PROYECTO COYOTE, curated by Lucía Sanromán, is a collaboration between Estación Tijuana (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico), Taller 7 (Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia) and the haudenschildGarage (La Jolla, California, USA) as part of the program entitled Espacios Anfitriones for Encuentro Internacional de Medellín MDE11 that took place from October 6 -27, 2011 in Medellín, Colombia.
Organization: Lucía Sanromán, Marcos Ramírez ERRE (Estación Tijuana), Taller 7 (Carlos Carmona, Mauricio Carmona Rivera, Paola Gaviria, Adriana María Pineda y Julián Urrego), the haudenschildGarage.
…teaching does not occur without learning, and by that I mean that the act of teaching requires someone who tutors and someone who learns. To teach and to learn function in such a way that, on the one hand, the person who teaches also learns because he or she recognizes knowledge acquired before and, on the other, because by observing the curiosity with which the student works towards learning, the educator discovers questions, accomplishments and errors about what they are teaching.
- Paulo Freire cited in the curatorial statement for MDE11
Encuentro Internacional de Medellín MDE11: Enseñar y aprender. Lugares del conocimiento en el arte (MDE11: Teaching and Learning. Sites of Knowledge Through Art positions pedagogy as an active space of aesthetic and cultural production and curatorial axis. The independent art venue Estación Tijuana (Baja California, Mexico), together with the artistic residency Taller 7 (Medellín, Colombia)—in collaboration with the cultural search engine and art salon haundenschildGarage (La Jolla, California)—take this as point of departure in their proposed collaboration for the Espacios Anfitriones (Host Spaces) program of MDE11.
Proyecto Coyote (Coyote Project), as the proposal is entitled, transforms Taller 7 into the studio of Estación Tijuana in order to “learn from Medellín”—to paraphrase the Venturi’s celebrated title Learning from Las Vegas—and from its processes of civic regeneration through art and cultural activism in response to the social and physical decomposition caused by “narco” violence in Medellín especially during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s.
More than a physical space, Estación Tijuana is a collective of artists, poets, writers, social workers and citizens from Tijuana that share a vital interest in generating dialogue and forms of being in community outside the limits circumscribed by violence, state politics, and the brutal Capitalism imposed on the border between Mexico and the United States since the 1970s.
Like other cities of the North of Mexico, since 2006 Tijuana has been severely affected by drug trafficking and the war against the drug cartels, as well as by decades of economic policies that have generated important vacuums in the social contract. Proyecto Coyote departs from the perception of a historic parallelism between Tijuana and Medellín, and proposes that during the last 6 years Tijuana finds a mirror in another place and moment: Medellín during the 1980s and 1990s when drug traffic, repressive politics, and civic crisis eroded the social and governmental structures that weave the fabric of a place together.
Nevertheless, during the last decade Medellín has generated other forms of civility and urbanism that today are an example of progressive politics through the world. Proyecto Coyote proposes that it is imperative to learn from their example, and analyse these advancements from a critical position, understanding that within Medellín critical questions are arising about the forms and means of addressing and encouraging real change beyond a sophisticated, media-savvy image of gentrified urban development. Although Medellín’s urban renewal programs and architectural projects have dominated the image of the city abroad, responsibilities and obligations between the government and its citizens in education, work creation, health and quality of life remain central questions in that city.
Proyecto Coyote exchanges the idea of an alternative art space as site of presentation of works of art, and focuses instead in a community that, as Freire notes, by learning also teaches and by teaching learns. Between the 6th and 27th of October 2011, Estación Tijuana will collaborate with Taller 7 and offer an intense program of workshops, conversations and investigation given by professionals that have been working in Medellín in social regeneration through art, architecture and activism. These workshops will be directed towards 12 creators from Tijuana that work towards ways of rethinking the urban and social space through art, video, poetry, architecture, urbanism and cultural activism, in this way opening up to a two-way, reciprocal dialogue.
Estación Tijuana is a “coyote” that leads Tijuanenses to Medellín generating a dynamic of dissemination of knowledge that is cellular and rhizomatic, reversing the flow of information usually expected from North to South, now from South to North. Estación Tijuana travels to Medellín to learn from its urban regeneration processes; to learn from the position and agency granted its citizens and their possibilities of participating in the creation of the city; from its ways of thinking art, architecture and urbanism as part of a project of endogenous citizenship; it also travels to Medellín looking towards alternative opinions and critical practices from both official and unofficial sectors.
Proyecto Coyote’s objective is to encourage active exchange of knowledge between 12 outstanding individuals in Tijuana’s cultural community who are recognized for the work in pedagogy, mass-media, architecture and literature and more than 20 cultural agents active in Medellín who will give conferences, site-visits, and offer workshops and dialogue directed specifically towards this group. In every case, the program of investigation and study will be focused and elaborated towards the investigation of each participant from Tijuana, and will respond to his or her individual interests, as well as to the need to appropriate knowledge and systems of citizen agency generated in Medellín.
Although the contexts for these two cities coincide in the experience of violence generated by drug trafficking and illicit activities that are associated with it, Tijuana and Medellín clearly have significantly different historical and contextual differences. It is for this reason that the project is founded on the transference of knowledge that implies the transformation of information when it is adapted to the specific conditions of Tijuana—which, in some cases may be made extensive to other cities in the North of Mexico. At the core of Proyecto Coyote lies the idea of knowledge itself as cultural value; therefore, this project also investigates new models of curatorial work and aesthetic production that are related to education and pedagogy. Proyecto Coyote has as primary objective the development of discursive processes of active learning; as secondary objective, it will develop a blog, a catalogue, and a time-based exhibition in the spaces provided by Taller 7.
Particpants from Tijuana
Giacomo Castagnola—Architect and designer
Iván Díaz-Robledo—Video director and producer
Luis Juan Garzón Masabó—Artist, Professor of Drawing at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, founder of Reacciona Tijuana
Socorro Gonzalez—Chef and cultural producer
Ingrid Hernández—Artist and sociologist
Fiamma Montezemolo—Artist and cultural anthropologist
Omar Pimenta—Artist and writer
Gabriela Posada—Publicist, editor, founder of Reacciona Tijuana
Rafa Saavedra—Writer, and professor in communication sciences
Gabriela Torres Olivares—Writer
Adriana Trujillo—Director, producer
Felipe Zúñiga—Artist and education curator