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No hacer nada

Learning through Improvisation, Sensitivity, and Empathy


by Daniela Flores Arias

and Carmen Huízar

No hacer nada is an artistic / curatorial / editorial duo, formed by artists Daniela Flores Arias (Mexico City, 1994) and Carmen Huízar (Colotlán, Jalisco, Mexico, 1995) that has operated since 2015 based in Mexico City. Its main objective is to generate collaborations with other artists, curators, editors, and writers to create a community. No hacer nada [Not doing anything] is enunciated as an "active negativity" of resistance and contradiction, embodying the polysemy of their name: to stop doing things they don't agree with and do things their own way.



No hacer nada was born in 2015 when we were still students at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado "La Esmeralda'' [National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving] in Mexico City. It arose from an interest in observing and learning more about the work and process of our colleagues. Also as a response to the existence of so many projects in which only onvres had a space to develop.

We thought it was necessary to create "something" so that artists like us could occupy a space. It has been practically a case of making something out of nothing, since the material resources we have had at our disposal have been very limited. In fact, what has given strength and solidity to the project have been the collaborations and the network that has been created.


We have not declared ourselves as a pedagogical project, but in retrospect, we realize that there is something implicit in No hacer nada. When we invite artists to collaborate in a project, the process and the way we relate to each other is different from what might exist in an artist/curator relationship, because the roles of each party may already be very well defined. Being an artist/artist relationship, we have another way of approaching the processes and interests of the people we invite to collaborate. Questions, suggestions, comments, and references arise from both sides of the conversation. In this way, we are in constant feedback.

This dialogue and learning does not only happen between No hacer nada/collaborators, but also collaborator/collaborator, because putting all these people together, who perhaps did not know each other before, to show their work together, or to think about something in common, generates interesting dialogues that we can all be part of.

On the other hand, one of No hacer nada's main interests has been to think and look for exhibition devices outside the norm. We do not have a fixed physical space, we do not have a comfort zone, so each collaboration involves working with a different space, with different characteristics, which is also a constant learning of improvisation, problem-solving, and working with the possibilities and restrictions offered by the environment.

Display of the by mail exhibition 'Encarno todo lo que temes y odias' made by Camila González in Santiago, Chile, 2020. Courtesy:


From the beginning, one of our objectives has been to create a platform for artists at the beginning of their careers, like us, so that together we can take/make spaces that suit our professional and emotional interests.

Due to the precariousness of the art sector in our country, we had no choice but to learn to work and make the projects work adapting to the resources we have, "to do as much as possible with the little we have." However, one of our objectives is to be able to provide the best conditions within our reach for collaborations.

Installation view of Julieta Gil's solo show at a parish hall in downtown Mexico City, as part of 'Préstamo de espacios,' an exhibition cicle devised, curated, and organized by, 2017. Courtesy:

We are constantly looking for ways to counteract the strategies of violence and systematic invisibilization of the work that most institutions exercise or have exercised against artists.

We are also interested in identifying and showing the exercises of self-understanding that take place in the artistic process, which are usually overlooked because of their subjectivity; we think they are extremely valuable for the development of ideas.



The process is very organic, it happens mainly by affinity with the practice of the artists. We also take on the task of getting to know and investigating the work of artists who are not in our immediate environment.

The most radical and important thing for us are these collaborative networks that are generated with each artist, as well as the mutual support that lasts after the projects, thanks to the bonds and friendships that are usually generated. It is these experiences of sensitivity and empathy that keep an idea alive and circulating.


No hacer nada [Not doing anything], the name of our project, is an active negativity. We take up this idea because ’to do’ from this position gives a potential character to the pauses, to the traces, to the faults. It is a play on words, the double negation for logic is an affirmation, but in Spanish, a double negation is a reiteration. We like to move between the academic and institutional ambiguity of the name and explore the possible meanings applied to our artistic work. To do nothing as resistance and contradiction, to use polysemy to our advantage to stop doing things we don't agree with, and do things our way.


Our approach as artists and the way in which we get involved generates a team in which the curatorial role has no academic hierarchy. We try to expose our point of view both socially and artistically, thinking of curatorship as a creative act. We are constantly bouncing ideas off our colleagues about how our work does or does not fulfill a function for an art community that is in continuous formation and rupture.


It is as if No hacer nada were an organism that contracts and expands. We always try to involve collaborators and even spectators as much as possible in the project. To exemplify this point, we would like to talk about Encarno todo lo que temes y odias, an exhibition that started in 2020. At that time, mobility and contact with other people was still quite restricted by the pandemic. Physical exhibitions could not be made in a traditional sense of the term, so projects and spaces, both institutional and independent, began to generate digital content, but in most cases without problematizing the medium, simply making a literal translation from physical space to virtual space.

