South Writ Large

Botellas al Mar (“Bottles to the Sea”) is part of a project that encloses the main idea of the relation between the space and the people who live in it, where one creates and transforms the other and vice versa. This piece is specifically inspired in the Malecon Habanero (Havana’s Malecon), which celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary in 2001 and is the protagonist of stories of all kinds―a metaphor of the Cuban’s geographic limits and the human’s eagerness for extending his spiritual territories.

The work is an installation that consists of one hundred drawings made on cloth paper, and each drawing has a corresponding bottle. All the drawings are placed on the wall in a consecutive order allusive to the image of the Malecon’s wall. The drawings contain texts and images as illuminated manuscripts, which pretend to be a personal encyclopedia about the human existence.

This piece was exhibited first, in an integrative way, in the year 2000 in the Fortaleza San Carlos de la Cabaña during the 7th Biennial of Havana in Cuba. Sequentially, it was shown in the Huntington Gallery of the Massachusetts College of Arts in Boston in February 2002; La Casa del Lago, Mexico D.F., on November 2003; and UB Galleries at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, in October 2009.

This piece is conceived to throw the bottles, with their respective drawings inside, in different places around the world. At this moment eighteen bottles have been cast into the sea. Cuba (1), United States (6), Portugal (1), Italy (1), Brazil (2), Mexico (1), France (2), Spain (3), Switzerland (1 Rhine river) have been the starting points of some of the messages.

Every time this piece is exhibited, the documentation of the already thrown drawings (messages) with video projection, maps signalling the location of the throwing, photographs, and written documents referring to the process will be shown. In addition to the drawing in each bottle, there is a note briefly explaining the project and the creator’s contact data so that people who find the bottles can collaborate with the process’s documentation.

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