Movimiento plástico (Plastic Movement) |Historic Center, Mexico City | December 22nd, 2008
BY LIZETH GAMBOA AND ALDO MARTÍNEZ
We were summoned for the workshop at the classroom in San Carlos at 5pm. The goal was a public intervention in the Historic Centre.
Nobody knew what to expect, because during those December days, there were Christmas trees, lights, innovative and useless products everywhere as well as a surreal view in the middle of the Zócalo: a huge artificial ice rink.
We started discussing about the use that the local government was giving to the public space of the Centre during those days, and about the policies of fun and popular entertainment promoted by those with power, that only answered to their own needs and ideas of spectacular nature. Their logic dictates that the more expensive the better, bigger and more absurd. In this line of thought we came up with various ideas but we had a short time for working on the piece for the intervention and a very low budget. So we decided to meet the following day with more specific ideas.
It was a time when the trending topic broadcasted everywhere was the imminent world crisis and the efforts that the governments were making in order to fight it. A few days before Christmas, there was a huge tension in the air, people also talked about mass dismissals in several countries and countless depressing things. However, floods of people going shopping didn’t get any smaller; neither did the advertising that called them to consumption and waste. The idea for the piece we finally performed emerged from this.
We realized that we kept a lot of plastic bags in our houses as a result of our families’ shopping. So we filled up the workshop with these bags of all different colors and shapes. It took us an entire day of work grouping them by size and color, and three more days to join them together through a heat press, in work shifts from 11am to 6pm, during which there was always someone working except during lunch time. Martin turned out to be an excellent teacher. Always open to feedback, he paid attention to us and listened to our contributions. Working with him was really easy and fluent; this was because he took the work seriously and he took us the same way. We could notice this because he was always who arrived first, he left when it was time to close the classroom, he worked as many hours as we did, he talked using an almost perfect Spanish, he laughed and drank beer during the breaks.
And so hours and days went by, joining colorful patches of plastic together until we got a really huge bag made of bags that doubled the size of the classroom itself, it was big enough to cover more than 20 people who would participate in the intervention.
The day of the performance we made a tour that started in the Republica de Guatemala Street and ended in the crossroads of Corregidora and Circunvalación. There we took off the huge bag from our shoulders and rolled it up to make a huge strip we held on to, we took it back to the neighborhood of the Antiguo Colegio de Monjas and there we hung it from the guardrails on the third floor, it was something like a canvas ceiling that covered the patio. It was until that very moment when we realized the actual size of the huge bag and the work we had done.