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Vicente Razo

Vicente Razo is an artist living in Mexico City who has shown in New York and London. He's know for his DJ and video work.


Art, design, technology and culture are rapidly converging, mixing and generating new hybrids. How have you been a part of this scene and what are your new projects?


I consider that art, design, technology and obviously culture historically have been permanently converging and interacting, well but that's a boring answer, certainly what is significant now is the power and omnipresence of technology in the daily life of every individual; being this presence in a spectrum that goes through mini cell-phones, liposuction or plasma screens (first world) throughout landmines, "smart" bombs and genetically altered seeds (third world).

In this sense art as a possible space for the discussion and speculation of how to make public, meaningful and humanitarian the realms of technology, design, and culture (among others) is somehow being left behind*, in part because I considered that we are not working hard enough and with the ethical and intellectual discipline for the current situation of the world, and also because deliberately the humanitarian disciplines have been left behind and segregated from the fields of relevance in technology, economy, echo logy etc.

My new projects are to create a Spielberiang sound Frankenstein, to try to promote the book I just made (The Official Museo Salinas Guide), and to make a recompilation record of bizarre and obscure Mexican modern music. For me right now it is hard to talk about being part of a scene because I'm just coming back to Mexico City after living in New York for a couple of years so I feel kind of disoriented.

*Especially in the part of discussion, not as much in the part of speculation: I mean that would be too much.


Your work seems to include a sort of all out anti-aesthetic (in your video work and music projects) as well as a consciousness of cultural history and the role of art in bringing context to a society inundated with loads of effect from technology. On the one hand it is a sort of playful aesthetical ground and at the same time a place of crisis. How do you negotiate these two responses and which do you think is more important? Or are they the same thing?


I don't think they are the same, and possibly there is an element of contradiction in the work but I would more lavishly call it paradoxical, but as well I see that a possible answer is buried in the question, I think that more than an anti-aesthetic agenda, there is a consciousness with my work that is being placed in an aesthetical ground at crisis (contemporary-global-western art-culture possibly) but happening in a playful way... yeah part of my work grows out of a disappointment with the indulgent post-modern promises of media deconstruction and pop culture erudition as fanciful ways to achieve an art career but at the same time my work and my "self"- is still trained in this setting, so these also have been my own real tools and pertinent spaces for work at least until now. I guess context would be a key element in this reflection, I try to work considering the context of my work (thought not in a religious way) which gives sense to the playful approach because being subscribed into the realm of contemporary art it has a consciousness of the practicing sarcasm of this realm and of its fragile civility; and as well trying to place it in an historical and social context where the key word is just crisis, big crisises (in plural) around so I would consider that with this awareness it's just natural to be a little bitter.


Do you think that media deconstruction is a post-modern indulgence or possibly a humanitarian discipline related to ecology, specifically a practice of media ecology? I think that the placement that occurs, when you give new contexts to numerous existing media apparatus, is exactly that: an ecological act against the background of historical and social context.


Well yes maybe I'm being too harsh and too "hype" to say that media deconstruction is just a post-modern indulgence, and certainly in terms of ecology probably it could be seen as a survival mechanism, -and I haven't thought about this before but I find it now very interesting-, the possibility of becoming a savvy media reader as a primal instinct to respond to the environment and adapt to it, this certainly opens for me a lot of possibilities and is problematic. Though one thing that would worry me in this argument is the possibility of through this justifying media consumption as being macrobiotic intelligence or worst "organic knowledge" or something similar. In that sense I can think -very conceited- that some of my videos that appear as abstract or organic patterns but that somehow hide a coded or "cultivated" element can be seen maybe as wished mutations for a new ecology (or economy) in media.


Yeah, I mean something along the lines of "wished mutations for a new ecology (or economy) in media." The way I see media ecology, it's less about consumption and more about creating new words in a evolving language. Your work seems to do that, to add to the language.

In some of your statements about media effect, you mention the mind-numbing effects of TV and film, but in the same breath admit that you "have a positive opinion about drugs." On the one hand it's killing or suffocating us but one the other we are addicted and happy to be.

This, to me, is a major fork in the road for media artists. I think on the one hand you have the techno-spiritualists who buy into a mediated existance as inevitable and buttress their own participation with rhetoric and ideology that justifies their complicity. On the other hand you have artists who do not deny the inevitability of a mediated world but are not complying with it's rules...Hakim Bey's "reenchantment of counter-imagery."

How do you sort, illustrate, embody, express, conflate this attitude of complicity and counter activity?


I think that, regrding the mind-numbing effects, I tried refer more to TV than to film... but yeah the problem is very much still there. And I guess that in this kind of crossroad where we are, or that we are perceiving and talking about there is a common problem that is to confuse technology with media, a trap that I would dare to say is very much provoked by the ideology and economy of media/spectacle (am I confusing terms here as well?) as the final? state of capital.

How do we handle this? I think I'm scared of a mediated world but I now live in one a big part of my time and I try to express or articulate sometimes this fear through some of my work, and to move carefully in it.

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