Experimental Grounds/Unexpected Sources excavates the expanded media landscape that significantly shaped urban cinema culture in 1990s Mexico. The fiction, documentary, and experimental shorts and features in the series were the product of a vast, cross-medial horizon that was catalyzed by a vibrant video scene and a rising cinema culture. Energized by the sense of the present as a unique moment, and by a dynamic and vital youth culture, the films draw from a rich audiovisual repertoire that includes music videos, talk shows, avant-garde video and performance practices, advertising, as well as established genres and styles.
All of the films explore the meaning of the urban by focusing on a distinct neighborhood of Mexico City (Perfume de violetas, Cómodas mensualidades) or by highlighting the city’s cosmopolitan, trans-urban connections (Fronterilandia, ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?). Three veritable “indies,” rarely screened outside Mexico – Tequila, Todos están muriendo aquí, and the riotously nonsensical Coapa Heights – unravel the experimental art and music scenes that thrived in 1990s Mexico City by documenting the venues, practices and artists that constituted these milieus. Marked by the youthful energy of directors and actors, a distinctive sense of irreverence and contestation, as well as a defiant, DIY attitude in the face of precariousness, these works constitute unique registers of the thrills and challenges of making moving images in Mexico City during a turbulent decade. Each feature will be preceded by a short film.
Fronterilandia (Frontierland) / dir. Jesse Lerner & Rubén Ortiz-Torres / 1995 / 77 min.
Preceded by: Amanecer en Disneylandia / dir. Santiago Huerta & Tonatiuh González / 1991 / 35 min.
Todos están muriendo aquí (Everyone is Dying Here) / dir. Ali Gardoki / 2000 / 80min.
Preceded by: Víctimas del pecado neoliberal / dir. Ximena Cuevas & Jesusa Rodríguez / 1995 / 15 min.
Cómodas mensualidades (Easy Installments) / dir. Julián Pastor /1992 / 90 min.
Tequila / dir. Rubén Gámez / 1992 / 85 min.
Preceded by: Uno x 5, 3 por diez /dir. Jorge Prior / 1992 / 11 min.
¿Quién diablos es Yuliet? / dir. Carlos Marcovich / 1997 / 91 min.
Perfume de violetas dir. Maryse Sistach / 2001 / 90 min.
Experimental Grounds/Unexpected Sources is curated by Walter Forsberg, Paulina Suárez and Eduardo Thomas and presented in partnership with International House Philadelphia (IHP). The series is organized in conjunction with Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico City, 1990-2000, on view in The Galleries September 19 – December 12, 2015.