No Recuerdo Haberte OlvidadoOct 20 2017
From March to May 2017, I took a series of photos in Mexico City. I was a foreign(writ)er and the photo editor of a magazine thought my perspective would be interesting. The only requirement was that I documented the locations of the images taken.
I sent one email to the editor before I fell ill in mid-May. A few weeks later I was hopitalized and left Mexico subsequently. The photos remained in my inbox, until the news woke me up one September morning.
Mexico’s Strongest Earthquake in a Century Left Dozens Dead
I scrutinized the map of the damages in the city, wondering if what I captured could still exist today. Many collapses were reported in the neighborhood of Condesa where I spent much time writing on a typewriter, baked pies for a friend’s family reunion and, over one particularly cloudy weekend, tried to overcome a bad fever that eventually led me to the emergency room.
The earth moved, all too suddenly, and the city was covered by dust of loss, cries of sadness and solidarity. Is the hospital suite intact, with its blue sofa and blue curtains? Once a nurse turned on the florescent light at mid-night, puncturing my left index finger for a new blood sample.
Had I published these photos in May, they might have been framed as daily observations of people and objects. But after the city and I endured our respective calamities, this simplicity seemed inappropriate.
Memory is constant reconstruction. Am I remembering (forgetting)? Whom do I remember (forget)? What is this fleeting moment I see? Will it recur like the smile on a little girl’s face whenever she runs, or vanish like the lake on which the city was built?
When I organize the photos this time, I have omitted the mention of geography and kept what has not dissappeared or altered: the curiosity and freshness that the city and its people gift a stranger.
The city cast its gaze on me and I, it. It’s a sort of narrative aftermath.
But so are memories.