All human beings have a spatial dimension. This condition is intimately linked to our collective ways of thinking, feeling and acting in the world; it is for this reason that the public spaces we inhabit and transit as part of our daily lives constantly become scenarios in dispute, not only in their territorial dimensions, but also in their symbolic ones. We can well say that the act of intervening a public space is, in turn, a struggle to win a place in the collective thought.
The selection of photographs shown here exemplifies the way in which diverse civil society actors reclaim public space through physical and symbolic interventions that represent dissidence against the established order of modern societies. The tactics employed are multiple and range from graffiti and the painting of murals, to the use of technology to project messages on walls, the representation of the body and the installation of objects in places reappropriated from symbols.
The interventions shown here transform spaces of power into dissident spaces, in some cases in a fleeting manner, such as the intervention with an audiovisual projector at the National Palace in Mexico City; in others, reconfiguring institutionalized uses and meanings in a transcendental way, as in the case of the Glorieta de las y los desaparecidos in Guadalajara. Some other interventions become dissident traces that travel through the city, such as the feminist stencil on a public transportation vehicle, while some become memorials that remain in the streets, emphasizing the need for justice. In any case, such interventions convey the neglected claims of usually stigmatized minorities or invisible groups demanding rights.
Creatively, these actions tend to deconstruct the hegemonic signs of different public spaces, official emblems, buildings that symbolize the power of government forces, and colonial monuments. The images shown below are a brief reminder that, in the face of injustice, inequality and subjugation, social groups will always have symbolic resources to occupy a place in that spatial condition that is inescapable for us.
We dedicate this gallery in memory of Rogelio Marcial†, magazine collaborator.
Sofia Ron Weigand, Santiago, Chile. November 2019.
Interventions in Santiago de Chile in the 2019 "social outburst" protests.
Mother praying for her daughters
Cristofer Yair Uribe VergaraMexico City, Mexico. September 18, 2000.
Photo taken outside the CNDH on República de Cuba street, Colonia Centro.
Vigil for Victoria from Tijuana
Benelli Velázquez FernándezTijuana, Mexico. April 2, 2021.
Victoria Salazar, a woman refugee in Mexico from El Salvador, was murdered by members of the Tulum police in March 2021. After her murder, there were demonstrations by feminist collectives and migrant rights activists, who demanded justice from various points of the Mexican Republic. A vigil was held at the border wall in Playas de Tijuana to commemorate Victoria's life and dignity. During the event, Victoria's face was projected on the obelisk that delimits the border between Mexico and the United States.
Pink bike for Isabel
Favia Lineli Lucero MontoyaCiudad Juarez, Mexico. January 31, 2020.
Cycling and feminist collectives placed a pink bicycle at the site where Isabel Cabanillas, artist and activist, was murdered during the early hours of January 18, 2020. Isabel used as a means of transportation a bicycle similar to the one installed; on the day of her feminicide she was being transported on it.
Death to the male
Karen Muro ArechigaMexico City, Mexico. February 2020.
Outside of some classrooms in the unam signs and banners were put up with legends addressing illegal and free abortion. One reads that the unam does not protect women, but represses them.
Respect for the uterus of others...
Adrian Enrique Garcia MendozaEnsenada, Mexico. September 30, 2020.
Intervention made during the 2020 feminist march in the Plaza de las tres cabezas.
Genocida: neither forgiven nor forgotten!
Yllich Escamilla SantiagoMexico City, Mexico. June 10, 2021.
In the framework of the 50th anniversary of the massacre of June 10, 1971, also known as Halconazo, the house of former President Luis Echeverría was part of the protest to demand justice.
Flowers against oblivion
Thania Susana Ochoa ArmentaMexico City, Mexico. March 8, 2021.
As part of the International Women's Day march, the National Palace was covered with metal fences. In response, feminists created a memorial for victims of femicide.
Marcia CabreiraSão Paulo, Brazil. July 3, 2021.
Bolsonaro and other politicians of his government represented as convicts in the march for Bolsonaro's impeachment. The broken syringe represents the alleged corrupt practices of the government in the purchase of vaccines against the covid-19.
We are all immigrants
Ana de la CuevaNew York, USA. January 2017.
Women's March in New York, part of the women's rights movement and protests against Donald Trump. It was the largest protest since the mobilization against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s.
Do not forget their names
Jessica Trejo GomezMexico City, Mexico. March 2021.
Intervention at the National Palace, venue of the Generation of Equality Forum, to make the names and lives of women visible to the federal government.
The human rights of women over the rights to culture
Leonardo Rebollar RuelasColima, Mexico. August 16, 2021.
In the center of Colima is located the rehabilitation of a building formerly used as the state government palace. During the 8M protests, a protective wall was erected to demand women's human rights in the face of femicides and cases of disappearances.
Deported artists presenting the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project
Juan Antonio del Monte MadrigalTijuana, Mexico. July 2021.
Deported artists (Chris Cuauhtli, Tania Mendoza, Javier Salazar and José Ávila), coordinated by artist-academic Liz Santana, offer a speech in Tijuana after painting on the border wall their faces and QR codes with their deportation stories as a form of visibilization and resistance against the hardening of immigration policies.
Malely Linares SánchezMexico City, Mexico. March 8, 2019.
Symbolic act in the march #8M.
Madero under siege
Yllich Escamilla SantiagoMexico City, Mexico. August 1, 2020.
The government of Mexico City locked up the statue of Francisco I. Madero, by Javier Marín, preventing it from being used in feminist protests against gender violence.
Reyna Lizeth Hernández MillánNezahualcoyotl, Mexico. March 8, 2020.
The collective Vivas en la Memoria installed and marched with a clothesline of embroidered canvases, where the feminicides of localities of the periphery such as Neza, Ecatepec, Chimalhuacán were recorded.
Traffic circle of the missing and the disappeared
Santiago Bastos, Guadalajara, Mexico. May 5, 2018.
The Glorieta de Niños Héroes in Guadalajara is located at the end of the busy Paseo de Chapultepec. When the disappearances began to be an overwhelming issue for many families in Jalisco, this traffic circle was one of the places chosen to end marches and hold rallies. The base of the monument to the motherland was continuously filled with posters, until in 2018 the one you see in the photograph appeared. Since then, that is the Glorieta de las y los Desaparecidos, to all intents and purposes.
Malely Linares SánchezMexico City, Mexico. March 8, 2019.
Symbolic act at the #8M March
We want to be free; free and without fear
Priscilla Alexa Macias MojicaTijuana, Mexico. August 08, 2021.
Women in defense of the right to decide gather at Mexico's "Las Tijeras" monument to commemorate the arrival of the green tide in Mexico.