Tangled Up In BLUE 
A PLAYLIST 
like a ROAD TRIP IN slow-motion

(ready to shuffle play it in order to embrace the unexpected in the everyday)
































That which is looked upon by one generation as the apex of human knowledge is often considered an absurdity in the next,
and what is regarded as a superstition in one century, may form the basis of science for the following one.


Paracelsus (1493-1541)





OFF-WHITE


a text by Enrique Giner de los Ríos for the Fields at Amós Salvador exhibition catalogue.



* SPANISH VERSION HERE * LEE AQUÍ LA VERSIÓN ORIGINAL DE ESTE TEXTO *


Color is the mother tongue of the unconscious mind.
Carl Gustav Jung
The sea is dark like wine, just like sheep and oxen, the sky is bronze colored , clouds are purple, and green are nightingales and honey (always according to The Iliad and The Odyssey). Homer, besides being witty, lived in a Greece with a limited palette of colors, at least as far as vocabulary is concerned. Empédocles, presocratic philosopher and great theorist of color, had established an order in which tonalities were divided into four large groups: white, black, red and yellow (and what derived therefrom). There was no blue in Ancient Greece.

William Gladstone, in the nineteenth century, was the first to notice the strange analogies Homer used to describe the color of things. Gladstone, in addition to being prime minister of Great Britain in four occasions, published an important book tittled Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age, where a careful study about the use of the color in the works of the Greek poet is made. In it, he concludes that the Greeks saw only in black and white, with small touches of red. They had not physically developed the ability to see colors. This cruel theory had some resonance in the Victorian period due to of the importance of the author and the affluence in his explanation. Fortunately, over time it was found that Homer was not color blind or his people suffered any kind of visual atrophy. They were able to see the same colors as us even if they named or related them to different things. The names of a color often described texture, temperature or light. Far from being conceived as a mere surface, color evoked sensations and was related to certain spirituality.





Other civilizations of the time also witnessed green dawns, horses with violet mane like rainbows or apples, silver lakes and other chromatic aberrations that I envy deeply. The scarcity of names was common among them, as was the logic with which they arose. This was declared by the German philosopher Lazarus Geiger, inspired by the work of Gladstone. The same tones are repeated in almost all cultures practically in the same order of appearance: first the black and white (light and dark), then the red (blood and easy to produce dyes), and finally yellow and green (the colors of vegetation). Thinking of blue was a luxury. The blue of the sky was thus conceived only by the Egyptians, who had a great mastery of color and chemistry, which led them to create a blue pigment considered the first synthetic dye in history.



If a color doesn’t have a name it doesn’t exist. The classification of a color and the perception we have of it are not necessarily linked, but having names helps us define a spectrum. It also restricts us and subjects us to an imposed order, to a convention. Sensitive observation, poetry, altered states of consciousness, and Homer's comparisons may perhaps save us from this burden. Freeing us every so often from norms that uniform our perception, that mutilate the imagination of children who color blue clouds on bond white skies, timidly inverting the order to save paint and time.


The world is governed by great abstractions, we understand space in three dimensions thanks to Euclid. Once we learn to see space as a composition of two-dimensional planes generated by an infinite succession of lines created by points without any dimension, there is no turning back. It will be very difficult to interact with space intuitively ever again. Euclidean geometry helps us understand something that does not exist, while denying other perceptual realities. Sometimes conventions work as social norms, they help us interact as individuals in society, but they prevent us from wearing white shoes in the autumn, running with scissors, disguising ourselves as an animal to go to the cinema on Monday, or eating a mango with our hands.

The chromatic spectrum has grown along with its names. In the 20th century we learned the unmistakable shimmering tones of Kodachrome, the famous film for slides created by Kodak in the 1930s; In the 60's Pantone was invented, the main color identification system that year after year tries to impose a new trend tonality with an absurd name. A few years ago we met the Vantablack, the blackest black, capable of absorbing up to 99.9% of the light, making any object painted with this pigment look like a dark hole in space; and we had never seen as many pink hues as in this decade, or so many old and new names fighting to be the ultimate tone (champagne pink, rose pink, salmon pink, COS pink…). Blue has long been the favorite color among the majorities and the amount of tonalities is overwhelming. Indigo is artificially produced in vast quantities, and is one of the most harmful water contaminants.


