is one of the most populous and most fascinating cities in the world. So I relished the daunting challenge of representing the city in a video for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 (embedded left), spoke at a conference of bloggers in 2011 and wrote about it afterwards, and made another video in 2011 for an installation about informal settlements, which I focused on Chimalhuacán in the city’s northeast.
The Biennale city video catalog description reads:
“The sheer size of Mexico City is difficult to fathom. From a human scale, the city may be experienced as a series of different nodes of activity. Informal merkets grow organically into circuits of infrastructure; barrios abut new commercial developments. The Mexico City video collage explores these zones of encounter through archival film and contemporary video footage. The neighborhoods observed include Neza, Polanco, the Centro Histórico, La Condesa, La Merced, Chalco, Santa Fe and Coyoacán.”
When I returned to the city in 2011, I appreciated the chance to make a video about one neighborhood, rather than trying to capture the entire megacity. In order to provide introductory context for the exhibition Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, the curatorial team commissioned me to produce a multimedia installation that would engage exhibition visitors with some of the sensory experience of informal settlements. I chose six informal settlements across four continents, and Chimalhuacán, to the northeast of DF, stood out for its pace of growth and the complexity of connections between its historic town square and its sprawling informal housing. I shot this footage with the collaboration of Homero Fernandez and Ray Marmolejo.