Looking backwards: Remembering Mextropoli 2018

From left to right: Aura Luz Melis, Petra Blaisse, Him, Alex Hernández, Pedro Hernández (not related), Miquel Adriá, Iñaqui Carnicero. (Click to enlarge)

As you may know, from September 5 until today, September 7 2020, Mextropoli, Festival de Arquitectura y Ciudad is celebrating its 7th edition, ‘(Un)sustainable City’ in Mexico City. As usual, this year the festival was meant to take place on March 20-23. However, the very particular situation we were living worldwide in those particular dates led to the decision to postpone it half a year.

A couple years ago, the festival followed its usual policy -well, at least date-wise, because its 5th Edition, ‘The Limits of Design’ took place on March 17-20. The organizers did break their rules, though, when they were selecting the guest speakers and, within an impressive group of first-class figures, they decided to call me as well. For some reason. (Perhaps they thought I was a great choice to show the limits of Design). I’m not kidding: the list of lecturers included RCR’s Rafael Aranda -fresh off his 2017 Pritzker Prize-, Martha Thorne -a member of the jury that awarded him the Pritzker-, Valerio Olgiatti, Guillermo Hevia, Go Hasegawa, Barozzi Veiga, Llatzer  Moix, Felipe Uribe, Inside Outside, Juan Herreros, Stefano Boeri, Johnston MarkLee, Iñaki Carnicero, and Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, among many others.

Introducing: that illustrious nobody…’

I’m no strange to speaking in public, and, reluctant as I am to talking about my work, I’ve gotten better at it as time goes by. Also, I thought I was used to audiences of any size, but speaking in front of 2,000 attendees at the Teatro Metropolitan in Mexico City was a different kind of experience, of which, as a seclusive introvert, I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered. If you were there at the time, I hope you will forgive me for delivering the whole lecture sitting at my table. Hope you had some laughs at least. On the brighter side, at several meters tall, I think my cartoons have never looked better (as in bigger) – neither have I looked tinier, which is kind of fitting, anyway. All the lectures are available online and easy to find, so go check them. (Skip the one with the architectural cartoonist, please).

Tiny Klaus speaking.

As usual, too, the lectures were just one amongst many other activities that happened during the festival, and I’m not just referring to all those great dinners and visits for the presenters. Together with the 3 days of lectures, Mextropoli organized a pavilion design competition (see here), several parallel conferences, events at architecture schools, book presentations, round tables, et al. In my case, the incredibly nice guys from Arquine set out to organize an exhibition on my work, ‘Arquinoir by Klaus’, at the CCEMex (Centro Cultural de España en México). The exhibition, which was open to the public from March 17 to June 24, 2018, ran parallel to Iñaqui Carnicero’s ‘Unfinished’, which had been awarded the Golden Lion two years earlier, in the Venice Biennale of 2016. (More on that in a later post).

Arquinoir by Klaus at the CCEMex

Again, this was not the only Klaus-related event that took place during my visit (those were some busy 5 days). Among other things -such as the niceties mentioned above- the people from Arquine, together with some other partners, kept me busy, organizing a workshop in the School of Architecture of LaSalle University, or an incredibly enjoyable drawing jam session together with Héctor López (@_thearchitector). More on this in that later post. Anyway, let this post be a big ‘thank you’ to all people involved.

Students from Gerardo Fernández’s course ‘Croquis y Maquetas’ at La Salle. I swear I had no idea they were doing these ‘Team Klaus’ T-Shirts.

P.S. Since this unfortunate situation we’re going through has also prolonged its life both globally and in Mexico, the physical activities of Mextropoli 7: (Un)sustainable city had been delayed till March 2021. However, the conferences will still be taking place online in a live marathon on September 7, 2020 (that is: today!). So make sure to register (free) here, and join the discussion. This year’s guest speakers will include, of course, many well-known names. Among them, and in no particular order: Beatriz Colomina, David Chipperfield, Dominique Perrault, Saskia Sassen (@SaskiaSassen), Frida Escobedo (@fridaescobedo), Iñaki Ábalos, Mimi Zeiger (@loudpaper), Iker Gil (@MASContext), Ethel Barahona (@ethel_baraona) & César Reyes (@cerreyes), Solano Benítez, Andrés Jaque (@OFFPOLINN), Tatiana Bilbao (@Tabilbao), Philippe Rahm, Hernán Díaz Alonso, Rozana Montiel (@rozanamontiel), Zaida Muxí (@zaidamuxim), Iñaki Alday (@inakialday), and many others. Subscribe and enjoy!

Published by klaustoon

Klaus is a frustrated cartoonist that lives in an old castle in Europe. In his other life he is also a frustrated architect and scholar who...

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