by Ramiro Chaves

No. XXXXXXXXXX is a personal atlas of the ways in which the letter X has been used in contemporary Mexican architecture.

The discussion around the letter X goes back to the Spanish conquest. At the core of the debate was whether to spell the colony’s name “Mexico” or “Mejico.” To make a long story short, at a given point spelling Mexico’s name with an X was officially accepted.

The X became a symbol of the junction of the pre-Hispanic tradition and the new mestizo identity, a symbolic icon of the birth of the modern Mexican state. Shortly after the Mexican Revolution of 1917, the state’s architects and urbanists used the X as a resource to think, project, build, and reinforce structures.

The marvelous history of the X in Mexico is the foundational fiction of the country’s modernity.

This is the point of departure for my project, an excuse to engage in a playful reflection on the construction of my own identity and to speak about history, poetry, the image, space, love, the body, God, time, language, and nothing in particular.

An oxymoron: this is both an ambitious and small project.

Why architecture? Because it provides a conceptual framework and a representation of the play between structure, language, and my body.

Why Mexico? Though I was born in Argentina, I live in Mexico. To activate this duality and vision is to reactivate the idea of America as an archetype of utopia.

I do not seek to establish an encyclopedic truth. I want to develop a cosmography that documents my relationship to history in a poetic way.

This work may be a chaos of movements in multiple directions but, at the same time, operates as the epicenter of an experiential system. It’s like getting something off my chest. A negotiation between who I am on my own and what we are as a social and historical body.

This is also the form that confusion and desire have taken.

Ramiro Chaves

Concrete poetry
National identity
Spanish language
BOMB 127
Spring 2014
The cover of BOMB 127