Things are messy, things are edgy, things perhaps don’t function as how they should function. But seeing that as in a sense some kind of possibility, that’s where a lot of my work lies.
My name is Melanie Smith, we’re in Mexico City. The first few years here it was very emerged in looking into what was here. A completely different reality to the one that I’d expected really. There’s that funny mixture of epox and scales and colours and things. It’s very intense visually, very saturated, all that kind of intensity of the street started filtering the studio. It immediately started this interesting fusion between where I am, where I come from and then this fusion and perhaps even alienation of where I was living. The piece Aztec Stadium in 2010, with 3,000 kids from the state education programme, we asked them to lift a series of these placards or stunt cards I think they’re called with iconic graphic images from the history of Mexico and other histories. The whole piece in itself was this…it really is between this fragmentation of the image and the chaos.
Xilitla is a video piece based on surrealist god and made by Edward James who was an Englishman; he came to live in Mexico. It’s filmed in a vertical format. I suppose importantly the place itself is very vertical, so when I first went there with Rafael Ortega we were filming in horizontal format and we were cutting out half of the structures. The other reason was to very much break with that tradition of the horizontal. My work is constantly questioning this messed up modernities or in a sense failed modernities, mixing up that occidental and colonial gaze with where I live.