Cabrón Footprint
BWS
Mexico City
FEB 4 - APR 26 2019

In a moment of unprecedented extraction, consumption and exhaustion of natural resources, a parallel crisis of social resources emerges.

Facing this collective Cabrón Footprint, the question becomes: how to offset one’s emissions?

Cabrón Footprint was produced between Paris and Mexico, framed on each side by the twin advents of the French Gilets Jaunes movement and the Mexican Gas Crisis. Both of these situations represent a leveraging of trust and goodwill, a social response to a government manoeuvre around a natural resource, and remain unresolved at the time of writing.

As AMLO summarises with remarkable economy: “It’s not a problem of supply, it’s a problem of distribution”.

A series of oil paintings occupy the perimeter of the gallery. The paintings share a repeated geometric form, a composition of overlaid architectural “footprints” from the plans of various social structures and settings (civic buildings, parks, city squares etc). This geometry provides the foundation for a play of variations between two phrases. “El Mundo” appears in a morphed newspaper font, denoting The World as first an object of mediation. “LA MÁS BELLA INVERSIÓN” on the other hand - sourced from an antique coin dealer’s promotional material - trades in the absolute. The double meaning of the Spanish “inversión” is crucial here, being both to flip something inside-out or upside-down, and also the act of investment. Framed by an inverted monochrome sunrise and rainbow, the petroleum industry’s “inversión” reaches its crux point at the horizon line. These paintings function as pseudo-posters within the exhibition, optimistic treatments of language as surface, hovering towards the hyperbole of advertising.

A series of industrial fans, made of thermoformed glass and mounted on their own supports, mark out the three corners of the gallery. They are programmed by an electronic system to make a slow synchronised movement - a double clockwise rotation, a pause, a double rotation in reverse, and repeat. A gesture towards circulation, which, after a moment of doubt, is taken back.

The fans were designed to operate in unison, giving the space a rigid sense of atmospheric control. However, the amateur electronics are possessed by their own idiosyncrasies, and each fan carries out its operations at random, stopping, starting, and vibrating on the spot. They collectively express the unpredictability of personality in an authoritarian system.

The exhibition’s two wood platforms, housing vitrines and the glass exhaust fan units, have been designed and colour coded to echo a magazine advertisement promoting the amazing efficiency of PEMEX’s new oil rig platforms in the Mexican Gulf - a hyperbole mirrored by the paintings around it. This advertisement from 1981 appears in one vitrine alongside further vintage reference publications from PEMEX, an informational CD-rom about independent interconnected air conditioning systems, a face-painted village child, and a tourist T-shirt promoting Mexico City (“Chilangolandia”) as the most “Cabrón” place in the world. This ephemera is complimented by an Excel spreadsheet text authored by Kit Hammonds, an exhaustive investigation into the parallels between natural and social resources in crisis.

Cabrón Footprint was made possible by the support of Taller los Guayabos and Ceramica Suro, Guadalajara. Special thanks to the team at Guayabos, Saul Becerra, Javier Rodriguez, Kit Hammonds, Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, and Brett Schultz.

cabrón m
1.(derogatory) coward
2.(vulgar, derogatory Latin America, Spain) bastard, motherfucker (compare English jackass)
3.(vulgar, derogatory, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba) cuckold
4.(derogatory, Latin America) pimp (prostitution solicitor)
5.(informal, Mexico, Costa Rica) mate, dude (term of endearment between friends)

Photos: © PJ Rountree