Melba Arellano

2013 - 2018

In the 1930s, a system of government began to take shape in Mexico that continues to this day. It is characterized by a sharp presidentialism, a patronage culture marked by administrative inefficiency, and social control that is not exempt from demagogic concessions to working classes. This system has been perpetuated by government corruption.

Preamble for the Palacio Municipal series, Petatlán has a history of assassinations of social activists and former presidents linked to drug trafficking. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) has governed this municipality except for two periods at the beginning of 2000. Petatlán belongs to Guerrero state, a territory full of conflicts, inequalities, and lags where power and corruption seem to dissolve due to domesticity and complicity of social relationships. Influence and corruption are naturalized in the government exercise.

With this project, I seek to record the ethnographic traces of this system in its first line: The Municipal Palace, a replica of this government instance in the country. Symbolically, these traces represent the assimilation of a historical power that reproduces itself, like gear, through its own normalization.

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  • Presidential Inauguration Ceremony I

  • The Mural

  • Don Federico, who works as Presidential Advisor in the current administration and who for fifty uninterrupted years has been a member of all municipal governments, holding the positions of Trustee Attorney, Secretary and Treasurer; as well as Director of Government, Security and Public Works, Health, Potable Water, and he has even held of Interim Municipal President and President of his political party.

  • The First Lady and her favorite Companion Ladies

  • One of the forty-seven municipal police officers, in charge of the security of forty-four thousand four hundred and thirty-eight inhabitants.

  • The Basement

  • The Senior Secretary's Office

  • The first lady, recently elected as a candidate for Municipal President of town that currently governs her husband.

  • The Municipal Inspector

  • The Civil Protection and Natural Disasters office

  • One of the forty-eight leaders of the neighborhood, who works promoting the vote of the party ruling and who receives a fixed monthly salary from the municipal government.

  • The Hostess

  • The Public Health Director

  • In this council room, the photographs of all the Municipal Presidents in the location history are arranged chronologically, except for three, belonging to opposition party Presidents and which were removed by the current administration.

  • The Social Assistance Director

  • The Aldermen's Assistants

  • The President secretaries, personnel with indefinite labor tasks that occupies 5.5% of the total of Municipal Palace payroll.

  • The Mother's Day Party

  • The Support Award Ceremony I

  • Presidential Inauguration Ceremony I

  • The Support Award Ceremony II