Call Me Beaner,
Beans are sacred for most Mexicans, it doesn’t matter where you come from, you gotta praise the beans. During the last part of 2018, many of us got surprised when an unfortunate comment by an Honduran migrant turned into a scandal, she said that “beans were meant for porks” and that was the reason she was having such a bad moment at a refugee camp in Tijuana.
The term Beaner is a degrading way to call a Mexican, wether you like the beans or not, nobody defends the word even if you love them. So I propose to read that word in a good sense only for today, so we are able to see what’s next with a refreshing interpretation. So here it goes again, Beaner.
At the beginning of last year, one call from a client turned into an all-in-one portable exhibition that we like to call Frijolitos at Estudio 3.14. The curatorial project about the sound, technology and popular music in Mexico travels within 3 inflatable beans of different varieties, May flower, June flower, and Cow bean; each bean measures 550 sq ft. Everything has a special reason to be like that, included the analogy between Mexican folk music and food.
Three beans conquer public space better than one, but also the eye, the stomach and thereby the heart, they let you explore a non-linear story with freedom, and invite you to participate and learn through art pieces. The content, divided in three bold experiences that can be visited separetly:How does music sounds?, How does music spreads? and How does music looks?. With the purpose of being adaptable to contemporary work-rest-feed-translation routines of potential visitors.
It was a such a delight to discover and take advantage of the natural plastic characteristics of the beans; the colors, the spots and the form, becoming some of the factors that make the project so appealing to the public, this alien like oversized invaders that turn the urban landscape into a surreal pop fantasy.
The clients, a Civil Association called Aprendiendo con Cultura, led us to Papalotla, Estado de México, a small town with 3,800 inhabitants, where the beans grew for the first time, attracting more than 4K visitors. The beans rapidly became a local hit with a traveling audio message announcing at the streets saying “come and visit the gigantic beans”. And suddenly everybody became a tourist inside their own streets, by visiting and learning about their own cultural heritage in a playful manner.
It Is the capacity of surprising people a secret pleasure for the teams involved in cultural projects, the smile of a visitor that worths all the hard work invested. Because when you get to connect to someone there is no turning back, successful museological experiences are unforgettable. So please, today call me beaner.