"The​ ​Persistence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Margin"

Melba Arellano

2012 - Ongoing

Mexico City, Mexico

During the six year administration of president Miguel Aleman Velasco (1946-1952), Mexico underwent a profound urban transformation which would continue to unfold uninterruptedly during the following decades. In the 1980’s, the introduction of liberal economic policies led to the implementation of large-scale affordable housing development projects that altered the lifestyles, as well as the material and symbolic relationships of their inhabitants.

Gentrification is the kind side of neoliberalism’s spatial restructuration and has expanded through large portions of Mexico City imposing standardized profitability formulas. However, there are spaces and lifestyles that resist the homogeneity of this program and that place a bet (while unproductive to the eyes of a real estate investor) that prevents this system from being fully implemented. Often, those who resist, fight without a hidden political agenda, the revolutionary spirit of their antagonism operates on affection levels and ways of life alien to the market’s demand for profitability. This rebellion, quiet and silent, is a celebration of the slow passing of time, contemplation, and the value of existence.

"The Persistence of the Margin" is a journey that makes evident the specificity of places and people that because of their affections and inheritance are unable to be incorporated into an ideology that rejects and excludes them. Acknowledging their existence becomes a reminder that an economic model is not infallible and makes it possible to conceive another way of being in this world.

Presented as residues, this photography series is accompanied by a set of objects that 1 have gathered. The objects not only attest to the passing of time, but they also emphasize their own singularity and difference.

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  • The Marquis Cabaret. One of the latest cabarets still open in the city, in the second oldest area in Mexico City: Colonia Guerrero

  • Mele Plata is a photographer who works in the studio Foto Regalos since the 60's and only use analogue cameras from that time. Foto Regalos is the oldest photographic studio in the north part of Mexico City.

  • Tuxedo rental business of several generations of the García family

  • Coffee shop opened in the 50´s and located in Camellia street, a famous street in the second oldest area in Mexico city, Colonia Guerrero.

  • The first model shop and workshop in the city.

  • Detail of the Agrarian Affairs Office of the government of Mexico city.

  • One of the latest dancing clubs in the city.

  • Fashion Boutique for Men opened in the 30´s.

  • One of the oldest shoe shops in the city.

  • A travel agency opened in the 80's.

  • The first space museum opened in the 60's in the north part of the city.

  • One of the first textiles shops that opened in the city, located in the Isabella Católica street, the first street dedicated to tailoring in Mexico City.

  • A beauty salon opened in the 60's in the most gentrified area in the city.

  • Alvaro Martinez Velasco, the actual owner and grandson of the first owner of the boutique in the 30´s.

  • Foto Regalos is the oldest photographic studio in the north part of Mexico City.

  • Objects still in use in some of the places that are part of this photographic series.