A text project part of Not Content at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions

By Marco Antonio Huerta
Published on LatinoLA: September 6, 2010


On February 2010 I shut doors and windows. It was the first time in my life I was forced to stay indoors on account of violence in the streets. In those days I couldn't stop thinking about dictatorships, so common throughout Latin American societies during the 20th Century. Curfews. Fear. I'm not writing under the ruling of one of those. I'm writing about Mexico in the 21st Century.

In northeast Mexico, violence due to drug trafficking has increased at an exponential rate. Just like in a dictatorship, one cannot seek help from the local police, because it's full of corrupt officers. One is not able to request an explanation from the mayor, the local congressman, or from the governor, because from their point of view: "Nothing's actually happening".

That phrase held greater relevance when confronted with the recent executions that have been taking place in my homeland: Tamaulipas. April 4, 2010: 7 found dead at a nightclub and thousands fled a concert in Tampico amid reports of a shooting. On April 16, four police officers were found dead with messages attached to them in Altamira. On May 12, the bodies of a Valle Hermoso mayor candidate, his son, and his nephew were found inside a warehouse. On July 11, the horrific discovery of the carcasses of 18 men and 2 women on several spots of Ciudad Madero. On July 28, the leading Tamaulipas governor's candidate was murdered with several of his collaborators only six days before the election. On August 25, the bodies of 72 undocumented immigrants were found in a ranch near San Fernando (just a few miles south of the U.S. border) by Mexican marines after a gun battle with drug traffickers.

"Nothing happens" is what they say. They keep saying it. One is rendered powerless by the sight of this terrible landscape.

Facing this awful reality, urgent action is needed. Urgent dialogue is required when facing stony denial. I came up with a way to do so. A textual project to share. SPAM is a piece of writing extracted from the Internet. An anonymous plea for help from one inhabitant of one of these troubled cities. I made this plea mine. Therefore I share it with you, Latino brothers and sisters, in order to spread the word and bear witness to the ongoing tragedy.

SPAM is the title of the piece. For what is spam these days, when people are getting used to shootings on the streets? What is spam, when no one cares about bodies lying on the sidewalks? When no one cares about them being somebody's father, mother, son, daughter, brother, and sister? What could spam be when no one listens?

SPAM | Exhibition dates | 27 August ÔÇô 19 September 2010
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)
6522 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

17 September 2010, 1:30 p.m. | Artist/writer talk with Marco Antonio Huerta
19 September 2010, 4-6 p.m. | Performance (poetry) with Marco Antonio Huerta and other Not Content writers-in-residence Sawako Nakayasu and Christine Wertheim.

About Marco Antonio Huerta:
Marco Antonio Huerta is the author of three poetry collections: La Semana Milagrosa (2006), Golden Boy (2009), and Hay Un Jard?¡n (2009). Born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico in 1978.
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