Vecinos is an ongoing project that explores unique ways to create intimate connections between neighbors (in a global and local sense) through public art projects and story-telling.
In Mexico ofrendas are traditionally altars to honor the deceased or important figures. In Vecinos, the Ofrenda speaks to the concept of neighbors and community the daily necessities, proximity and our shared experience of mortality and desire, integral components of the vast human experience. This symbolic construction will serve as a representation of the the collective poetics of the everyday humans in New Bedford, MA.
The people of New Bedford were invited to a bring a symbolic object that represents their story in the fabric of the neighborhood of NBMA along with a written statement about the story behind their choice. The objects and stories were then arranged into an Ofrenda.
Can story telling function as a method of creating connections and interest is unexpected places?
Can borrowing and displaying personal history objects, which instigates a collective action of Publicizing the private, serve as practice for vulnerability and trust between strangers?
Can objects serve as potent tools for communication without words?
Ofrenda NBMA seeks to emphasize the valor of poetic actions (in this case ritual/performance/story telling) as valid tools for problem solving and understanding within community.
The concept reflects on hyper local vs. universal: how does the Ofrenda of NBMA ultimately reflect something unique to New Bedford, while still expressing ideas perhaps innate to humanity?
The participants and lenders of story objects were found both by chance encounters as well as through "guerrilla tactics" which here is defined by performative diffusion of the call for story + objects throughout the streets of New Bedford. I searched out participants through personal contact with community and chance encounters, both of which are existing characteristics of community.
Taller/Intercambio de Video | Video Workshop/Exchange
Through this archive, We intend to produce intimate perceptual portraits of living story and human experience, increasing breadth of understanding and points of connection. Through real-time, virtual exchanges across borders we provide an extension of colloquial information between the two countries. Informal documentation intends to add personal + relational perspective as a resource to the current media-bank between geographies in conflict.
Adriana Kong (MX), and myself, Mia Pinheiro (US) hosted eleven artists from MX + US, each created a short video in response to the word: vecinos/neighbors. Both workshops used the same schedule + instructions in both MX + US to establish parallel conditions for making. All was done in real time, in both Mexico City and in New Bedford MA, followed by a virtual exchange of these films across borders. The films were made under tight time constraints, with basic technology and as a result have a raw, uncut, candid quality. Many of the participants are first time filmmakers.
Antonia González Alarcón[MX], Celestina Billington[US], Josie Colt[US], Joselyn Feliciano[US], Elizabeth Garcia Fuentes[MX], Dana Heng[US], Arthur Katrina[US], Laura Ryan[US], Frida Fernanda Menesses Vaca[MX], Mirel Maldonado Viveros [MX], Nicole Winning[US]
Vecinos: a temporary art gallery + participatory space
October 2018 @ Co-Creative Center in New Bedford, MA.
It's purpose is to host intercambio (exchange) between Mexico and the U.S. through various public events + workshops , to create a dialogue around the meaning of ‘vecinos’ (neighbors) while sculpting + archiving intimate perceptual portraits of living story and human experience.
Vecinos functioned a gallery, a 'puesto' (small market stall) and a platform for Film/Workshop Exchange (above) between Mexico + U.S. in collaboration with Fundacion Alumnos in Mexico City (more info about this below under OPEN CALL).
Visitors donated $143 USD total to the American Civil Liberties Union, in response to Trump’s family separation crisis.