Ana Montiel's relationship with color oscillates between absolute erudition and primitivism, between the complex and the simple. The relationship is as childish as well-educated, with precepts of a man of science, of a witch, of make believe, or none of the above. Ana knows perfectly the principles of the subtractive and additive synthesis of color, recites from memory fashionable tones in the world and her changing selection of personal favorites, she dresses in different shades of black, creates her own pigments using ancestral techniques, grinding chalk or using new materials, a slightly different yellow than what you expected can ruin her day, she knows the ideal combination to print a deep black in CMYK, and most likely she calibrates the screen of her computer. I would never discuss with her whether a photograph was taken with Kodachrome, Fujichrome or Ektachrome, and much less about the vagueness of a car's color. Biotechnology is one of her latest obsessions, she’s waiting for a chlorophyll droplet that allows temporary night vision and what’s necessary to become a tetrachromatic human, with four different types of cone cell in the retina making it able to distinguish, among other things, up to 10 tones in the rainbow.

Her perception of the chromatic spectrum is not restricted by names and conventions. Ana does not perceive color as a solid surface, she associates without any prejudices all the different tones and gradients to sensations or moments, to emotions, or to objects without a name. Layers of hues run through her canvases like white noise, emerging from the depths to disappear again, generating different narratives for each viewer. One can spend hours standing in front of one of her Fields, waiting for the cloud of color that created all that frenzy a few minutes ago to happen again, in the same way you wait at a large aquarium for the mother walrus and her babies to swim again in front of you and greet you.


Ana's intuition about the use of color is influenced by the writings of Josef Albers, by psychology, by science and its advances, by Derek Jarman's essays, by esoteric readings, by what she hears on the street, by her obsession with synesthesia, altered states of consciousness, the aurora and the harsh midday light in her house in Tepoztlan. The sea and the sheep are dark like wine if she so wishes. And the sunsets are off-white.



























Springtime in New York


I’ve been in NYC for almost two months now .
Peana Projects kindly invited me to be part of an artist residency here, where I’m meeting many inspiring people, working, and learning a lot. My residency is hosted by the brilliant team at Residency Unlimited, and it’s been made possible thanks to the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. Feeling grateful for this experience. Below are a few snapshots from my time here 〰️











A TRIBUTE TO THE 
NON-MATERIAL


(translation from the essay I wrote for the Fields at Amós Salvador exhibition catalog)


* SPANISH VERSION HERE * LEE AQUÍ LA VERSIÓN ORIGINAL DE ESTE TEXTO *


Nikola Tesla said that whenever science begins to study non-physical phenomena it will progress in a decade more than in all previous centuries.

I often have the recurring feeling that we humans miss out on many things by perceiving and measuring everything in such a materialistic way (quantifying and testing as was done in ancient past). Some branches of modern science have been trying to dismantle the monopoly of such materialistic practices for decades, with ideas that state that the reality we perceive is a mere collective hallucination and that what we understand as matter is not really solid but just energy in motion. Solidity is an illusion, but since our senses are so "hyper-realistic", the perception we have of our environment through them is manifested in a way that makes us feel it as undoubtedly solid.

Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1965) believed that it is much more interesting to live admitting that we do not know, than to live believing we have answers that could be incorrect. He admitted having approximate answers, possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about a variety of issues, but he was not completely sure of anything. He was not afraid of not knowing things, of feeling lost in a mysterious universe of which he did not know its purpose; you could say he was comfortable in uncertainty. Even though I may not be as comfortable with the perplexity of the universe as Feynmann was, often, the search for the unknown causes me to find myself wrapped in a feeling of ecstasy and a sense of adventure so stimulating that they make me recognize them as the engines that keep me moving. To dream with colors that I’ve never met, to learn about all the possible disciplines or to try and translate ideas or perceptions that flirt with the ineffable to an artistic work; everything is an excuse to learn and find meaning. I feel that the road is the most important thing, the process. The works work as witnesses of this research expedition.






THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE SENSES



Why does something have more credibility if we see or touch it than when we feel it? And what about the number of times we thought we saw something that in the end was not there, or heard something that was impossible? Why is it that we give so much credibility to our five senses, when neuroscience tells us again and again that what we perceive are pure conjectures and impressions of the most subjective? Whenever we are perceiving, in reality what we are doing is creating (we influence the result in an active way with our cognitive process). Would it help to alleviate this dissonance if we expanded the categorization of our senses by adding an additional pair based on feeling and intuition? I think it would be similar to when our language evolves and expands to express ourselves in a richer and more precise way.


What is it that makes us believe in some things and not in others? Would you deny the existence of love due to its imprecise nature and how difficult it is to carry out a measurement of it? Isn’t it a little hypocrite from our part that emotions are considered subjective but the senses with which we perceive are not? Does it makes us restless to realize nothing is physical, and everything is just an energy network? Sometimes, when I reflect on these issues, I get a knot in my stomach and feel a bit of vertigo, the abyss of infinite possibilities that I begin to ponder is overwhelming and exciting in equal parts.


There is a multiverse theory that states that this reality that we experience is a mere virtual simulation. Simulation? Is the squirrel that I see climbing up the guava in the garden a mirage? Science says that the squirrel, the guava, and myself are simulations. None of us are material and we are only expressions of energy in motion, comparable to the one we can live with a next-generation video game in which one uses one of those virtual reality caps. This theory is just as farfetched as any we can have about the reality we experience. Reflecting calmly, everything is just as speculative as mysterious when one is inquiring into the nature of this experience that we live. All illusions, from the magical chiaroscuro of a full moon night in the desert, to the avocado-taco that I am about to eat, I am co-creating everything I perceive.
Fields is a tribute to the intangible, a personal respite in the dictatorship of this illusory material world. A reflection about what possibly exists even if I am not aware. I feel it's like reaching out for something or someone you probably never get to know. Fields is an exercise in faith disguised as a chromatic adventure.





STABILITY AND SOLIDITY, TWO SIDES OF THE SAME MIRAGE



For me, the idea of security is almost as elusive as the idea of solidity. What seems immovable one day, the next will be just a memory. Life communicated this to me loud and clear during my teenage years with the illness and passing of my late mother. What seemed the most stable pillar in my life, threatened with becoming history. After the shock, the denial, the crisis and the all the crying, the pseudo-zen reaction that I managed to take, to get on with life, was a carpe diem attitude with which I embraced every day as if it were the last. Squeezing possibilities and experiences as much as possible.


Today, despite missing this wonderful being every day, the feeling of gratitude I have for her and the situation is much greater than the sadness. So much to thank my mother today and always, so much to thank life! The learning and growth that such an experience grants is priceless.


Attachment brings sadness. If we had been educated with a different approach, one based on detachment and the acknowledgement of impermanence, I feel that we could be handling better the ups and downs of life. Enjoying things while they are there, without clinging, with a spirit of profound awe and gratitude regarding the mystery of existence.


The feeling of stability is highly seductive, I consider it similar to that of solidity. Both sell you an idea of security that we all crave and they are like two faces of the same mirage, intangible and powerful.



UNCERTAINTY AS A KEY TO EVERYTHING



Denying something deprives us to understand it, but doubting it opens us to questioning it, reflecting it and maybe even deciphering it. Our daily life is still ruled by the materialistic practices of Isaac Newton’s era. Attentive to the mechanical and quantitative, focused on the subject (what we see and can measure). Any glimmer of certainty of Newton's proposal was brought down with the advent of quantum physics in modern science. Why do we not incorporate the vagueness of the latter into our daily life? I think being comfortable in uncertainty is about the most powerful gifts we can make ourselves as a species. Not classifying and quantifying ideas or situations constantly, but living with them with respect and curiosity, wanting to understand but accepting that there will always be much more that one will not understand.


