Amphibious Cities / The valeu of the trace

Karla Jasso

Mexico - Biennale Arte 2015

Mexico - Biennale Arte 2015

(Possessing Nature)

This project began in the most modest way, that is, starting with a map and a line: a line that unexpectedly gathered and brought about uncertainty and crisis; a map that eventfully revealed a specific cartography, a cartography of presences and absences linked to the hydrological memory of two amphibious cities. As watery masses, Mexico City and Venice share an 'origin,' but not a 'destiny.' It is no doubt at the point where they stopped sharing their own nature that the imaginary is activated, presenting itself as two sets of records: as a city of canals on the one hand, and a city of drainages on the other. It articulates in itself a hydraulic map, a 'topo-metonymic' cartography that in turn awakens the textures of the colonial sovereignty and the naval empire.


How are we to narrate its process? In order to define the direction and meaning of the trace, we located the places, buildings, and architectures that have housed the Mexican Pavilion since 2007, starting off from intuition and the pure gesture of a cartographer's gaze. This year, Mexico's cultural institutions have decided to re-integrate themselves into a cycle of active participation in the Venice Biennale. The result of that cartographer's intention produced a strange weaving together of the relationship between power and architecture. If Mexico came back to the Venice Biennale in 2007, this 'coming back' implied, to a certain extent, coming back to 'inhabit' it, to look for a place to stay. In 2007, that place was the Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel. From there it moved to the Palazzo Rota Ivancich, where it remained until 2011. In 2013 it was held in the former Church of San Lorenzo, after which it finally acquired a 'place of its own': a 'permanent' rental in one of the Aresenale's Sale d'Armi (i.e., armories); a perilous, delirious route, to be sure. From 2007 on, Mexico's presence was accommodated and displaced at an alarming pace, as if illuminating Western architectures of power: political power (materialized in the architecture of a nobleman's residence), economic power (in the home of the figure of the merchant and his exchanges), religious power (the church with its mystical history, at the service of the mendicant orders), ultimately ending up in a military space.

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  • Title: Amphibious Cities / The valeu of the trace
  • Creator: Karla Jasso


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