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Desinterés Social de Monica Arreola

Last updated on February 9, 2022

Quiero felicitar a Monica Arreola, arquitecta y artista Tijuanense por su inclusión en la Whitney Bienal del 2022 con su proyecto desinterés social.

I would like to congratulate Monica Arreola, architect, and artist from Tijuana for her selection to the Whitney Biennial 2022 with her project “desinterés social”.

Para ver la obra / To see the project: https://www.monicaarreola.com/desinteres-social

https://whitney.org/exhibitions/2022-biennial

Aquí un breve texto sobre una de las fotografías de Arreola . Here is a brief text reagarding one of Arreola’s photographs.

Monica Arreola. From the series Desinteres Social 2014

As Roland Barthes might say, this photograph hides nothing.  Its punctum is the writing on the walls, the dead landscape, and concrete slabs in irregular shapes.  Dark or black rectangles where windows should have been and a black cloth resting over a decayed landscape frame the image.  “There is another (less Proustian) expansion of the punctum: when, paradoxically, while remaining a “detail,” it fills the whole picture” (Barthes, 1983).  The photograph makes visible the absence of a home.

Three rectangular structures of derelict or still borne houses are centered in the composition, each with two dark square openings as if staring back at the viewer.  In the foreground, a landscape of dead lawn patches and a few invasive greeneries create a datum for the aborted homes.  In the background, the city crouching on distant hills dissipating under a gray mist of a cold morning.  There is no sign or sigh of human life.  The landscape is desolate.  The only fragment of urbanity (stadium) is a semi-finished perimeter wall of an adjacent gated community displaying a couple of insipid graffiti tags.

“The Photograph is a literal emanation of the referent” (Barthes, 1983). 

The camera angle frames a one-point perspective, an architectural graphic device, a virtual view of the world, unlike how we see with our own eyes.  By looking at the image, we do not know why the photographer used that point of view.  There is no accurate way to be in a place.  However, I cannot seem to divert my attention from the writing on the walls, the scribble of signs or words in black outlines, and others in faint orange.  Tagged with no apparent order, nevertheless widespread on the surface to produce an aesthetic mood of the objects.  The photo also has fluffy clouds!

Rene Peralta

Works Cited

Barthes, R. (1983).  Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography.  New York: Hill and Wang.

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