Querétaro, Mexico, November 2,2017
Water is One
Nueve Arte Urbano presents: Pangea Seed’s Sea Walls – Water is One
The Intercultural Festival for Water, Life and Unity
March 30 to April 8,2018, Querétaro, Mexico
There was a time when all continents were united in the Pangea and all oceans were one. Since then, thanks to the perfectly balanced relationship between the Sun and the Earth, water is everywhere; disappearing as clothes dry, evaporating from your own perspiration, condensing in cold windows, feeding clouds, rain, rivers and seas. Today and always, from the high deserts to the deepest abyss, all waters are one.
- The PangeaSeed and Sea Walls FoundationOceans, life and unity are key symbols behind PangeaSeed’s conceptual engineering and its dream of a better world. While seed-seed invokes an image of evolution,”Pangea” is the name of the super-continent that existed surrounded by a single ocean, on Earth 250 million years ago.The PangeaSeed Foundation is an international nonprofit organization that works at the intersection of culture and environmentalism to promote ocean conservation. Its mission is to empower individuals and communities to create significant environmental change through “ARTivism”, education and science. PangeaSeed synthesizes creative expression, nature and society; to reconnect with the most important ecosystem of our planet and cradle of life: the oceans. This synthesis is fully expressed with the concept that they propose as “ARTivism”; a marriage between art and activism.
Driven by “ARTivism”, the organization is the creator of a conceptual system that is inserted in the movement of contemporary muralism. “Painting with Purpose” and “Sea Walls”are two of its key elements. “Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans” is PangeaSeed’s public art program that brings the ocean conservation message to the streets of the world. By collaborating with a community of more than 300 contemporary artists from over 30 countries, they have created nearly 300 murals in 12 countries since 2014.
While oceans and water are fundamental to all forms of life, human impact is damaging the balance of the “water cycle”, which we understand all waters to be one. Consumerism, pollution and water management are key challenges for the future of Earth and humanity. Through public art, Sea Walls translates hard facts into visual stories that engage the public from culture to raise awareness about the value and vulnerability of water and oceans.
- Nueve Arte UrbanoBehind Nueve is a dream: the power of conscious organizations to change Mexico. Born from a small company that evolved as an organization that seeks total responsibility, Nueve is the Mexican platform for the production of murals, the development of Mexican talent and the transformation of society through culture.
Nueve proposes: nature produces humans, who perceive and interpret nature, seeking its optimal survival. Thus, human groups agree on systems of symbols and meanings, which they use to interpret nature and its survival. We call these systems “cultures”; and they represent the “software” of societies, our reference for making decisions, the medium from which all social behaviors are born, and the filter that individuals use to interpret reality.
For Nueve cultures are not fixed, but evolve whenever the social agreement changes. Art and Science are the tools to explore new social agreements and change cultures. Because of this, Nueve researches, produces and communicates symbols, representing them with painting on walls in the public space of society, in order to change reality by gently touching the social fabric, through culture and in a sustainable way. This is for us “Total Responsibility”: The focus of our creative power on the overlap between social, cultural, environmental and business objectives, at the crossroads we call:”Todoesuno”.
Today we are working on a movement dedicated to creating murals in the streets and community spaces, to promote a dialogue that catalyzes culture towards conscious and shared happiness.
We define “culture” as the systems of symbols and meanings that connect individuals in a society. That is why we promote “cultural freedom”; the understanding of “culture” as a social agreement, allowing individuals to develop intercultural wisdom, and hence the possibility of exploring new symbols and meanings.
We design each creative act to achieve four simultaneous results: environmental, social, cultural and business:
*We strengthen our ecosystems by promoting awareness of unity and respect for nature, as well as understanding environmental challenges and the value of responsible consumption.
*We explore the frontiers of culture; beyond the contemporary and into the past to learn from indigenous cultures. We use modern materials and tools to build cultural symbols: from collective creativity to the wall and the digital world to reach global audiences.
*We strengthen the social fabric by researching, involving emerging talent, including apprentices in the creative process and integrating work teams in neighborhoods.
*We support ourselves, self-employed, through entrepreneurship and respect for the law.
We see millions of young people around the world expressing themselves on the walls, influencing the streets and in societies. They write their names to identify themselves with their public space and we call them “Graffiti writers. As they grow and explore, some seek beyond writing their personal name and embark on “trans-personal creation. They learn about the challenges of the world and begin to paint metaphors and transcend borders. They discover the power of his painting on street reality and culture. They become a contemporary version of the “Tlacuilo”, producing street enchantments that work on neighborhood culture.