Carl Sagan said that we give meaning to our world with the courage of the questions we ask and with the depth of our answers. I feel that questioning our structures and not taking things for granted is imperative for our existence. To be able to slander certainty and embrace a nebula of questions with an inquisitive mind and an almost puerile enthusiasm. To engage in a conversation with doubt to see it become an ocean of possibilities, while our spirits dance lightly as they are counseled by the pattern of non-solidity.


Uncertainty as a possibility, and us being able to transcend the canons of what we currently consider reality, embracing the unknown and becoming one with it.


Ana Montiel







FIELDS  at  AMÓS SALVADOR  (SPAIN)


February 22nd - May 20th 2018


On early January 2018, out of the blue, I received an invitation to have an solo show at Amós Salvador (Logroño, Spain). The same artspace in which I saw my first Warhol exhibit when I was in art school, the one closer to my heart. The building is a reconverted 14th century convent, with soaring ceilings and plenty of light. Perfect for Fields. The production of the exhibit was a tour de force. I worked so many hours and slept so little that I often joked the show had to be called “Blood Sweat and Tears” instead of “Fields”. Thankfully everything turned out well in the end. I left Spain feeling so grateful with the experience, even now, months after the opening I feel emotional just to think about my time there. So thankful with everyone involved for all the love, support and general good vibes.

Warmth and color,
Ana.











Photographs by Rafael Lafuente






Would you deny the existence of love due to its imprecise nature and how difficult it is to carry out a measurement of it?








an extract from

WAKING, DREAMING, BEING: SELF AND CONSCIOUSNESS IN NEUROSCIENCE, MEDITATION AND PHILOSOPHY



A book by Evan Thompson.







What exactly is consciousness? The oldest answer to this question comes from India, almost three thousand years ago.

Long before Socrates interrogated his fellow Athenians and Plato wrote his Dialogues, a great debate is said to have taken place in the land of Videha in what is now northeastern India. Staged before the throne of the learned and mighty King Janaka, the debate pitted the great sage Yājñavalkya against the other renowned Brahmins of the kingdom. The king set the prize at a thousand cows with ten gold pieces attached to each one’s horns, and he declared that whoever was the most learned would win the animals. Apparently Yājñavalkya’s sagacity did not entail modesty, for while all the other priests kept silent, not daring to step forward, Yājñavalkya called out to his student to take possession of the cows. Challenged by eight great Brahmins, one by one, Yājñavalkya demonstrated his superior knowledge. As a favor to the king, he allowed him to ask any question he wanted. In the ensuing dialogue, told in the “Great Forest Teaching” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad)—a text dating from the seventh century B.C.E. and the oldest of the ancient Indian scriptures called the Upanishads—Yājñavalkya gave the first recorded account of the nature of consciousness and its main modes or states.

The dialogue begins with the king, knowing exactly where he wants to lead the sage, asking a simple question: “What light does a person have?” Or, as it can also be translated: “What is the source of light for a person here?”“The sun,” replies the sage. “By the light of the sun, a person sits, goes about, does his work, and returns.”“And when the sun sets,” asks the king, “then what light does he have?”“He has the moon as his light,” comes the reply.“And when the sun has set and the moon has set, then what light does a person have?”“Fire,” answers the sage.

Persisting, the king asks what light a person has when the fire goes out, and he gets in reply the clever answer, “Speech.” Yājñavalkya explains: “Even when one cannot see one’s own hand, when speech is uttered, one goes toward it.” In pitch-black darkness, a voice can light your way.
The king, however, still isn’t satisfied and demands to know what light there is when speech has fallen silent. In the absence of sun, moon, fire, and speech, what source of light does a person have?

