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Entre Magia Blanca

“(Inside) Magia Blanca” is a project that consists of posters depicting anagram collages of the book cover “Magia Blanca” that I purchased on the street in Mexico City. The posters were presented at Galerias Plaza de las Estrellas, a shopping mall with an area devoted to spiritual advisers called “Pasaje Esotérico.” I set up my display and spent the day in the Pasaje’s heavily incensed air.

Waiting in the Pasaje Esotérico, Feb. 14, 2011. Photo by Mayte Tojim

(click images below to enlarge with translation)


14 February 2011

It was Valentine’s Day and sunny outside. I was a little sad anticipating a day indoors at the mall. A car filled with helium balloons passed us just before the highway exit.

The Pasaje Esotérico (Esoteric Passage) opened at 11AM. When I arrived at 11:20AM, most of the booths were still closed.  I set up my minimal collages on top of purple mylar paper in a weak attempt to blend with the environment. For most of the morning, the area remained desolate with green curtains covering the merchandise.

A tall man with wavy, long black hair was striding by when he paused at my anagram posters. He asked a woman nearby what the posters were about; his brow was furrowed. I interjected  “jugo de las palabras” (juice of words).  I intended “juego de palabras” (word games). He seemed puzzled and serious. He looked at me intently, long seconds passed. He introduced himself as Brally Sol before disappearing to his booth in a partition underneath fiberglass dolphins.

Pedro Friedeberg vs. Webkinz

On my recent trip to Mexico City, I picked up a small edition of works by Pedro Friedeberg (creator of the famous hand chair.) The images presented below display an uncanny resemblance to Webkinz World. Is there a Friedeberg fan making the mood boards at Ganz? Or is my nephew channeling Mr. Friedeberg? Most likely these images represent the iconography of conspicuous consumption through architecture.

left: Salon Fumador (Smoking Room), Pedro Friedeberg 2000; right: Fancy Living Room, Webkinz design by Ethan Waller 2005

left: Laboratorio inquisitorial (Lab of Inquiry), Pedro Friedeberg 2000; right: Rare & Special Room, Webkinz World, Ethan Waller 2005

left: Salon del Consejo Hebdomadario (Hall of the Weekly Council), Pedro Friedeberg, 2000; right:Talking Room, Webkinz design by Ethan Waller 2005

left: Salon de los embajadores impuntuales (Room of the Tardy Ambassadors), Pedro Friedeberg 2000; right: Roxy's Room, Webkinz design by Ethan Waller 2005

Hallucinogens and Government Protests

drugged oranges and american valenki

Ukraine protesters make farce out of "drugged oranges and american valenki" photo from Flickr user blandm

As we wait to hear the breaking news in the Libya protests, this post finds comfort fixating on the inconsequential details. In a recent statement, Colonel Qadaffi blamed hallucinogenic drugs planted in coffee by Osama bin Laden are behind the uprising.

A few years ago when studying the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, I ran across a similar accusation was made by Yanukovych’s wife to explain the demonstrations. She described “pinned oranges” – oranges injected with hallucinogenic drugs by the Americans – as the reason for the protests.

Obviously, these are not the only instances of hallucinogenic drugs being blamed for anti-governement protests. But they are of particular interest since they try to pretend that the population was drugged against their will. As if once the population recovers from their “trip,” everything can go back to normal. Instead of blaming “hippies” they blame the drug dealer.

2011 Update – Mexico City, exhibitions, publications

Clearing the cobwebs of this blog…The last few months have been great and very busy. Here are some updates:

Mexico City
Currently I am in Mexico City as an artist in residence at SOMA. The time is brief (only 2 weeks) but it has been very productive. With the kind assistance of Mayte Tojim and the staff at SOMA, I have successfully gained access to The Esoteric Passage at Plaza de las Estrellas. I don’t want to say too much about the project yet as it is still unfolding, but hopefully I will have an update after I complete the project on Monday.
Info can be found here: Soma site

Exhibition – Long Beach
In addition, my video “New Babylon” is at an exhibition from Feb. 5 – Feb. 28 with some great artists in Long Beach, CA:
“Video: Recycled”
Produced by FAR (Foundation for Art Resources)
Feb. 5 – Feb 28, 2011
Opening Reception Feb. 12, 6pm-9pm
D-Block Projects 218 N Promenade, Long Beach, CA 90802

Check out this month’s Believer
And finally, this month I have a schema in The Believer entitled “Esoteric Concepts in Copyright Law.” (not to be confused with Esoteric Passage mentioned above). The image at tha top of this post is a snippet. You can find The Believer in most bookstores, or check out their site here.

Book volumes for “The Iraq War” Wikipedia entry

from James Bridle’s project at booktwo.org:

I talked about Wikipedia because for me, Wikipedia is a useful subset of the entire internet, and as such a subset of all human culture. It’s not only a resource for collating all human knowledge, but a framework for understanding how that knowledge came to be and to be understood; what was allowed to stand and what was not; what we agree on, and what we cannot.

This particular book—or rather, set of books—is every edit made to a single Wikipedia article, The Iraq War, during the five years between the article’s inception in December 2004 and November 2009, a total of 12,000 changes and almost 7,000 pages.

It amounts to twelve volumes: the size of a single old-style encyclopaedia. It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes “Saddam Hussein was a dickhead”.

link to site

Visualizing the Wikileaks War Logs

This post is copied from the Bits Blog, New York Times By Nick Bilton

Visualisation of Activity in Afghanistan using the Wikileaks data from Mike Dewar on Vimeo.

The intensity of the heatmap represents the number of events logged. The color range is from 0 to 60+ events over a one-month window. We cap the color range at 60 events so that low intensity activity involving just a handful of events can be seen — in lots of cases there are many more than 60 events in one particular region. The heatmap is constructed for every day in the period from 2004-2009, and the movie runs at 10 days per second.

The orange lines represent the major roads in Afghanistan, and the black outlines are the individual administrative regions.