As I've mentioned here, I've become fairly active on Instagram during the past year or so, posting both artwork and photos, often accompanied by a text. Some of these have been cross-posted here, but by no means all. I've gotten to know a new community of people who are working with words and images on that social media platform, and it's become an important part of my creative life.
Recently I was invited by my friend Teju Cole to contribute work to the second issue of Documentum, a publication started by the photographer Stephen Shore, publisher/photographer William Boling, and designer Dawn Kim to explore the world of Instagram, and to curate, present, and preserve some of its innovative and interesting work in a printed form. Teju was asked to be one of the guest curators for Documentum 2: Words+Pictures, which was launched a few weeks ago in Amsterdam.
Anyway, after a long delay in Canadian customs, my copy finally arrived today, while I was practicing the flute, with the sun streaming in from the terrace and the whir of bike commuters going to work. I leafed through the pages, very happy to see the work of friends and also of people I'd like to discover and know: it felt like a moment of connection, closeness, and affirmation, even though we're all living very far apart.
One of the stories the editors picked (in the picture, in the left column) also appeared on my blog here. The other two, both from Mexico City, are below. If anyone is interested in a paper copy of Documentum 2, they're tabloid size, printed on high-quality newsprint, seriously inspiring, and available here.
A friend once wrote: "Africa is normal." And Mexico is normal too, it simply contains within it, and within each day, contradictions and overt expressions of the glaring inequalities of the world which many people would find intensely uncomfortable. Some have said they are frightened for us. I am frightened for them.
I just took my last walk around the neighborhood. The light, as usual for the late afternoon, was ravishing, the colors intense. I had intended to take photographs but instead I just walked, saying a silent goodbye, fixing it in my mind: the crowd of locals standing in line outside the Veracruz restaurant waiting for their pescados y mariscos; the young woman carrying a bag of pork rinds; the old woman sitting on her stoop in a blue apron tied at the sides; the fragrance of the juice stand; the indigenous woman who fries cactus leaves and the one who sits all day by her bucket of calla lilies; the candy and balloon shop; the ice cream store; the corner fruitseller with its piles of strawberries and guavas; the hairdresser and barber; the place where we bought yogurt; the place we bought tequila; the place we bought the orange roses and the man came running after us to give me a single yellow one, just because.