statement

Citámbulos: Journey to the Mexican Megalopolis / through the Looking Glass

Citámbulos – Journey to the Mexican Megalopolis is an interdisciplinary exhibition which brings together the work of artists and urban researchers to take us on a sensory journey through contemporary life in Mexico City. It presents a wide range of phenomena unique to the city, yet relevant to the issues faced by mega-cities around the globe. Together these build a portrait of this megalopolis, showing why it is both a rich source of inspiration for contemporary art and an essential point of reference in global discourse on the future of cities.

The exhibition is structured like a public transport system, inspired by the Mexico City Metro, with 21 stations arranged along five thematic lines. Each station presents a multi-layered analysis of a single aspect of the city through video, soundscapes, installation, object-art, photography, etc., and texts both explanatory and literary. Altogether the exhibition presents the work of more than 120 artists, urban planners, architects, biologists, writers and Mexico City’s inhabitants. It features both the work of emerging artists as well as internationally renown artists like Carlos Amorales, Livia Corona, Miho Hagino, Betsabeé Romero and Hector Zamora.

The Citámbulos exhibition first opened at the German Centre for Architecture, Berlin, from July to September 2008 (see photos), accompanied by a one-day international conference on the urban issues raised in the show. From February to April 2009 the exhibition transferred to the Austrian Architecture Forum in the city of Linz, European Capital of Culture for 2009. From September 2009 to January 2010 the exhibition opened in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, often described as the top museum in Latin America (see photos). Again, it was accompanied by an international one-day symposium on urban topics, as well as a series of workshops and a one-week public arts course. Most recently, the exhibition was presented in the City Museum, Copenhagen, from May to August 2011 (see photos), accompanied by an extensive programme of public workshops for children with invited artists from Mexico.

The Citambulos exhibition has been created to engage with audiences both in Mexico and internationally. Its flexible design and accessible texts have been conceived in such way as to address distinct interests and perspectives (anthropological, urban planning, art) on the Mexican capital and urban agglomerations in general. Different versions have been adapted to enter into dialogue with specialist audiences of architects and urban planners (Berlin, Linz), as well as with local residents and visitors (Mexico City) and urban residents abroad (Copenhagen, Berlin, Linz) assessing citizens’ relationship with Mexico City’s heritage and inviting the public to re-imagine attitudes to the present and the future of this and other cities.

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