Design · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Performativity · Sculpt/Install · Social/Politics

Palas por Pistolas: Turning 1527 weapons into shovels

Palas por Pistolas is a project by Pedro Reyes and it was initiated in the city of Culiacán, a city in western Mexico with a high rate of deaths by gunshot. The botanical garden of Culiacán has been comissioning artist to do interventions in the park and my proposal was to work in the larger scale of the city and organize a campaign for voluntary donation of weapons. Several television ads were prepared by the local TV station inviting citizens to give up a were gun and exchange for a coupon. Those coupons could be traded in a local store in exchanges for domestic appliances and electronics.

1527 weapons were collected. 40% of them were high power automatic weapons of exclusive military use. These weapons were taken to a military zone they were crushed by a steamroller in a public act.

The pieces were then taken to a foundry and melted. The metal was sent to a major hardware factory to produce the same number 1527 shovels. The tools were made under specifications such as a handle with a legend telling the story.

This shovels have been distributed to a number of art institutions and public schools where adults and children engage in the action of planting 1527 trees.

This ritual has a pedagogical purpose of showing how an agent of death can become an agent of life.

Text and Image via Pedro Reyes

Photographics · Public Space · Social/Politics

U.S. | Mexico Border

Animalia · Digital Media · Performativity · Public Space · Technology · Videos

Terra Poo Wifi: Boost your Signal with Dog Poo

Mexican Parks Trade Free Wi-Fi Access for Dog Poop. Dog poop in public parks can really be the pits – however a new campaign by DDB in Mexico includes a genius incentive to get dog owners to clean up their pup’s leavings. For every “deposit” made in a specially sanctioned receptacle, the surrounding area will get free Wi-Fi, paving the road to the information superhighway with poop.

Conceived by the Mexican internet company Terra, the campaign will help bring new Wi-Fi services to local parks and public meeting places. Many parks and areas in the United States now feature Wi-Fi, but the service has yet to become widespread in many areas around Mexico.

To encourage down owners to pick up the business, the Wi-Fi will be administered in timed increments based upon the amount of poop collected. The more poop, the longer free Wi-Fi time will be provided. The whole campaign is executed in a tongue-in-cheek witty fashion, but the incentive is both real, and enticing for park goers wishing to get online while relaxing in the sun. What’s more, the program helps clean up the parks that these very park goers will log online from.

Text and Image via Inhabitat

Human-ities · Photographics · Public Space · Social/Politics

Car Poolers by Alejandro Cartagena

Via Alejandro Cartagena

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Film/Video/New Media · Performativity

The Gomeran Whistle, a Landscape-generated Language

The whistled language of La Gomera Island in the Canaries, the Silbo Gomero, replicates the islanders habitual language (Castilian Spanish) with whistling. Handed down over centuries from master to pupil, it is the only whistled language in the world that is fully developed and practised by a large community (more than 22,000 inhabitants). The whistled language replaces each vowel or consonant with a whistling sound: two distinct whistles replace the five Spanish vowels, and there are four whistles for consonants. The whistles can be distinguished according to pitch and whether they are interrupted or continuous. With practice, whistlers can convey any message. Some local variations even point to their origin. Taught in schools since 1999, the Silbo Gomero is understood by almost all islanders and practiced by the vast majority, particularly the elderly and the young. It is also used during festivities and ceremonies, including religious occasions. To prevent it from disappearing like the other whistled languages of the Canary Islands, it is important to do more for its transmission and promote the Silbo Gomero as intangible cultural heritage cherished by the inhabitants of La Gomera and the Canary Islands as a whole.

Landscape-related professions that deal with constant loneliness, such as shepherds, hunters or fishermen, profit from this system to warn the others from dangers, emergencies, wolf attacks or enemy invasions.

There are whistled communication methods in every main family of languages: French Pyrenees, Turkey, Mexico, Greek islands, Amazon forests, North Vietnam Hmong peoples, or desert zones in West Africa. Listen HERE

The Spanish Canary Islands inscribed on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.


Fashion · Performativity · Sonic/Musical

Botas Picudas: Mexican Pointy Boots

Last year, Vice travelled to Matehuala, Mexico in search of dance crews who wear extremely pointy cowboy boots called botas vaqueras exóticas.

Vice: Last month we went to the dusty city of Matehuala, Mexico, in the northern state of San Luís Potosí on the high plateau of the Huasteca Potosina, in search of the pointiest long-toed cowboy boots ever made. Over the past year, the botas vaqueras exóticas phenomenon has overrun the rodeo dance floors and clubs of this area, much to the dissatisfaction of Mexicans who critique the fashions of their countrymen on hotly trafficked style blogs.

But we were told we were too late, that the wrongly maligned wearers of what are by far the most wondrous footwear we’ve ever seen had been replaced with short, square, “pig-nosed” boots by stubby contrarians.

We’d seen the occasional report about the exotic pointy-boot trend making its way stateside, spreading into Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and other places where big groups of immigrant Mexicans have taken root, and we expected that the odds were pretty low that the style had phased out of Mexico completely. So we made our way to Mesquit Rodeo and Desierto Light, two cowboy venues in Matehuala, where party promoters host dance-offs to music known as tribal guarachero. Essentially, this sound is a combination of thumpy house music, ancient Hispanic chants and flute work, and Colombian dance songs known as cumbia.

Photo by Edith Valle. Via VICE