Artist: Cintia Segovia Figueroa
Exhibition: Mexico Already Changed
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Cintia is currently working toward her MFA in photography, but aside from being a student herself, she is also an educator, seeing as she is an instructor at California State University, Northridge. Much of her work’s inspiration stems from the fact that up until six years ago she recided in Mexico City, Mexico where she began her artistic journey, and worked at a television station where she developed many of her film-production skills. As a child she was first exposed to photography with a 35mm camera, and that was only the beginning! Currently she has her first museum exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA).
Among entering a dark room with two videos being screened on the wall, one of the first things that catches your attention is a small robot roaming around the gallery. “El Roboto,” freely moves around the room asking questions such as “Are you involved in drug trafficking?” “Are you an illegal alien?””Are you a member of the communist party?” among other questions. Attached to the robot is a red flag to let you know where the robot is, as well as a smaller Mexican flag, perhaps to place emphasis on a group of people that these questions may be directed to. When it comes to the two videos playing, one of them features a woman giving what appears to be an interview, although she changes attire throughout the video, indicating that she is mean to represent more than one person. The second video is more of an audio experience rather than a visual one, giving off a range of different sounds, prompting a feeling of anticipation that something was about to happen.
Cinita revealed that her inspiration behind “El Roboto,” and his strange questions was merely a reflection of the questions she had been asked by immigration. Questions such as “Have you ever helped kill a person?” or “Have you ever participated in acts of torture or genocide?” may seem like ridiculous things to ask a person, yet these are the types of questions immigrants are subject to by the American government. In her interview-like video we see what appears to be an affluent Mexican woman speaking about her many luxuries and her desire to live abroad, which according to the artist is supposed to be a reference to the current first lady of Mexico, who spends very little of her time in Mexico, and most of it in her Miami home. Another reference to the Mexican government can be found in her second video, which features music that causes the viewer to think that something is about to happen, yet the music simply fades away and nothing ever does. This is a comparison to the way in which the government builds expectations foe the people, but never really pulls anything through.
Being of Mexican descent, I feel that many of the issues referenced in “Mexico Already Changed,” have influenced me in one way or another. By immediately criminalizing immigrants based on their foreign status we are stereotyping an entire group of people as a problematic group. This goes on to affect how they are perceived in society, and can create irreversible damage to an entire population’s reputation. Even in Mexico itself, affluent Mexicans choose to distance themselves from their own culture rather than embrace who they are. With false promises from the government, and a poor image given off by media, Mexicans must fight for the change they wish to see in their own country.