This is Graffiti-trans-personal, and we call it Transgraphic Muralism.
Water is One
All water bodies are connected in time; hydrologists call this “the water cycle. To protect the oceans, we must take care of rivers, streams, groundwater systems, household consumption and drainage, even our own cup of coffee. Because water is one.
In 2003, the United Nations, through the World Water Assessment Programme, published the World Water Development Report:
“At the beginning of the 21st century, the Earth, with its diverse and abundant forms of life, which include more than six billion human beings, faces a serious water crisis. All signs suggest that it is getting worse and will continue to do so unless corrective action is taken. This crisis is about water governance, essentially caused by the ways in which we mismanage water. But the real tragedy is the effect it has on the daily lives of poor people, who are affected by water-related diseases, living in degraded and dangerous environments, struggling to get an education for their children, earning a living and getting enough to eat. The crisis is also experienced by the natural environment, which moans beneath a mountain of waste dumped into it every day, and by its excessive and incorrect use, with little awareness of the consequences for future generations. In truth, it is attitudinal and behavioral problems that are at the heart of the crisis.
The inherent connection between water and people becomes even more relevant when we perceive water as an integrating agent of the cosmos, nature and society. Almost in the totality of the ethnic groups in Mexico (and in the world), we can appreciate a much more ritual approach to water, with attributes of “goddess”; such as fertility, the purification of souls and the remembrance of the dead, ablution and absolution, the liberation of burdens, purification and cleansing (Ilich, 1993). The perception that drives us to conceive water as an essential part of our life in this world also found its counterpart when water, both oceanic and freshwater, began to be recognized as a “resource”, especially in an economic dimension, as an instrument for something else, rather than being part of the “whole”, resulting in a commodity with a value and price in the market (Ávila, 2006). These contrasts between the sacred and utilitarian aspects of water provide a complex picture of water management and challenge us to ask ourselves relevant questions in shaping our future.
Querétaro; dry Mexico, a place to disseminate agreements.
Mexico has more than 9,000 kilometers of coastline, the tenth longest in the world and probably one of the most diverse, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California.
Querétaro, in central Mexico, the gateway to the semi-arid northern plateau, a trade crossroads, the country’s brief capital; it is the perfect setting to understand the water challenges, because its history is closely linked to events that will enhance this message:
The history of Querétaro is the history of its water.
Everything begins with a spring, under the names of “El Pinito”,”Socavones” and “Alberca el Capulín”, waters that marked the settlement of the Ñañú families (Otomí) led by Conín in 1521. The same waters were used to feed the aqueduct, an emblematic monument of the city, built in 1738 to bring water to the center. Also the establishment of the first factory, in 1838 in Hercules, and the progressive creation of a neighborhood in “la otra banda del río”, on the north side of the Querétaro River, on Cerro San Gregorio, where the Spanish residents of downtown would force the resettlement of indigenous and other “unwanted” neighbors.
There is a Ñañú (Otomí) legend:”There is a spirit in the spring, we call it the’ Chan’; the Chan is going to take the water from the spring when humans fight for it”. There is also a Spanish legend:’ El Marqués del Villar del Águila’ (The Marquis of Villar del Águila) was in love with a nun and built the aqueduct to take the water from the indigenous spring to the Spanish convent, to give pure water to his beloved. Behind these two legends there is a contemporary reality of drought interspersed with floods, affecting low-income neighborhoods and darker towns, while gentrification continues as in colonial times, sometimes aggravated by water shortages and sudden release of surpluses from private and public dams. The water problem in Mexico has to do with mismanagement and it is necessary to raise awareness of this situation. Currently the spring of the sinkhole is dry.
History shows the role of Querétaro in Mexico as a place from which agreements are expanded.
- From 300 BC to 1200 AD, the Querétaro Valley was inhabited by the cultures of Chupícuaro, Teotihuacan and reaching its pinnacle with the Toltecs. Right on the border between the sedentary cultures of Mesoamerica and the nomadic tribes we now call Chichimecas; the Pueblito Pyramid marks a place of negotiation and ritual that would spread throughout the surrounding territory.
Just at the entrance of the semi-desert and on the way to “Tierra Adentro”, it has been the gateway to the north for the trade of turquoise with the Navajo before the arrival of the Spaniards, silver and gold during the colony and manufactured goods today, goods that reach all of Mexico.
