Friday, June 6, 2008
Sand Castles, DV, 60 min (looped continously), Raza Cósmica Productions, Puerto Vallarta, 2008
Nuevo Vallarta, DV, 60 min (looped continously), Raza Cósmica Productions, 2008.
This text was published in relation to the art festival Puerto Vallarta Arte Contemporaneo 08. "Barbie Parachutes Onto Puerto Vallarta's Wal-Mart," Puerto Vallarta Arte Contemporaneo 08. Extended Borders: Shifting Cartographies, May 28-June 1 2008, Puerto Vallarta, p. 4.
Boundaries constitute obstacles designed to be crossed by tourists, inmigrants, capital funds, products, handcrafts, internationally renowned artists, collectors, etc.
After cruise ships unload their passengers in Puerto Vallarta, the tourists' first destination is the handcraft-selling Wal-Mart. On the other hand, immigrants from Jalisco can find Tejuino (a non-alcoholic, fermented corn beverage) in Los Angeles Mac Arthur Park.
Both destinations become replicas of the places where their visitors originated. Thus, Puerto Vallarta experiences a hasty urban development characterized by skyscrapers, while Southern California shows samples of promiscuous forms of Mexican vernacular architecture. Large cities try to capitalize on culture and turn it into another tourist attraction. Other tourist destinations, striving for a share of visitors' purchasing power, generate hybrid cultural products. The parachuting Barbie constitutes an example of this. From my personal experience, Barbie flies and hovers better than the pretentiously trendy two-line kites sold in Europe and Malibu.
The purchasing power derived from the United States' Social Security system has decreased, and many retired seniors move to Mexican destinations such as Puerto Vallarta because the cost of living is less expensive. According to recent statistical data, the Social Security system in the United States is staving off collapse in part because of taxes paid by the immigrant work force; many of these immigrants are Mexicans. So Social Security in the United States has a direct dependence on the immigrants' contribution to the economy.
Art fairs in places such as Miami or even Mexico City become interesting destinations for collectors who travel to those cities-they are then able to avoid the need to visit the various cities where international galleries represented in these fairs are located. Artists such as Damien Hirst, who is British, find it useful to produce art at Mexican beaches while obtaining a greater profit by working with a local gallery. On the other hand, some Mexican artists consider it viable to create work for international markets while eliminating links with their local reality.
This is how contemporary art arrives in Puerto Vallarta, and vice-versa.