logistics by the criminal organization founded by what many believe are US trained former mercenaries. Graduating as prized Zetillas (baby Zetas), the two American teens would kill on command across both sides of the border. They lived in safe houses and were kept on retainers, earning as much as USD 10 000 and two kilograms of cocaine per hit, plus perks such as a USD 70 000 Mercedes car for a job well done.

The telephone conversation above was intercepted during a police operation lead by Laredo detective Roberto Garcia in April 2006 that resulted in Cardona’s arrest, then aged nineteen. Cardona admitted to his role in seven murders and implicated Reta amongst others. Reta went on the run to Mexico.

A month later, Reta was arrested in Mexico in conjunction with a botched hit at a Monterrey nightclub. He allegedly killed four and injured twenty–five after opening fire and lobbing a grenade into a crowded bar. Still, he missed the target and Los Zetas wanted him dead. Reta contacted Roberto Garcia from jail and pleaded to be extradited to the US. There, in a taped interview the seventeen year old admitted to a staggering 30 murders.

Gabriel Cardona is currently serving eighty years for five murders, after which — if he’s still alive — he will serve a life sentence for the kidnappings. Whilst awaiting trial Cardona had an inmate tattoo two wide open eyes on his closed eyelids. In 2008 Reta was sentenced 70 years for two murders in Laredo. He also had a prisoner tattoo his face, with the marks of a jester.

Now removed from the streets they re–surface in the popular imagination — their adolescent lives an upturned coming of age narrative — rags to riches, in a few short years. Fast times, high on narcotics, pumped with adrenalin and teenage hormones, came to a spectacular halt followed by an ongoing, real time extended epilogue of a lifetime behind bars.

‘You know, it’s the money, cars, houses, girls,’ he said, pausing, ‘and you know that ain’t going to last a lifetime, that it’s going to end.’[2]
— Rosalio Reta

Let’s go beyond the moral outrage and consider how these young and shameless gen–y killers operate as cultural agents, representative of (and possibly heroes to) a brazen generation of extreme necronauts [3].

Growing up along a crucial corridor for the lucrative drug and organized crime industries Cardona and Reta were exposed to some of the most flamboyant narco violence and mythos.

“You know, here, all the little kids that are young, they say, ‘I want to be a firefighter when I grow up,’ ” Mr. Reta said, “Well down there, they say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a Zeta.’ ”[4]

Like many working within the Latin American drug trade Reta and Cordona worship the cult of Santisima Muerte, and both sport large tattoos of this female deity of death.

Santisima Muerte

That there is no beauty without death, its immanence. We shall sing death's beauty — that is, beauty.[5]
— International Necronautical Society

Tepito is a notorious barrio in downtown Mexico City known for its large market selling shoes, clothes, electricals, as well as pirated and counterfeit goods. It is also the centre of a more illicit trade in cocaine, marijuana and more recently arms. [6]

After World War II Tepito earned a reputation as a neighbourhood of undesirables, because of the poor socio-economic status of its residents and its high density of cheap, poorly made housing. In the post-war down turn the government initiated a rent freeze. Conceived as temporary measure it has never been lifted, despite efforts by governments and landowners, consequently Tepito maintains some of the cheapest rent in Mexico. The ‘bravo barrio’ has been a point of contestation amongst city officials for years, but through the resistance and ingenuity of its residents it has developed a unique culture of its own, that prides itself on its relative autonomy.

Residents of crime-tossed neighborhoods like Mexico City’s Tepito began revering Santa Muerte more than Jesus Christ, experts say. Some of its devotees eventually split from the Catholic church and began vying for control of Catholic buildings, and that's when Mexico's Catholic church declared it a cult. [7]

One reading of La Santisima Muerte is as a willful subversion of Catholic tropes and rituals. The use of marijuana in lieu of incense and the development of a 'rosary' [8] at the shrine in Tepito are methods of evangelising those at society's margins, those who feel let down or poorly served by the Church and other authorities.

Just as the Virgin of Guadalupe is thought to be syncretic of the pre–Hispanic mother goddess Tonantzin, it is suggested that La Santisima Muerte is affiliated with the Aztec ‘Queen of the Underworld’,  Mictecacihuatl. When considered in relation the Virgin of Guadalupe — the one who sustains life — La Santisima Muerte is then the one who takes it away.

I visited the shrine in Tepito in March 2011. Enriqueta Romero Romero, known as Queta, who established and maintains the shrine located at the front of her house, changes the deity’s dress on the first Monday of the month.

Thousands of pilgrims flock from all over Mexico city and beyond, to bring offerings and seek blessings, often with their own personalised statues of La Santa. Some crawl on their knees from the subway. The faithful bless each others statues with Tequila, disperse apples and palletas, and smoke marijuana in her honour. Despite its fearsome reputation, the gathering was much like any other community festival — marked by good will and a sense of pride. La Santa was dressed in red.

