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No. XXXXXXXXXX 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