The Architectural Heritage of the Valley of Mexico By way of the Eyes of Santiago Arau
The heritage of Mexico Metropolis is extraordinarily wealthy and numerous as a result of an extended historical past that overlays like layers above the city cloth since pre-Hispanic instances. At the moment, it is likely one of the largest cities on the planet, and its heritage is mirrored in its structure, museums, historic websites, cultural traditions, protected websites, gastronomy, and rather more. This chronology has been evidenced via varied historic information. Nevertheless, up to date recording is important in moments the place we’re writing historical past instantly with completely different digital instruments.
On this sense, over the previous few years, Mexican photographer Santiago Arau has taken on the duty of documenting life in Mexico Metropolis from the air. He has captured landscapes, outside live shows, marches, and protests, in addition to the periphery and the encompassing volcanoes. He goals to know how the pure heritage pertains to the constructed heritage in a metropolis the place the boundaries between these two parts have gotten more and more blurred.
This arduous work has resulted in a person exhibition titled “Heritage,” presently on show on the third flooring of the Palacio de Bellas Artes within the Nationwide Museum of Structure in Mexico Metropolis till January 2024. The famend photographer’s work showcases unlikely views that shock viewers, typically depicting frequent locations. Moreover, it gives commentary on financial, political, environmental, and social points. Concurrently, a homonymous e book is being offered, marking a milestone within the historical past of architectural heritage within the Valley of Mexico.
The mission consists of round 200 images taken between 2015 and 2023 with the aim of exploring the heritage of the Valley of Mexico – its geography and its tradition – and representing the state of this heritage within the current. The narrative begins with the volcanoes of a metropolis surrounded and constructed upon them, together with probably the most well-known like Popocatépetl. This private quest led Santiago to find some lesser-known ones that had assimilated into the city surroundings. The pictures depict craters internet hosting soccer fields, agricultural fields, landfills, and even housing.
The analysis modified my understanding of the connection between folks and volcanoes. Earlier than photographing them, I perceived them as one thing separate from the human metropolis, geological parts floating above the metropolis. Now, I’ve witnessed the various methods by which volcanoes have been integrated and absorbed by the town, changing into a part of the surroundings.
At the moment, Mexico Metropolis, previously generally known as the Federal District, sprawls over a monstrous grey expanse of roughly 1,485 km² within the central-southern area, constituting 0.1% of the nation’s whole space. It’s geographically bordered by the State of Mexico and Morelos. Regardless of showing as a minuscule territory in comparison with different states, this space has been probably the most vital heart on the nationwide stage for 5 centuries and probably the most aggressive internationally.
With practically 22,000,000 folks, immediately the metropolitan space of the Valley of Mexico is taken into account probably the most densely populated city agglomerations on the planet. This metropolis serves as the first hub for tourism, training, tradition, financial system, and politics within the nation, making it probably the greatest landscapes to find vital works of latest public structure.
An area for reflection is offered, aiming to coexist with the venue and the everlasting murals on the museum’s flooring. The story begins with pure heritage, corresponding to volcanoes and lakes, transitioning to the constructed heritage within the pre-Hispanic interval, the conquest, and independence. It briefly explores the twentieth and twenty first centuries, concluding with a devoted area to reminiscence.
Santiago Arau’s work is a much-needed perspective that goals to maneuver from the digital to the tangible, turning contemplation right into a bodily act to halt time and deeply look at these images on varied scales. The act of developing reminiscence, not forgetting, of presenting alternative routes of seeing is important.
My intention right here is to showcase these issues which were relegated to oblivion. The irony is that the lakes have been drained to make manner for the town, however with out them, the town struggles to outlive. To maintain its twenty million inhabitants, Mexico Metropolis should continuously pump water into the aquifer, a dramatic act that’s inflicting land subsidence. Right now, the town is sinking. A area as soon as wealthy in water is now desperately thirsty.
The exhibition is accompanied by a homonymous e book that may be bought immediately on the museum.
I really feel very lucky to have the ability to do what I all the time needed: inform tales via images. Every single day, for over two years, I’ve thought of this e book—the best way to put it collectively, the best way to clear up the puzzle by enhancing texts, and discovering the proper sequence of images to see the town with new eyes. I’ve tried to visually narrate some occasions, such because the 2017 earthquake, the anti-monuments to the disappeared college students, and the local weather disaster, which hangs perpetually over Mexico Metropolis within the type of thick atmospheric air pollution. This e book might be printed at a time when know-how has accelerated life’s tempo to such an extent that experiences exterior the digital realm have gotten more and more uncommon. Thanks for taking the time to cease.
For extra data go to Santiago Arau’s profile.