* Bloggers hard at work at Postopolis DF, via Tomo.
Postopolis DF finished on Saturday at about 10:00 p.m., after five days and 60 presentations, a bunch of parties and meals, and more information, ideas, and intersections at play than I believe most of us participating could handle. It was overwhelming, in the best possible sense. But that also meant that many of us barely had time to blog while absorbing the talks at El Eco (nice new site, by the way), and I apologize for not being as attentive as I should have been in this area.
I also missed a few talks that I really wish I could have seen live, but life and work call constantly in D.F. So now I'd like to offer a quick digest of highlights from the week, in parts. Check out Report No. 1 for the first bit of Post-processing. My Report No. 3 will appear on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Once more, what an amazing week.
Discussing the hip-hop subcultures of Mexico City with Wayne Marshall, Tomás Brum Alvarez of Rayarte, a D.F. graffiti magazine, broke down the lack of public space and media outlets in the city for hip-hop nacional. While doing so, he made a pointed dig at the old guard at El Chopo, whom he argued are resistant to incorporating hip-hop into the scene there. He referred to himself jokingly as a "choposuario," and then said, no, he's an "artesángano."
Couldn't help laughing out loud. "Choposuario" is a compound slangism that describes the graying old rockers who still guard El Chopo like it's some kind of countercultural holy grail (which it is), but also connotes a kind of nostalgic delusion for the old days of the tianguis -- which is now almost 30 years old. But artesángano was totally new to me. Sángano is another slangism that describes a lazy figure who leeches, or hooks others into doing his will. So what's an artesángano? An artesano, artisan seller, who hustles without shame? Whatever its intended meaning, I'll definitely be using it when inspiration strikes.
(Hip-hop is of course present at El Chopo, but mostly on the periphery. Across the street from the Saturday market, on Mosqueta, Plaza Peyote is there to meet all your Mexican hip-hop needs. It's where kids pick up CDs, fliers, T-shirts, magazines, sneakers, spray can caps, and so on.)
On Thursday I talked about human rights in Mexico City with Eréndira Cruzvillegas, former Special Speaker for Freedom of Expression at the D.F. human rights commission. I don't have a specific quote to share from Eréndira's brisk talk but, man, I certainly think it wowed and impressed those of us who were present for it. She spoke fiercely and passionately about the lack of opportunity for young people in the marginalized urban expanses of Mexico City, the kind that most visitors never see. Her perspective provided an alternate window from which to view the metropolis.
Shouts went out to the kids in the GAM, whom Eréndira said were critical to the drafting of an accurate -- and politically explosive -- report on the News Divine tragedy. Ms. Cruzvillegas is now the secretary of the permanent commission at the D.F. legislative assembly, but she remains an active advocate for human rights wherever she might be needed. Right after our talk, she had to leave early to go see someone behind bars who needs her help.
(Trivia: Eréndira is sibling to the Kurimanzutto artist Abraham Cruzvillegas.)
I enjoyed the talk by Jorge Legorreta, former borough chief in Cuauhtémoc and an expert on the D.F. water supply, in conversation with Jace Clayton. What a numbingly grim assessment for the future of water in a city founded on a lake. Water reserves are dwindling, infrastructure is notoriously bad, quality is low and generally uneven, and on and on. Most ominously, he predicted a "great flood" in Mexico City in the next few years, recalling the history of the catastrophic flood of 1629, which killed tens of thousands and didn't clear out until four years later, in 1633.
The evening highlight from Day 3 for me was the presentation by Greg Berger, the Gringoyo, who was introduced by Ethel Barona Pohl and Cesar Reyes. As I said in the Q&A, when I first saw Berger's site, I wasn't immediately sure that it was satire. That's how good it is, and that also says something about a) my naïvete, and b) the pop power of gringo stereotypes in Mexico.
Go in there and check out his mini-doc on the swine flu scare from last spring. It is incredibly effective political activism, fusing humor, wit, and agitation. Brilliant stuff. (My work on the swine flu feargasm of 2009, here and here.)