Teresa Margolles: The post–mortem body politic

[Margolles] interrupts the art space by bringing in these materials that are really charged, which traces the relationship between death and power. It's about necropolitics, and the eruption of necropolitics in the art sphere.9 Mexican artist Teresa Margolles employs the tactics of infection. Working as morgue technician she began using materials from her tasks at work — run off water, blood, body fat — and redeployed them in the service of her art. [9]
— Mariana Botey assistant to Cuauhtémoc Medina, curator of the Mexico Pavillion, Venice Biennale 2009.

Tarjetas para picar cocaine/Cards to cut cocaine (1997-9)

I would give addicts these cards, and when they turned them around they would see the image of this dead body. This shows that the consumer is also part of this circle. You don't feel responsible of (for) this death, but you are part of this chain of death. [10]
— Teresa Margolles

Margolles distributed these cards at Art Basel Miami (2008) and the Venice Biennale (2009), prestigious art events where it would not be unreasonable to find such drugs consumed, bringing together economies to do with the consumption of drugs and economies concerned with the consumption of art.

With 21 Score Settlings (2008) Margolles set pieces of glass collected from narco pay back crime scenes into 21 pieces of jewelry — rings, bracelets, bangles, pendants, earrings — made at Joyería Anne in the Rafael Buelna market in downtown Culiacán. This market is affiliated with drug trafficking and the small businesses are believed to aid in the laundering of narco dollars.

21 Score Settlings

Evoking the ‘Narco saint’, Jesus Malverdé when displayed at prestigious galleries and art fairs — and more significantly when sold — these works ‘infect’ the art market with the drug economy, again implying the narco dollars operating within the Art World.

The Sacrificial Economy

Mexico’s policy is consistent: It makes every effort to appear to be stopping the drug trade so that it will not be accused of supporting it. The government does not object to disrupting one or more of the smuggling groups, so long as the aggregate inflow of cash does not materially decline. [11]
— George Friedman, STRATFOR Global Intelligence

It is here that the sovereign power must intervene, not necessarily to kill those who refuse to die but to ensure, through the use of force, that they will be exposed to death and compelled to accept the rationing of life by the market. [12]
— Warren Montag

If the drug trade is so significant economically, then the right to kill exercised by the narcos like Las Zetas, is ultimately accepted as part of that set of relations. As the ongoing killings in Mexico suggest, the conditions by which this ‘rationing of life’[13] occurs is beyond the control of much of the population. It is well known that criminal organizations sponsor politicians and have law enforcers on their payroll, often given the choice between plata o plomo — gold or lead. With this culture and depth of corruption it is difficult to distinguish between state powers and organized crime. Perhaps, to follow artist Teresa Margolles analogy, the situation is like an ‘infection’ of civic life. A post–democratic economy infected by death — where death proscribes the rituals and processes of daily life.


[1] Dittrich, Luke 2009. ‘Four Days on the Border’ Esquire June.
[2] McKinley, James C. Jr, 2009. ‘War without Borders: Mexican Cartels Lure American Teens as Killers’ New York Times, June 23.
[3] From the Greek words nekros (νεκρός), meaning ‘corpse’ or ‘dead’, and nautes (ναύτης), meaning ‘sailor’.
[4] Ibid, McKinley, James C. Jr, 2009.
[5] International Necronautical Society, 1999. ‘INS Founding Manifesto’ The Times, London, 14 December, p. 1.
[6] Thompson, Barnard R, 2010. ‘An Inside Look at Mexican Guns and Arms Trafficking’, 31 May.
[7] Gray, Steven, 2007. ‘Santa Muerte: The New God in Town’ TIME, 16 October.
[8] Guillermoprieto, Alma, 2008. ‘Letter from Mexico: Days of the Dead — The new narcocultura’ The New Yorker, 10 November.
[9] Cited at ‘Temple of blood: Teresa Margolles at the Venice Biennale’, Intersections: A blog by Daniel Hernandez.
[10] Teresa Margolles (translator unknown) Artist talk. Global Feminisms, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Forum, Brooklyn Museum March 23-25, 2007.
[11] Friedman, George, 2010. ‘Mexico and the Failed State Revisited’ STRATFOR Global Intelligence April 6.
[12] Montag, Warren, 2005. ‘Necro–economics: Adam Smith and death in the life of the universal’ Radical Philosophy, 134 November–December 2005 pp 7–17
[13] Ibid

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fourteen year old Sicario "El Ponchis"

'El Ponchis' AKA Edgar Gimenez Lugo was arrested in November 2010 boarding a plane in San Diego, California bound for Tijuana. Aged 14, the 'killer child' began his life of crime aged 11, being forced to work for the Cartel Pacifico del Sur (CPS).
Operating with a band of adolescents, including his ​​sisters, known as 'The Chavelas', they would torturing and execute and dispose of bodies. Appearing in videos and photos posted online 'El Ponchis' can be seen beheading one of his victims, hitting another, and posing next to a corpse.

Mexico drug wars: Channel 4 News special report