&idA new proposal has arisen within the chaos of border cities that are exposed to all kinds of exchanges, both economic and sociolinguistic: a promising dialogue for artists, activists, curators and the public in general. Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e Interrogantes (1) (Civic Project: Dialogues and Inquiries) juxtaposes a different dynamic that stems from the museum exhibition of the same name that opened in September 2008 to inaugurate the new exhibition hall of the Centro Cultural Tijuana, El Cubo (The Cube). The dialogue and its potential queries are the outcome of investigations conducted by various groups and individuals, including artists, activists, architects, writers, filmmakers and cultural promoters who worked on the concept of civis (2) and the state of exception (3) for three months, using the curatorial structure of the Proyecto Cívico exhibition. Each group or individual carried out research in keeping with the subject and/or focus of interest and to docement their results as they delved into their respective subjects. This led to the sharing of issues, possibilities, changes in approach and exchanges in various discussions, with the invaluable assistance and guidance of organizers, participants and interlocutors.|
One of the purposes, or perhaps the main aim of these dialogues and queries, was to shape the subject-matter on which to base the curatorial effort, so as to apply it to both academic and field research. The result was to make a three dimensional exhibition space by extending it to Tijuana and its surroundings, in order to question civility both in theoretical terms and in practice through pedagogical work and cultural dialogues and thus outreach the activities that make us part of a community. The Proyecto Cívico exhibition is an investigation of the state of political, civic and social states of emergency that chaotically govern daily life in Tijuana, but whose symptoms are readily observable in all nations today. Through research and dialogues, Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e Interrogantes is reworking the concept of citizenship and all the diversity it entails. This feedback sprang from questioning the notion of civility and states of political, social, economic, geographical and above all human exceptions/emergencies, all based on the concept of art as critical expression.
The dialogues and information regarding all the projects were enriched organically: the participants questioned and made suggestions, the organizers acted as guides and the interlocutors for each group gave shape to the projects and research. The experience of holding dialogues between artists and cultural promoters and encouraging citizens to come and listen to the proposals and their outcomes made many of those involved gradually renew this concept of citizenship to focus on what gives rise to civility, and therefore to individuality and diversity: otherness.
We named the project that we chose Aprimotapiado. We gave it that name after a slang term used in the south of Tijuana, in the municipality of Rosarito. We decided to include the Tijuana suburban area because that’s where we live. The aim of Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e Interrogantes dovetailed perfectly with our own research. We had often wondered what modus vivendi and traditions existed south of Rosarito in the ejido (communally-owned land) of Primo Tapia. “Aprimotapiado”(4) is the term used by the people of Rosarito to refer to the behavior of people who are shy or scared, or to sloppy behavior in general. This is because Primo Tapia, which is both geographically and socially alienated, has customs and traditions that are very different to the rest of Baja California. The name of this region was turned mockingly into an adjective that denoted shame. We decided to use it as the title for our investigation and re-examine its role in the history of the community. The idea was to conduct a object-book workshop to act as a memory jogger for its inhabitants: to encourage the community to tell their stories and talk about their memories of Primo Tapia so as to counterbalance what to some was a shameful way of referring to class and geography; using objects and images that reminded them of Primo Tapia was an original way for them to say what it meant to them to be from Primo Tapia as opposed to the imaginaries of others.