ALBERTO ORTEGA-TREJO

Mexican artist and architectural designer based in Chicago, USA and Pachuca, Mexico.

His work uses architectural design, writing, video, public programs and performance to address histories of social struggles, racialization and class dynamics in the Americas. He has been a grantee of the New Artists Society of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Jumex Foundation for Contemporary Art and the John W. Kurtich Foundation. For his work on the history of Mexico City’s Modern Sewage System and its relationship with indigenous representation he was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant by the Anti-Racism and Global Architecture History program, an initiative of the Global Architecture History Teaching Collaborative of the Department of Architecture at MIT. His work has been shown in venues as the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, the Chicago Design Museum, Extase, SITE Galleries, SpaceP11 and the Centro de Arte y Filosofia. He acts as a creative advisor for the Farnsworth House (Historic Site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and coordinates the public programs of the Katz Center for Mexican Studies of the University of Chicago.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS:
Itinerarios Líquidos with Andrea Hunt, curated by Benedetta Casini for BienalSur
Fundación Andreani, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Sep 25, 2021

UPCOMING PUBLICATIONS:
The Tactical Gardens: On People for Community Recovery and Bottom Up Subjective Transformation.
For New City’s Chicago Architecture Biennial edition. Chicago, USA. October, 2021.



ARTIFICIAL-AGENCY 


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Keep scrolling for selected projects ↆ

Like a Flower We Will Dry Upon the Earth

In collaboration with Andrea Hunt

Chapter 1: The World Below

A Political History of Mexico City’s Modern Sewage System.

Work funded by the American Institute of Architects and MIT’s Global Architecture History Teaching Collaborative.

A version of this work will be shown at Itinerarios Líquidos a BienalSur exhibition curated by Benedetta Casini at Fundación Andreani, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The World Below is an experimental documentary that
revises the contingent political history of Mexico City’s
sewage system to further conversations on racism, modernity
and land sovereignity in the Mezquital Valley.


Videoinstallation, 30 mins.




Post National Pavilions

W/ Maite Borjabad and Agustin Schang
Exhibition Strategy
This proposal was formally submitted to and rejected by the selection committees of Mexico, Spain and Argentina for the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale: How will we live together?

This proposal articulates the possibility of three countries hosting the same exhibition and case studies at the same time during the Venice Biennale. It proposed to revise and commision new work to multidisciplinary teams addressing the colonial legacy of Spain in Latinamerica and vice-versa through a series of specific cases of monuments, maps and public spaces in both continents that speak of the constant tension between both perspectives of the colonial encounter.

The pavilions would share a common imaginary ground in the form of the Magallanes-El Cano route map drawn and divided on the floor of the three countries. While props and scenery would create the objectual components of a mobile theater of spatial operations.



 







From Outer Space to Public Space

On alienation and public space

Public Performance and Videoinstallation

From Outer Space to Public Space is an experimental panel for a discussion on racism, alienation, the future of the city and the legacies of Afrofuturism to re-think public space-time occupation. It took place inside Chicago’s CTA Red Line, an axis that makes evident racial segregation and infrastructural disparities.

Thanks to Ann Lui, Shiben Banerji, Ytasha Womack, Delinda Collier and Rohan Ayinde.


Filming crew: Julia Lopes and
Kexin Li



 








The Smallest Things and
D-Zero are two-minute portraits of the abstract and physical labor performed by physicists at the FermiLab Particle Accelerator in Batavia, Illinois.

These portraits were premiered at the screening of “Labour in a Single Shot” for the exhibition Re-Working Labor at Sullivan Galleries. Labour in a Single Shot is a travelling platform started by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki in 2011.







The Issue You Mentioned Earlier
On ecology and capitalism
Exhibition
On March 19th, 2015, Florida’s emergency management chief Bryan Koon testified before the State Senate Budget Subcommittee on the news that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would pull federal funding from states that refuse to directly address climate change.

In alignment with his position of climate change denial, Koon went through a series verbal gymnastics to avoid using the scientific term for our current catastrophic path in his statements.

The central piece of the show, “Wish You Weren’t Here” consists of a scaled steel cofferdam (a dam that prevents flooding of foundations in construction sites below sea levels) displays phrases exchanged in official emails by climate change deniers in the US Senate. Such phrases are projected over a melted piece of ice that floods the structure - residue of the Polar Vortex that hit Chicago one week before the opening of the show.

Thuribles for a poisonous mushroom colloquially known as Destroying Angel embody the abstract threat of climate change. The gallery’s circuit box frames a nilometer that measures the scales of an Ideal Flood, and a two channel video installation loops the works “Catastrophic Ice Formation” and “Order is human”.



In collaboration with Rosemary Hall.


This project was possible thanks to the support of: Jonathan Solomon and David L. Hays.