Project developed during the Bienal de Tlatelolco residency

November 2019-January 2020

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Special thanks to:

Balam Bartolomé Antonio Monroy

Tecalli / volcanic rock, thermoformed PET plastic / 17 x 19 x 26 cm / 2020 

Collaboration. Biography of the rock written by Laura Escobar, México City, 2020

Church of Santiago Tlatelolco, archaeological site and  Nonoalco Tlatelolco housing complex ,  built in the 1960s by architect Mario Pani.

Codice Florentino, 1979 

Thermoforming process, plastifying the rock at Central de Maqueta factory

Walking by the church of Santiago de Tlatelolco we came across a volcanic rock, one of the predominant construction materials in the religious architecture of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, This rock had fallen to the ground shortly before, during the 2017 earthquake, at that time we picked it up and remained fascinated by the way this object embodies and brings together the complex geological, biological, social and spiritual constructions.


This rock probably comes from the surroundings of the Xitle volcano in the south of Mexico City, and was transported to Tlatelolco for the construction of the temples. Later, with the arrival of the Spaniards, some of these temples were demolished and they used these rocks in order to raise and erect the church of Santiago after the Conquest, in 1521.


This plastified volcanic rock that belonged to an Aztec temple, later to a Christian Church and then fell back to the ground due to the 2017 earthquake. We decided to pick this rock up and wrapping it with everyday PET plastic, adding a layer of our contemporaneity. We wanted to intervene in its geological time, by slowing down its possible erosion, as it is a polymer with high resistance to wear and corrosion, whose disintegration process lasts at least 450 years. This volcanic rock, a building material used by the pre-Hispanic Aztec people and later recycled by the conquistadors, tells us about the flow and recycling of matter and energy that takes place in cities. For this reason, we decided to start a project to write a biography of this rock (ongoing), by using a literary genre usually dedicated to the life and vicissitudes of human individuals, therefore highly anthropocentric, but this time applied to a rock to evidence the confluence and imbrication of geological history and cultural history through this mineral being.

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Trepidar / intervened debris of  Tlatelolco / 190 x 90  cm / 2020 



Intervened fragment of debris from a building of the Tlatelolco housing unit, Mexico City after the 2017 earthquake. We understand the ruins as the result of a process of skin molting from the cities, in an eternal cycle of destruction and renewal. In this piece different elements converge geology, negligence, corruption, expectations, urbanism, it is evidence of the failed modernity project. Architectural dead skin as vestige that carries with it the marks and traces of the processes that have occurred there. 

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Motherboard series  / motherboard cuttings  / 70 x 50 cm  / 2020 

"An ideal piece to reflect on ritual objects as technology in a cosmopolitics context" 

Johannes Neurath

Starting from pre-Hispanic goldwork pieces that we found in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, we create these pieces made of cuttings from motherboard waste. They arise from a reflection on the museum as the privileged space of speculation, we understand most of the ethnographic pieces as technology from another time, whose magical and ritual function is based on information that is codified in each piece, in order to be deciphered. In the same way that motherboards are a technology of our time which is named by some indigenous people of the Amazon as the witchcraft of the white man.


These pieces challenge the speculation about the future of our material culture and its wastes as well as possible interpretations of these as magical, ritualistic, and enigmatic inscriptions waiting to be deciphered, as seen from a future archeology perspective.


These electronic boards remind us of the material and physical part of our current technology whose trend is towards the use and storage of information in electronic media, this has generated an immense amount of waste, which in turn generates practices such as urban mining in which precious metals are extracted from technological waste.

Motherboards are normally found inside the objects and remain hidden from our eyes. When exhibited, they reveal the material basis of our technology, since these boards are agglomerations and re-configurations of various and large quantities of minerals extracted from the earth.

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13.08.1521   / Light box and duratrans print / 120 cm diameter  / 2020 

The work presents a starry sky with the number "13.08.1521" written at the bottom, a number corresponding to the date of the fall, in Tlatelolco, of the army commanded by the tlatoani Cuauhtémoc (Aztec emperor) before the Spanish troops led by Hernán Cortés, a landmark event that meant the birth of Mexico Nation. The image was obtained through computer software that generates a view of the sky at a certain date and place.

The piece allows us to reflect on time and history as a simulation, as intangible matter exposed to subjectivity. The stars seen by the eyes of the Mexica and Spanish warriors were also a fiction since many of them were already extinct stars, whose death rattle illuminated that last battle that embodied, at the same time, the death and birth of a culture. An insignificant event in cosmic terms but prodigious in human, historical, social, philosophical and artistic terms.

Balam Bartolomé

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Equinoccio / Light reflector and snake skin / 105 cm diameter  / 2020 

Equinox is the moment when the sun crossed the celestial equator. This piece includes a light reflector used in photography to reflect the light of the sun, for us it constitutes a solar icon of our present time, it's traversed vertically by a snakeskin that descends remembering archetypal relations between the snake and the sun, cyclical and mythical celestial phenomena that we reenact through the encounter of two materials close to us and far away from each other.

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