Before the pandemic, we had done a couple of virtual exhibits, but at that time we didn't want to further saturate the supply of that type of content. We wondered how we could do a physical exhibition without the people attending having contact with other people and therefore putting themselves at risk. So we thought of doing a postal exhibition.

We made a selection of five works that we had never seen in person, only on a screen. We asked the authors to send us a good photograph of each work and to give us their authorization to make tabloid sized printed reproductions. We printed 50 copies of each of the works in risographs. Through our social networks, we urged people who would like to receive an exhibition to send us their physical mailing address.

To the first 50 people who sent us their address, we mailed the exhibition, which consisted of printed reproductions of these five works. In addition, it included a sheet with the curatorial text and on the back, it instructed the recipient to freely mount the exhibition, take a photographic record of it, and then send it to our email address. This is how an exhibition was mounted in 50 different cities in Mexico and other countries.


In Progress

Until recently, the editorial projects we had worked on had only had a digital output. We were eager to venture into print, until finally in 2021 we started collaborating with Andrea García Flores. With her, we started an editorial collection of feminisms and dissidence. The first two titles we published were La Códiga by Betzamee and Un Cachondeo Tirano by Anais Vasconcelos. They were print runs of 300 copies, printed in risography, made with the support of sponsorships from the Jumex foundation.

La Códiga is a facsimile of an artist's book. For this book, Betzamee used a book about Andy Warhol as a prop and covered its pages with white paint to (re)write it. She took words that have a masculine grammatical gender and modified them to have a feminine grammatical gender (changing "o" to "a"). The words, when turned feminine, enter the social and cultural imaginary, putting into discussion how it affects the idea of enunciating the world in feminine; the book is also a tribute to Valerie Solanas.

Un Cachondeo Tirano was based on the work logs of Anais Vasconcelos. These logs are a way of self-knowledge through the archive and function as a methodology in her plastic research, as well as being entangled with her personal diary. Thus, the boundaries between private life and work dissolve and make the work, the archive, and the process become one and the same.

Now, in 2023, we want to print the next two titles of the collection: Te by Sonia Madrigal and The Nameless Body by Jimena Medina. Te is a photo book that portrays various graffiti with declarations of love between adolescents, which are constantly painted in public spaces in Nezahualcóyotl and Chimalhuacán (State of Mexico). In other parts of these same neighborhoods, dozens of bodies of young women have also been found, victims of extreme violence, exercised mainly by their intimate partner, relatives, or acquaintances. Many others have disappeared.

The Nameless Body is a graphic narrative book that shows the intimate space as a dreamlike place, to approach the body from the experience of the feminine as a process of confrontation and dissociation.

In Retrospect

All the projects have involved a particular lesson. But to mention just one, we can talk about the most recent one, Cuerpo Hablante, a printed exhibition (book) made with the support of ESPAC, which includes the work of 30 artists. The title is a quote from Paul B. Preciado, who thinks that bodies recognize themselves as speakers instead of women/men and recognize the possibility of accessing all signifying practices, as well as all enunciation positions, as subjects that history has determined as masculine, feminine or perverse.

We are interested in starting from this indefiniteness of what bodies are, to avoid speaking for them and of them as binary entities that become objects of study and perceive them as bodies that enunciate and situate themselves from their particularities. The selection of participating artists addresses the constant struggle to understand and resize themselves in order to take their space and the word (written or spoken). The links are sensitive and become perceptible, even if there are no words or formulas to explain them in a concrete and closed way. We start by trusting in the subjectivity of sensations to weave the ideas of this curatorial experiment.

Installation view of Xanath Ramo's solo show at RRD Vicente Guerrero, Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec in Mexico City, as part of 'Préstamo de espacios,' an exhibition cicle devised, curated, and organized by, 2017. Courtesy:


We tend to emphasize the performativity of an exhibition as a way to contradict the Western and colonial obsession of preservation and sacralization of art as an object. We think that the fact of declaring ourselves in movement avoids conceiving our practices as static or neutral.

We do not seek to have an established physical space but to occupy spaces that respond to the needs of each collaboration and temporarily transform the functions of each place. The virtual aspect of our project prevents us from having to cling and limit ourselves to a continuous physical space to be able to do things. It allows us to move, adapt, and change. We try to understand the virtual space as an exhibition space that you can access from other places.