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.



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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.