Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nostalgia and Public Art

An old classmate of mine from when I lived in Mexico posted a old picture of La Torres de Satelite on FB     The picture was probably taken in the late 50s or early 60s.


The towers were a public art project by Mexican architect Luis Barragán, painter Jesús Reyes Ferreira and sculpturer Mathias Goeritz.  I grew up in Ciudad Satelite and lived not too far from the towers.  As such, they were part of my quotidian landscape and a landmark of home.  They also were an iconic marker of the suburban periphery of the ever growing Mexico City.  As one can see in the picture, they were built at a time when the area was just being developed.  Over then next 30 years, the city expanded to consume the suburb, incorporating it into the sprawling metropolis.

Inspired by this picture, I searched for a more contemporary picture of the towers and came across another old one.


This one shows the promotional billboards for the new housing being built in the area.

And here is the more recent one, yet it is already dated as the area has grown more and there is now a second level to the motorway.


Along with the towers, some of the advertisements perched atop the surrounding buildings became essential parts of the landscape.  In particular the Corona sign on the left of the picture, which lights up brightly at night.

These pictures sparked a certain nostalgia in me as I began to remember both the landscape of my childhood and the public art that tickled my imagination when I was young.  In particular, the local mall, Plaza Satelite, which was one of the first mall in Mexico City (and probably the country).  The logo for the mall was based on the aerial view of the road that swerves to go around the towers.


The logo was recreated on an immense scale inside the mall in the central area under a glass dome.  It rose up from the ground level up past the second level almost reaching the top of the dome.



I am not sure if it was intended as a form of public art.  It certainly was interactive.  I remember running around and through the gaps between each of the steel structures, almost like a maze, and occasionally looking up to see the gleaming structure.


During the holidays, a large tree was brought in (although I am not sure how they got it into the mall) and decorated.  It was accompanied by a life-sized nativity scene.


As I was journeying through these memories, my thoughts came back to other public art that was part of my youth and that I have been thinking of recently.  I will write about those soon.

1 comment:

oso said...

Those pictures are incredible. I have yet to visit Plaza Satellite, but it's on the list. I recently read José Joaquín's essay about the mall in Ruben Gallo's The Mexico City Reader. Highly recommended!