ALBERTO ORTEGA-TREJO

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

His work uses architectural design, writing and video to address representations of power and marginality in the Mexican State and 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 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work has been shown in venues as Fundación Andreani for BienalSur, Ca’ Foscari Zattere for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, Harun Farocki Institut, Chicago Design Museum, Extase, SITE Galleries, SpaceP11 and Centro de Arte y Filosofia.

He is currently an IDEAS Fellow at the Society of Architectural Historians under the mentorship of Spyros Papapetros (Associate Professor of Theory and History of Architecture, Princeton University School of Architecture), a Creative in Residence at the Edith Farnsworth House and manages the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at The University of Chicago.


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Department of Bi-National Affairs

On Nationalism
At Infernal Court - Extase Chicago


Department of Bi-National Affairs happens as an unexpected response to Ortega’s participation in the open call for Border Wall Designs requested by the Department of Homeland Security. Ortega was a member of MADE Collective, the team that proposed to create a new country called Otra Nation, shared by Mexico and the USA. The video presents a rant recorded by a videoblogger from Texas that believed that the proposal was actually due to happen and would subsequently dismantle the border. While reading the proposal in its entirety and choking back anger, the woman asks for Donald Trump’s help in “stopping this madness.” In an attempt to engage in a conversation with a delusional far right reality, Ortega sent a letter to this person pretending to be the new director of Bi-National Affairs for this new nation. There was no response to the letter and the video was removed from the platform afterwards.
-From Press Release for Infernal Court.

For Infernal Court, at Extase Chicago, Ortega repurposed and edited the content of her response into a series of slogans shown on a TV. The font used for the slogans is Joanna Nova, a typeface designed by Eric Gill, known sexual predator and pedophile. Joanna Nova is used for the official branding of the Department of Homeland Security of the USA.






This project is a parallel outcome from the Otra Nation proposal that MADE Collective (from which I was part of) formally submited to the Open Call for designing the US-Mex Border wall asked by the Trump Aministration. Our team proposed the creation of a new country between Mexico and the US, a sort of Utopian Chicano country called Otra Nation that would join both countries as a borderless buffer zone connected by a bi-national Hyperloop.