Cuenda | Pedestrian area of Reforma Avenue, between Av. Insurgentes and the monument of the Ángel de la Independencia, Mexico City | 10 and 11 December, 2011

Cuenda: a thread 8mm thick.

The first stage of the act was making black cuendas with a length equivalent to the body mass index (BMI) of a missing person. We got this data after knowing their height and weight. We chose black not as a mourning or loss but to represent a visual vacuum.

With the help of volunteers, artists and activists, we wrapped in cuendas the figures of 13 statues of historic liberal characters in the nineteenth century. We picked those statues because they are in real scale and they are monuments abandoned in the urban space, without any maintenance or people in charge of safekeeping them. The idea was making them visible.

During the two-day act these liberal “lent their bodies” to the missing people, making them visible in a symbolic way, from their absence. This means, as a vacuum that can’t be filled with nothing or no-one. It was a sculptural gesture that generated direct dialogue between more than 300 people, counting pedestrians, volunteers and relatives of the victims.

My proposal was to rebuild this absence-presence with and from the body as a poetic and knowledge tool.

First gazing critically to the media model or paradigm of the last years which shows the body as spoils of the different power groups in Mexico. Then, this reflection would give me elements to rebuild this absence-presence with actions like measuring, weighing, calculating, extending or touching to recall inch by inch the intimate memory of the first thing that composes us: our body.

Thank you:

To the family of missing people and the Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, for their invaluable collaboration. To José Miguel González Casanova, Graciela Schmilchuk, Tania Solomonoff, Teresa Lartigue y Marlene Roa. To Alberto Valente, Alfadir Luna, Alejandro Quiroz Soriano, Amauta García, Carlos Mier y Terán, Claudia Dinorah Luna Fuentes, David Camargo, Edgar Antonio Bautista, Gerardo Sánchez, Germán Rostan, Israel Fernández, Ixel Rion, María Sofía Iglesias, Marielena Paredes González, Melchor Flores, Marlene Roa, Nadin Reyes, Rubén Miranda, Víctor García Zapata, Yesheida Segundo y Xchel J. Gallegos Galván; for their participation in the sculprutal action. To Javier García, Alejandro Meléndez, Víctor García Zapata y Roberto Villanueva; for their collaboration on research and logistics. To Brenda Ortiz, Alejandro Meléndez, Patricia Benítez, Marlene Roa, Andrés Villalobos, Gerardo Cedillo y Rogelio Vázquez, for the photografic and video reco