Modern cultural heritage reimagined

Biblioteca Pública del Estado near Agua Azul park has held part of country’s heritage for more than 35 years.
© Moisés Mondragón

August 2019 marks the beginning of a new urban project in the CHANGING PLACES / ESPACIOS REVELADOS series. Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and the capital of the state of Jalisco. It is steeped in tradition and will be the focus of an eight-month process dealing with the city’s modern architecture – one of Guadalajara’s underappreciated treasures.

History of modern architecture in Guadalajara

In 1950, Guadalajara went through one of Mexico’s most extreme modernization projects.

Since then, large functional buildings, minimalism, and the utopia of collective living have given the city a unique character. But some of the buildings that best represent this period are currently empty or are hardly being used. The new project will see these buildings transformed for artistic purposes.

An unrealized modern utopia

The modernization movement was characterized by the urge to innovate: It was widely believed that progress could prevent poverty. This dream ended in 1970 with one of Mexico’s largest economic crises, a problem compounded by a wave of migration that followed. Vacancy levels increased noticeably, starting from the city center. Neglected or derelict buildings caused many residents to move to different parts of the city. Spurred on by real estate speculation, this centrifugal movement has continued through today.

Traces of the past reimagined for the city’s future

Artists, academics, and civil society organizations will work together on the project and look for traces of this failed modern vision in the abandoned buildings and vacant or underutilized facilities that can be put toward a different future. The CHANGING PLACES / ESPACIOS REVELADOS process begins in August 2019 with a series of city labs and workshops that focus on the districts of Mexicaltzingo,Analco and the city center. Academics, artists, and residents from the communities will conduct research on the vacant buildings and examine maps in search of ways to breathe life into this cultural heritage. These findings will be followed by artistic works in the abandoned buildings. The project also includes an international forum, scheduled for February 2020, that will address the topic of “Failed Modernity.” The artistic works that emerge will be presented over two weeks at the end of the project in March 2020 at 20 locations with free admission.

In collaboration with additional partners

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