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The Snail

TCI was in Mexico City from February 8–12, 2017, interviewing working artists based there. This post is a reflection on our visit.


“El Caracol” translates to “spiral-shaped” or, more literally, “snail” in Spanish. During our last evening in Mexico City, our photographer Ramiro told us about a large spiral-shaped land formation he sees whenever he’s flying above the city.

We later learned it was formed from sediment of the ancient lake that once existed where the city does today. Currently, the spiral supplies water to nearby areas for industrial use.


As we walked around the city, we couldn’t help but notice the many green circles or squares painted on the ground, labelled “puntos de reunión” or meeting points. Because Mexico City exists at the intersection of several tectonic plates, and because it was built on the unstable surface of dried lake bed, the area is especially susceptible to earthquakes.

These green circles are carefully planned locations where people should meet should an emergency like an earthquake occur. They are symbols that could, quite literally, save your life.


On Saturday afternoon, we sat in a circle formation on top of green. The green was not painted but grass, and the circle was made out of a handful of humans, ourselves and guests who came to Parque México for this “park talk”: Brandon interviewed music festival organizer Pablo Martinez of Festival NRMAL.


Walking through the city, Pablo was like the mayor, greeting someone every few blocks. He joked that he planted a friend along our winding path to impress us. We were impressed. His festival was a fabric that connected likeminded people. Maybe Pablo should start his own city.


There was a time when artists linked to other artists on their personal websites. Over the years, these links have fallen out of fashion. We remembered pages like this, typically called “Links,” while sitting in that circle in the park with Pablo and our small audience.

Today we have launched our own “Links” page, hyperlinking to likeminded online publications and institutions. We think there should be less searching and more deliberate linking, like Pablo does when he curates and produces his music festival. Be your own conduit.


A wise anarchist snail once told us, “When you realize you have power, disperse it.” Could a spiral save your life?

— Brandon & Laurel

During our time in Mexico City, we conducted eight conversations with artists working there. We are thankful for writer, poet, and musician Gabriela Jáuregui, who conducted two of the interviews, and for artist and photographer Ramiro Chaves, who took the photo portraits. The artists we interviewed include Tania Pérez Córdova, Oa4s, Gaby Cepeda, Pablo Martínez, Gerardo Contreras, Yoshua Okón, Tatiana Lipkes, and Francisco Cordero-Oceguera. Their interviews will air on our site over the following weeks. Also, we wanted to thank Georgina Rovirosa for assistance with the Spanish translations. Thanks, Gina.