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Esvin Alarcón Lam

The Sovereignty of Mangoes

past

Caracas — Mérida, Venezuela

2022—I

04/24/2022 — 05/07/2022

Formative project developed in partnership with Goethe-Institut Venezuela, in collaboration with Fundación Espacio and Espacio Proyecto Libertad, with participation from professors and students of Universidad Central de Venezuela, Universidad Simón Bolívar and Universidad de Los Andes.

Esvin Alarcón Lam: "Cardamom Drawings" (2021). Courtesy: Esvin Alarcón Lam.

Esvin Alarcón Lam

(Guatemala, 1988) is an artist whose work transits diverse media such as sculpture, installation, photography, painting, sound, video, and performance. His projects involve critical thinking in relation to history and political notions related to people's and material displacements, sometimes inspired by his family history as part of the Chinese diaspora in Central America. He is also interested in contemporary debates as part of a complex and ever-changing world.

"As an artist, my interest in channeling artistic interventions in public space lies in its potential to transform collective and individual sensibilities and, therefore, to understand it as a space that generates experiences and conversations."

Esvin Alarcón Lam

The CLASSROOM proposed by Esvin Alarcón Lam seeks to investigate the symbolic relations between the people and materials that are present in the public space, with a particular emphasis on their contrasts with the private sphere. He will use the life cycle of mangoes as a link—a notoriously relevant fruit for the Venezuelan society, due to its easy access and abundance at the height of its seasons.

Throughout the CLASSROOM, a series of collective research and experimentation exercises will be developed around this fruit as a consumer object, understanding it, in turn, as a conceptual, transactional, and symbolic matter. A product in which the market’s dynamics of displacement and commercialization converge. A fruit produced both domestically and as an export monoculture, inserted in a contradictory economic system dependent on the import of commodities.

In this way, the questions raised around the cultural and economic complexities discussed will be the starting point for reflection through images, stories, and various narrative forms that link the personal and the collective to social memory and urban space. Together, they will give shape to a formative project, an artistic experience of collective learning and making.

The workshop will involve students of architecture and art in the Venezuelan cities of Caracas and Mérida. It will depart from participatory research resulting in an action-intervention in public spaces, on places where mangoes have caused contradictions and discordances: challenging the rational logics of urban modernity through a gesture, so simple, such as the spontaneous appearance of a tree in the middle of the city. These paradoxes, as well as the dynamics that unfold—always linked to the social, cultural, and political realities of the place—will be the core issues addressed by this artistic project.

Esvin Alarcón Lam: "A la Defensiva" (2017). Bienal de la Resistencia. Courtesy: Esvin Alarcón Lam.