Mestizo City, a site-specific installation in Miami's Design District for Art Basel/Design Miami, was created to represent the vibrant and varied Latino culture and its growing national influence.
The installation incorporated and playfully reinterpreted some of the most recognizable visual and social elements associated with Latino neighborhoods: inflatable structures, a taco truck, Jarritos bottles, bright colors, and informal concepts of space and street art.
An 8-foot tall photo wall wrapped the interior perimeter of Mestizo City and created a makeshift urban gallery, displaying images characteristic of the cultural vernacular of Mestizaje, or the blending of Latino culture with the mainstream. This dynamic is shaping American communities in the 21st Century.
The centerpiece of Mestizo City was a 12x12x12 foot cube composed of the colorful and iconic Mexican soda, Jarritos, which explored the idea of an informal architecture by using a non-traditional building material to create a formal structure. Equally important to the installation was the process by which the Jarritos cube was deconstructed. Visitors were invited to take as many bottles of the Mexican soda as they liked; and slowly, like a melting block of ice, the cube disappeared.
Mestizo City celebrated the idea that walls cannot be built to separate culture and creativity and physical borders will not fracture the growing influence of Latinos in the United States. This installation transformed an empty lot in an unexpected urban location into a temporary, vibrant social space, which promoted the ideas of Latino Urbanism and Mestizaje.