b. Mexico City, Mexico, 1974
Based in Mexico City
This performance took place on March 3 & 4 at various sites in Desert Hot Springs and at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.
Chimera is a performative action evoking the globeros, vendors of colorful balloons ubiquitous in Mexico. On March 3 and 4 in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs, four men walked along streets carrying sculptural bundles of metallic word balloons, which could be purchased by passersby. Engulfed in clouds of shiny helium balloons, the vendors appear as mirages in places where the urban fabric meets the expansive desert.
The balloons take the form of 30 words chosen to conjure the idea of Chimera: an unrealizable dream or illusion fabricated by the mind. These concepts reflect on the phenomena of migration and the American dream, pursuits inescapably associated with promises that do not materialize for all. Chimera pays tribute to the informal economies on which Mexican society largely rests, whose models are replicated by migrant communities in the north. In this context, people adapt and find solutions that allow them to survive. Challenging us to consider those we might neglect or dismiss in our environment, this performance gives recognition to individuals who constitute a pillar of the American economy, immigrants, a population that the media and political groups consistently strive to keep invisible.
These balloons were sold as artworks and are meant to be preserved as such. Buyers were handed instructions that indicated the ways in which these works were to be conserved so that they don’t pose a threat to the environment.
Héctor Zamora’s work transcends, reinvents, and redefines the conventional exhibition space, generating friction between the common roles of public and private, exterior and interior, organic and geometric, savage and methodical, real and imaginary. With technical expertise and knowledge of lightweight architecture and an emphasis on the process of conceptualization and construction of each piece, Zamora implicates visitors’ participation and requires them to question the everyday uses of materials and the functions of space. Often collaborating with construction laborers, his work provides opportunities for people to use materials differently and to break the rules to open new possibilities of expression and individuality.
Chimera words: Denied, Shed, Run, Keep, Seek, Refugee, Rescue, Circus, Home, Rise, Ice, Wonder, Dew, Brume, Source, Sun, Soon, Wind, Drug, Dune, Fool, Breeze, Wish, Drop, Mirror, Dried, Wrong, God, Die, Gun.
Generous support provided by Kai Loebach & Lee Miller and Diane Allen.
Special thanks to collaborators Javier Crisanto, Adrian Morales, Alberto Negrete, Abraham Pérez, and Eleuterio Ramos.