Parres I

Melanie Smith

10 May 2004

35 mm film transferred to single-channel video for screening, colour, sound. 4’ 20”

This is the first in a trilogy filmed in Parres, a small town on the outskirts of Mexico City. As a result of the encroaching city overflowing its own limits, Parres is now located on the boundary between city and countryside. This final frontier of the Latin-American megalopolis is to be found on the very border of modernity, framed by a landscape of stark, marginal urban sprawl, populated by shanty buildings lacking in basic services. Composed of a delocalised architectural typology, a visible symptom of globalised capitalism, Parres could be any shantytown around the world. The overall group of works making up this trilogy explores the tension produced when trying to represent the border, a tension that fluctuates between hiding and revealing. When building this visual narrative, Smith starts out from a specific historical-social reality and gradually dilutes it in pictorial abstraction, underscoring the artifice built by the narrative and the image.