The Whole Enchilada (2011)
The Whole Enchilada
During the months of October and November, 2001 I participated in the Canada-Mexico Creative Artists Programme in Mexico City, a residency sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Canada and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA), Mexico. My host for this project was Centro de la Imagen, where I ultimately exhibited a 20 minute video projection, which I produced during my stay.
Considering that my installations are very text oriented, book works have become a logical extension of my art practice. They serve to both compliment the installations and be an entity in themselves, to be read and understood independent of the other elements of the project. “The Whole Enchilada—My madcap Mexican adventure” is a memoir based on my experiences in Mexico City, chronicling how I slowly adjusted to life in the biggest municipality in the world. It describes a historically specific time, less than a month after 9/11, and the anti-American sentiment prevalent in Mexico City during that period. The obstacles I faced when entering this foreign country and experiencing new and diverse cultural practices served to personalize the issue I went there to explore, an outsider's perspective of the city. The book documents my difficulties with the language, the urban density, the pollution, the poverty, the wealth, law enforcement corruption and navigating local artistic social networks. It describes, in often humorous accountings, the strategies I developed to cope with these situations. The book stands as a record of how I managed to research and develop a complex on-site project in what is basically a mañana culture. I do not mean this in a condescending way—Mexico has neither a lazy population, nor one predisposed to procrastination; it simply has a different cultural attitude, far removed from my own time-is-money mind-set. “Enchilada” was made possible by a grant from Le conseil des arts et des letters du Québec. The narrative is in English, but interspersed with Spanish words and their phonetic pronunciations. 102 colour photographs illustrate the text.
Limited boxed edition 1:53