04 may FOAM | Take-over: Diego Moreno
FOAM | Take-over: Diego Moreno
Act 1: The house is like the mind. The house in which I grew up looked like a church; In every corner there was a saint to feel safe, in every corner there was a chiaroscuro. The house was full of ghosts, secrets and violence. Most of the time I think that imagination is the only reality that seemed safe to me.
Act 2: Nosotros. I grew up with my Aunt Cati, who had an autoimmune disease, which made her skin deformed. Because of her condition she was rejected by most of the family, visitors would not see her and there were no images of her in the family album.I always felt a great affection for my aunt, rejection was something that brought us closer together.
After the mass of Virgin of La Merced I would always be excited to see the Panzudos, which are dressed up people with monstrous masks and big dresses. When I was 12 years old I dressed up as a Panzudo, and I felt like a complete being. The monsters, considered ‘the others’ do not exist for me, they are a limb of me, I am one of them.
Act 3: Obsessions. It was September 29, 2007 when my Aunt Cati passed away, whilst I was taking care of her. Since that day I have had trouble understanding death. I felt a deep need to rebuild her image, and it ended up becoming an obsession. Because there was no sign of her anywhere, I would gather pictures, notes about her illness, clippings, drawings, books, everything that would remind me of her. One day at school, my best friend gave me Mary Shelley’s book #Frankenstein. That book marked my existence, the misunderstood beings.
Act 4: Epiphany. It was after a dream where my aunt said goodbye to me, a lot of memories came, one of them was about the ‘Panzudos’. I realized that I had a fascination for them as I they always reminded me of my aunt. As a great epiphany the search for rebuilding her image became present. I immediately began to unravel the anatomy of ‘Panzudo’ and its tradition.
Act 5: Dressing the mind before the body. Los Panzudos Mercedarios, are the stout guardians of the neighborhood of La Merced in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, #México. The #Panzudos represent the sins: the more sins a person has to expiate, the bigger and uglier his attire will be, so the better his sins can be cured. The Panzudos Mercedarios are the apocalyptic visions in Catholic religion, there to unravel the body as the container of sin, to think of the individual and collective unconscious, to think about dressing the mind rather than the body.
Act 6: Visions. I knew that, for this project, I had to look beyond tradition. That is why one of the main ideas was to place the characters in a domestic space. It became a re-build of a family album where the monster was part of the family, as a tribute to my deceased aunt. It has always seemed to me that all of the objects in a house reflect a vital part of the owners, as we construct it as a “safe” place, sometimes of a deep psychological density.
Act 7: The night. Do not be afraid of the monsters, just wait for them to arrive. Look everywhere, left, right, in the lobby, under the bed. But never look up, they hate to feel watched.
Act 8: What we see also see us. This process has allowed me to return to my own childhood and investigate the power of photography and fiction as evolutionary and cathartic tools. For me photography is a life experience. The Panzudos Mercedarios have come to represent the inhabitants of my own unconscious and a passage to another kingdom. Part of the nature of this project is to unravel everything pre-established to recreate and create new possibilities of being and being. The idea of a “monster” should not be terrifying, it should be beautiful; In fact, our world would surely be a little more magical if these figures lived among us. In memory of my Aunt Cati, that person who reminds me that sometimes there are monsters who never find their way home.