Accepted paper:

Art in public space as an agent of collaboration: the case of contemporary Mexico


Magdalena Kohakova (Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes collaborative art practice within self-dependent communities forming in contemporary urban societies in Mexico. These phenomena are discussed in the case studies of three communities where the role of art as an agent of engagement and identity shaping is extensively powerful.

Paper long abstract:

The presented paper analyzes the phenomenon of collaborative art practice in Mexico in the case studies of three communities, Tepito Arte Acá and Reynosa Tamaulipas in Mexico City and Arte Jaguar in Oaxaca. In Mexico, where collaborative art practice has deep tradition (e.g. Mexican Muralist movement), visual approach to research of collaborative tendencies and self-dependent communities forming within the contemporary urban societies seems to be particularly efficient. Although examined communities are centered around art practices, their social and politic aims and struggles goes far beyond the art. As neoliberalism got increasingly influential in Mexico over the last two decades, more and more communities have been emerging to subsidize basic functions of state (e.g. health care, education, security and public amenities) that the Mexican government fails to provide to its citizens. In such communities, new political and social experiences are very often articulated and communicated through art in public space. The fact that this form of art is rooted in post-revolutionary visual discourse makes its influence even stronger. It shapes cultural identity and collective imagination of people in discussed communities. In this research I'm building on findings of my previous long-term field research of the function of visual communication in the process of negotiation and shaping of the national identities I carried out during two last years in Mexico.

panel P087
Collective imaginations and collaborative art practice