Mourning bad death
Mourning bad death, 2013, series of self-portraits, documentation of performance, 6 x 8 photos. Exhibited in the Glass Tank Gallery in Oxford, UK.
As a response to a critique of using images of people I do not know (missing people posters), I started to place myself in the making of images. I felt a responsibility to expose myself to the audience’s gaze, too. In this series of images, I started to over-identify with the missing women previous to their disappearance and experienced negative emotions such as the despair I inferred they had experienced minutes before or during their kidnapping. For this series of photographs, I wore my white shirt, a minimum wage worker’s shirt. I dressed specially for the photography session so that I could create an atmosphere in which I felt I was a worker, just like some of the missing women. We both earned minimum wages but in different latitudes in the world: Ciudad Juarez and Oxford.
During the research, the artistic practices constantly looked for links between the missing women and myself to discover what made us similar, apart from nationality. I discovered that I am part of those stories of Mexican women around the world earning minimum wages. In contrast with some of them, however, I do not live in a war zone, I do not work in a ‘maquiladora’ (factory on the border in between Mexico and the United States) and I was undertaking a Ph.D. at Oxford Brookes University, partly self-funded and partly paid by the Mexican Arts Council. Still, I believe we can share emotional behaviors in different geopolitical frameworks.
During these sessions, my artistic approach intended to create an experience that shifted the memories I collected in my mind while reading the articles in newspapers that describe how women’s bodies or remains of bodies have been found. My art practice avoids the double victimization of women. At this point in the research, I attempted to create a fictional mourning body.