Water the theme of the second round of Context

September 2004 -

In July and August 2004 the second round of Context, a relay project with artists from different countries, took place in Mexico City. This time the theme was water.

Context was organized by the Argentinean artists' platform Trama for the RAIN Artists' Initiatives Network, the network of artists' initiatives set up by former residents at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. The project is studying the possibilities of in-depth collaboration between artists from different cultural 'contexts'.


 Still from water-video, Context project Miguel Rodriguez/Jorge Gutiérrez 2004

The first round was held in Tucumán, Argentina, where the Dutch artist Germaine Kruip collaborated with theatre director and performance artist Jorge Gutiérrez. For the second round Gutiérrez travelled to Mexico City to work with Miguel Rodríguez, who is involved in the Mexican artists' initiative El despacho.

According to Miguel Rodríguez, his companion Gutiérrez became interested in the significance of water for Mexico City. The metropolis was built on a lake that has gradually been bled dry. Rodríguez could identify with the theme because the body has been a central theme in his own in work for years, 'and the body is eighty percent water'.

'What always strikes me in this city,' says Rodríguez, 'is the noise. In many streets the sidewalks are completely taken over by street vendors selling illegal CDs and films. We made a video with running water that would be displayed simultaneously on all these vendors' screens. In this way, we wanted to interrupt the constant, shrill noise with unexpected images and soothing sound.'

The first attempt failed. The street vendors' leader cut the power at the decisive moment, because he did not support the event. A second attempt a week later was more successful.

It is not yet clear to what country Miguel Rodríguez will travel for the third round of Context or with whom he will collaborate. What is certain is that the interaction with the public will again be the focal point, as that is one of the most important aspects of Rodríguez' work.