posting from within the tranquil ground-floor of the Copan, SP. here is where the building´s genius truly lies, the street´s topography coaxed into this small-town arcade of laundromats, coffee-shops, and video stores. the ground falls away in a graceful curve, like the building´s facade.
forty-eight. tidbits: M.C.´s generosity.
* the flag in the Zocolo. a monumentally-sized favorite meeting spot, especially in the mid-afternoon sun, when the billowy fabric above throws a wafting shadow on the stones + people below.
* a tiny amphitheatre + reading space within the .5 mile underground corridor between the Zocolo + the Pino Suarez metro stations. this entire subterranean route has a reading theme, and is lined with small, glaze-fronted bookstores and the occasional corridor cafe.
* 9.21, an attempt at color in a low-income housing project, Ixtapaluca. the accretion and the sameness look neurotic, but at least cheerfully so. this city-outskirt settlement brings with it an entire typology of suburban accoutrement: down the street is a Wal-mart / Suburbia complex + Burger King. however, mixed heterogeneously into the big-box virus remains the fabric of small-scale storefront retail, which remains dominant. an outdoor market a few miles down the road was, in effect, an outdoor Wal-Mart in scope and variety of affordable junk available: electrical plugs, colorful underwear, cheap tools, fried food, artificially-flavored sweets, health + beautycare, etc.
* between Ixtapaluca and the city, along high-speed rte. 190, the wall between the roadside towns and the highway is punctured every few miles to allow for a pasero stop + bright-yellow pedestrian overpass. as the road approaches the city, more formal housing blocks are separated from the highway via a wide tree-planted median, upon which i saw a few joggers.
* Sunday in Alameda Park. the place overflows with public enjoyment. couples laze on the patches of grass, hawkers sell food, jewelry, and music, the city’s Secretary of Culture sponsors staged events (ex. hyper-slick DJ’s from Germany). a handful got their serious groove-on while the rest gawk-bobbed in curiosity. the beats were hard and seductive for a lazy afternoon.
* always, the easily-accessible publication of events, which makes free gallery openings and $1 concerts a near-daily event. Claudia Nierman’s show was strange but sporadically smart, juxtaposing soft images of the body with the metallic or stone overlays of buildings, statues, stairs, doorframes, dilapidated corners of rooms: “it is hard to tell what is soft and what is hard, what is foreground and what is back. does the building or the body come first, and who is clothing whom? are buildings openings to the body, or the body openings to buildings? do we inhabit space, or does it inhabit our cavities?” i also went to Stephan Demming´s video exhibit, ‘The Edge of the City,’ re. his documentary by the same name. traveler, cartographer, video-wandered, director, and collage artist, he seeks to understand the urban boundary as being comprised of ‘spaces and daily activities’ rather than of lines, walls, and rules.
Mexico City’s graphic communication cannot be underestimated. its historical legacy of non-verbal public communication in the way of murals extends to the functional everyday (ex. transit), and makes it one of the more freely-navigable metropolises i have been in. moreover, the graffiti, while generally mediocre, is occasionally brilliant: a blank double-panel sidewalk-level billboard space of light blue paper over layers of older paper + rust had been carved into and read, via the removal of layers, the thick letters: PARANOIA PARADISE... on a main avenue, for all to celebrate.
9.24 Nezahualcoyoti, garbagetown dusk.
a highly-gridded area squeezed on the edge of the FD boundary, just beyond the reach of the Pantitlan Metrostation, Neza is home to a handful of famous athletes and criminals whose past-times include Olympic bike-racing, boxing, and the collection of human ears. the streets are as straight as a razor, and on clear days, lead southward to a stunning view of snow-covered Popo. the main drag is graced with another center median, thickly grown and narrow, upon which a woman was picking some herbs, and at one point in the middle of which a basketball court was barely squeezed. the vitality of the downtown area petered out at a place called ‘garbagetown,’ where my acquaintance once played as a child, and now avoids like the plague, understandably – although there was no stench. still, the melancholy sight of isolated shacks amidst heaps of plastic flyaway scraps and the silhouettes in the distance – human figures, backhoes, and a torn Mexican flag, blowing in the wind – could not be soothed by the mountains and the hugeness of the sky on that elevated plain. desolate, deep purple. the ride home this last night in the City was long and silent.
"The city is being swept away by the metropolis. This action does not just replace one noun with another, but radically turns one state of affairs into a state of perpetual motion. As a collective action -- a verb more than a noun -- the metropolis destabilizes our concepts of time and place. With the dissolution of the city into the forever- emerging metropolis, our existence slides into permanent mobility." - L. Lerup, in After the City