Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ivan Puig and friends

A lucky referral from a Seattle friend: she had met an artist in La Paz who she insisted I contact because "he's a genius". His website confirmed it. I got in touch, and he graciously invited me to lunch and to see his studio. He works with a great group of artists and designers. Meeting them was a welcome break from being a tourist, and a window into the invigorating world of Mexican contemporary art and collaboration.

Ivan (second from left) and his team; have forgotten names (lost the list.) Will update soon!

Ivan repurposes musical instruments. This piano is hooked up to the box on the right with a hank of colored wires (running under the silicone hammers.) Touching the bare electric wires in the black box plays eerie, clanky, otherworldly music.

SEFT-1. A Manned Railway Exploration Probe that runs both on tires for the ground and convertible railway wheels. Ivan and his brother have explored much of the abandoned railway tracks, which are gradually being cut up for salvaged metal. His goal is to restore passenger service in Mexico! or at least bring attention to how the loss of it has changed the country for the worse, both environmentally and socially.

SEFT-1 in action. It has the charm of a '50's conception of a futuristic vehicle. Built by artisans in the workshops in Ivan's neighborhood, the kind of collaboration that he and I both love. We share a lot of obsessions, it turns out...

The screen in the cockpit.
Ivan's spent a lot of time talking to people whose lives have been affected by the loss of rail travel.

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