In 1750, when he arrived in Querétaro, Junípero Serra, today a Catholic Saint, designed a system to create settlements -Missions- to bring nomadic tribes closer to that church and the colony. After establishing a mission system in Sierra Gorda, Querétaro state, he embarked on the foundation of San Francisco, California.
In 1810, a group gathered in Querétaro to dream of a better country, today we call them “the Conspirators”. They would be housed by a progressive woman, married to the Corregidor de Querétaro, who today we call “the Corregidora”. These conspiracies expanded to start the Mexican independence war.
In 1864, years after Mexico was established as a republic and during the second French intervention, a Habsburg prince was placed in power with the help of Napoleon III. The second Mexican Empire ended in 1867 when Benito Juarez ordered the execution of Maximilian I of Mexico. The Republic scattered throughout the territory once again.
In 1917, after the Mexican Revolution and the resulting social chaos, Mexicans from all states gathered in Querétaro to discuss, agree, design and disseminate the new constitution.
Mexico stands out for the diversity of its native cultures and for centuries of study on “cultural mixing processes”. As has been seen in the historical events mentioned above, cultural hybridization is essential to Mexico’s life and challenges. In this way, water challenges can also be understood as the clash of cultures, and Querétaro is a perfect melting pot thanks to its power of dissemination.
Therefore, we will undertake a campaign for creativity; opting for an encounter between contemporary and native, aimed at the procreation of something greater. Assimilating the combined origins of the peoples of Mexico, driven? by cultural freedom and intercultural synergy. We recognize our lack of awareness of our own identity and this awareness of our unconsciousness is fruitful. Thanks to this and time, we can unite what seems antagonistic and share the joy of contemplating the sublimated soul of the mestizo world that we are today.
The CECEQ and the Foucault pendulum
The Centro Cultural y Educativo del Estado de Querétaro “Manuel Gómez Morín”, is a generator of great mobility with an educational and cultural agenda of a public nature. It receives about two million visitors per year, covering an important range of ages and interests. Specializing in culture, science, education, technology and art, the Centre is nationally recognized as one of the most important centres for the dissemination of knowledge, thanks to its partnerships with research centres, private companies, universities, civil associations and NGOs.
One of the most important treasures of the CECEQ is the Foucault pendulum, housed in the Dome, built specifically to demonstrate the rotational movement of the Earth. The 28-metre long cable, made of braided steel, holds a piston weighing 280 kilos and 64 centimetres in diameter, and has not stopped moving since its installation in 2005. This physical wonder, is among the three largest pendulums of Mexico, and was the result of many alliances in the field of scientific research, to prove, to everyone who attends the center, that the earth turns on its axis, and that thanks to it, dawns every day in the east.
The relevance of the building, although obvious, becomes a priority when we look at Querétaro as a centre that emits knowledge, reflection, art and change; in the case of the El Agua Es Una festival, we take the pendulum as a representation of how water needs to be repositioned as the axis around which life needs to revolve.
Production and Results (PangeaSeed & SeaWalls)
The festival will be held in a single building: the dome and base that houses the Foucault Pendulum, in the Educational and Cultural Center of the State of Querétaro – Manuel Gómez Morín, in Querétaro, Mexico, dedicated to culture, education, art, science and technology.
At the dome, we propose to use high quality acrylic paint, hoping that our murals will last more than 10 years. We will apply a waterproof base before the artistic layers. In collaboration with the architect in charge of the building, we will work with a combination of cranes, scaffolding and ladders.
We propose a compositional guide based on the sequence of Fibonacci that emanates from the pinnacle of the dome towards the facades of the base. The entire composition is divided into 8 segments according to geographical orientation and a superior pinnacle that emits rays, distributing 17 spots in the building that will be intervened by international, national and local artists.
The base of the dome presents a facetted pattern that gives artists the opportunity to create altarpieces, common in Mexican art.
All the murals will address pressing issues related to the preservation of water resources, from the cultural identity of Mexico and Querétaro, with emphasis on the theme “Water is One”, which proposes the idea that all the waters of the Earth are connected by the water cycle. Our goal is to increase the community’s awareness of its personal impact on both freshwater bodies and the world’s oceans, and hence the awareness of “good living”.
Executive Director, PangeaSeed Foundation
Executive Director, Incusa & Nueve Arte Urbano