¡Por México! by MaisMenos

Curated by Heitor Alvelos
May 11 – June 16, 2017

The origins of ±MAISMENOS± date back to 2005, as the neo-liberal paradigm was already in full swing across the known world. However, strange as it may now seem, political deconstruction was not the first vocation.

The project actually began as research at the University of Porto, Portugal —the premise being the ubiquity of an ambivalent icon anonymously posted throughout the city, and an interpretation of what narratives, fears and desires people projected into it. Subsequently, equally anonymous street interviews revealed the sheer intricacy of social dynamics as created in (and through) a semantic vacuum.

As years progressed, ±MAISMENOS± gradually incorporated elements of socio-political commentary and denouncement, often with a healthy dose of irony, resorting to local contexts and sayings as invitations for reflection and action. The allure of the “street art” label and corresponding media exposure could have easily overtaken the project, turning it into yet another commodity in the hall of mirrors of fake rebelliousness. As the project began resonating internationally, so the accuracy of its bite could be rendered as entertainment. This was a tangible risk, and at one point, it seemed almost inevitable.

The candidate knew better.

Fast forward to 2014 when ±MAISMENOS± returns to its roots, fostering its own reevaluation in the context of a doctoral design research. The quantum leap takes the good part of a year: rather than reflect the cynical paradoxes of contemporary politics, why not traverse them? ±MAISMENOS±, the political party, was born: first as an idea, then as groundwork; lately as a full-fledged set of actions that wisely and bravely blur the boundaries between the gravitas of power and the hallucinatory aspects of contemporary entertainment. Current politics are themselves largely based on this ambivalence: the Trump phenomenon certainly includes vertiginous hilarity as a component. However, what this ambivalence at the hands of politicians certainly oversteps is the need for mental and perceptive clarity.

Instead, ±MAISMENOS± performs the rituals of deconstruction that we usually only dare approach in the form of muted verbal resentment. These rituals are as fascinating as watching the current, perplexing global spectacle of impunity, and their tangible impact is equally as uncertain on us. But what ±MAISMENOS± ultimately manages to do is step into this World of politics enforced through allegory. If the theatre of power reinforces the peripheral, passive observant role of the citizen, then a ritualization of its multiple shortcomings may well be the one effective means to wake us up.

Text by Heitor Alvelos, May 2018

Playlist by ±MAISMENOS±

1 – Seize the time – Jesse James
2 – Sounds from the streets #1 – into the fair
3 – Sounds from the streets #2 Rally – Carmen – Habanera
4 – Carmen Habanera – Anna Caterina Antonacci
5 – Sounds from the streets #3 – Algo que tengas
6 – La Llorona – Lila Downs
7 – Sounds from the streets #4 – Cacahuates
8 – This is America – Childish Gambino
9 – Sounds from the streets #5 – Storm at the Gallery
10 – I need a dollar – Aloe Blacc
11 – Sounds from the streets #6 – Street Music
12 – Poncho – Jesse James
13 – Sounds from the streets #7 – El monstruo

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