Re-proyectando+escrituras-habla+coreografías (Re-projecting+writings- speaking + choreographies | Patio principal del Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco | June 4th, 2011.
BY GERARDO CEDILLO
Our first meeting with Ricardo Basbaum took place at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) during a presentation of his work. It was followed by a talk with Cuauhtémoc Medina, a preamble to understand the discurse and structure of his work. The next day we met at the UVA (Unidad de Vinculación Artística of Centro Cultural Universitario-Tlatelolco) to discuss and plan the work. Basbaum showed us images we hadn’t seen in the presentation the previous day, to widen the picture of a work that has been developed in different parts of the world and he now wanted to develop here in Mexico. His work starts with an image -he calls it a “virus”- which becomes a guide and eventually a methodology to create actions. This methodology is similar in most cases. First, an almost sculptural element is built based on the image (a sort of polygon). Then this same polygonal image is put on a map of the city and a guide or reference is drawn on each angle of the figure. This is where there will be activities. Finally, a groups of people, including a few artists, bring the complete or fragmented figure to these places, where they organize an activity or simply document a moment with the sculpture. After this, Ricardo collects the different records of the event to create devices to visualize the activities, contexts and uses given to an object with no other specific use than to detonate relationships and give them a meaning related to the project. After presenting his methodology, Basbaum suggested working on something starting with the piece but intervened by us. Many of the peers felt confused by the rigid and unclear methodology. Since our first engagement with a guest artist we had never come across the difficulty of organizing such a collective work. Our proposal was following the same methodology divided in eight work groups of two to three people with two variations. On one hand the activities would be determined, not by the polygon, but by a dynamic chosen by each groups and on the other hand , we would create an audible piece integrated by a phrase or chorus (Ricardo called it a refrain).
The activities took place during two days in different places and starting different situations. After this, we recorded the sound pieces at Radio UNAM and agreed on the details of the final activity. It would be an audible installation along with a big format drawing representing the path of each of the teams.
The final activity started with a tour of the eight groups through different metro lines, playing the audible pieces with speaker-backpacks. Meanwhile, Ricardo Bausbaum and another group created the big format drawing in the central patio of the Centro Cultural Universitario-Tlatelolco. Afterwards, the groups met at a metro station to go to the Centro Cultural. There, they put the pieces of the polygon to create the full image and put the backpacks on the spots where the activities took place. This ended with choreography where participants went through the routes on top of the drawing.