I was born in Bahía Blanca and lived there until I was 5 years old, then I moved to Córdoba, where I currently live. I studied Fine Arts and Psychology. My emotional archives are located in this city as identity anchor points as long as this remains being a historical and biographical mistery.
Leonor and her hope (2008)
Anthropology of the mule (2007)
The term "Mule" refers to those people, true human mails, that deliver important amount of cocain inside their stomach by swallowing capsules, or on their bodies or in their luggage. The mule is the weakest link in the drug trafficking chain, since he or she can easily die of intoxication if one of these capsules explode. If they are lucky enough so as to survive such an experience, they will have to overcome drug dealers, who, in the need to get their merchandise back, open up their mules and once they get what they wanted, discard the lifeless bodies of their victims out in the open; or they can be discovered by police authorities and be subjected to sentences for drug trafficking.
We could think that, historically, all forms of exploitation, production and marketing that characterize extraction and transitional economies, ever since the colonial age to this day, have been typical of the Latin American region. The dynamics of colonial activities have always been strongly connected to foreign trade, the use of natural resources and the organization, on a large scale, of plundering. The market history in Latin America and its short-cycle economies was surely connected to the external demand of certain products. Winter cattling and mule breeding in Córdoba, to be used in the mines of Potosí, were one of the few activities developed between the XVI and early XVIII Century, that reached an acceptable level of prosperity. "Mules were the indispensable and irreplaceable element for the development of trade, transportation and social life during the XVII Century", Florencio Cornejo.
The signifier "mule", an ancestral working animal, a source of unbeatable strenght since ancient times because of its biological virtues (frugality, peacebleness, inteligence), has also been a synonym for crassness, inability and ignorance.
Mules seem to watch over, conscious or not, the two ends of the chain: production and consumption, the population devoted to this new industry and, above all, those aspects related to the way the profits of such business are used. Cocaine is currently the first massive exportation product developed in the outskirts of urban centers that appear to be the Meccas of prosperity. One of the main differences with this new cocaine market is not the dependence pattern but the criminal nature that has always surrounded its consumption.
Nowadays, Argentine women's prison house a 60% of women who had been, either prosecuted or convicted of drug trafficking.
In this project, I try to think the "mule" as a "dialectic image" defined by Benjamin as a "furgurant conjunction between the past and the present from which a constellation emerges". It is not a process, but an image; "there is a gap, a caesura in the passing of time". To put the past in synchronic concordance by means of a certain interpretation of the present and its -then- political dimension would imply the replacement of the idea of objective and lineal time for the subjective experience of a qualitative one. Human mule routes of the XVI-XVIII Centuries starting in Córdoba and destined to the exploitation and exportation of precious metals superimposed to those of the XX and XXI Centuries, again focused up North; thus, posts and spots are replaced by airports.
The “Hopes”, pieces that are part of this Project, are the result of a fieldwork, as indicated by the title of the Anthropological Mule Project I've been working on at the Bouwer Prison for Women, located in the city of Córdoba.
Starting with interviews to women that are convicted of drug trufficking, I produce curtains that are the result of an "iconic materialization" of those personal projects that were to be financed with the money from such illegal activity.
Women, put in front of their "projects pending resolution" and with their back to the viewers, so as to protect their identities. These very same curtains are the photographic backgrounds of "Animal mule" and "Human mule" (superior mammal) that endlessly deconstruct the opposition between nature and culture.