“The self (ātman),” Yājñavalkya answers. “It is by the light of the self that he sits, goes about, does his work, and returns.”This answer makes plain that the dialogue has been moving backward, from the distant, outer, and visible to the close, inner, and invisible. Nothing is brighter than the sun, or the moon at night, but they reside far away, at an unbridgeable distance. Fire lies closer to hand; it can be tended and cultivated. Speech, however, is produced by the mind. Darkness can’t negate the peculiar luminosity of language, the power of words to light up things and to close the distance between you and another. Yet speech is still external in its being as physical sound. The sun, moon, fire, and speech—we know each one by means of outer perception. The self, however, can’t be known through outer perception, because it resides at the source of perception. It isn’t the perceived, but that which lies behind the perceiving. The self dwells closest, at the maximum point of nearness. It’s never there, but always here. How could we possibly find our way around without it? How could outer sources of light reveal anything to us, if they weren’t themselves lit up by the self? And yet, precisely because the self is so intimate, it seems impossible to have any clear view of it and to know what it is.

Finally, the king is able to ask the question he has all along been aiming toward: “What is the self?”Yājñavalkya answers that the self (ātman) is the inner light that is the person (puruṣa). This light, which consists of knowledge, resides within the heart, surrounded by the vital breath. In the waking state, the person travels this world; in sleep, the person goes beyond this world. The person is his own light and is self-luminous.As this answer unfolds, it becomes clear that the “light” Yājñavalkya is talking about is what we would call “consciousness.”

Consciousness is like a light; it illuminates or reveals things so they can be known. In the waking state, consciousness illuminates the outer world; in dreams, it illuminates the dream world.It’s here, in Yājñavalkya’s answer to the king’s question about the self, that we find the first map of consciousness in written history.

Yājñavalkya explains to the king that a person has two dwellings—this world and the world beyond. Between them lies the borderland of dreams where the two worlds meet. When we rest in the intermediate state of dreams, we see both worlds. The dream state serves as an entryway to the other world, and as we move through it we see both bad things and joyful things.

In the waking state, we see the outer world lit up by the sun. Yet we also see things when we dream. Where do they come from, and what makes them visible? What is the source of the light illuminating things in the dream state?

Yājñavalkya explains that in the dream state we take materials from the entire world—this world and the other one—break them down, and put them back together again. Although the dream state lies between the two worlds, it’s a state of our own making. The person creates everything for himself in dreams and illuminates it all with his own radiance:When he falls asleep, he takes with him the material of this all-containing world, himself breaks it up, himself re-makes it. He sleeps by his own radiance, his own light. Here the person becomes lit by his own light.











¿Negarías la existencia del amor solo por lo impreciso e improbable que es llevar a cabo una medición del mismo?

















(para los monógamos de Spotify, aquí está el playlist en vuestra plataforma favorita ;)


























CHROMATIC RHAPSODY



(random musings about the history, science and mysticsm of color)
by Ana Montiel



The history of humanity could easily be told through color. Rudimentary pigments made out of charred bones, green tones that would turn people insane and are suspected of making ill Napoleon hiself, fluorescent hues made to be used and abused at rave parties… color is always there, anywhere you look.

No blue pigment had been discovered for more than 200 years (since the birth of what we know as cobalt blue), until recently when out of the blue—pardon the silly pun— YInMn was discovered at the University of Oregon.

Crayola has organized a contest to choose a name for this new tone in order to include it at their crayon sets. What a tremendous responsibility to name a new color. So many possibilities!

From the red hues used in cave paintings, made out of grinded mineral pigments like iron oxide or hematite, to the recent red iPhone; as Josef Albers said, if one says 'red' and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun. Pablo Picasso


In the substractive color model (pigment mixing), yellow is a primary color, but when we talk about additive color (RGB or light colors), it is always a secondary color. Yellows and ochres have been used since ancient times. The yellow horse featured in the Lascaux cave paintings is around 17300 years old. Yellow color was associated with gold in Ancient Egypt, both of them were perceived as symbols of divinity and eternal life.

Blue is darkness made visible. Derek Jarman


The glorious arrival of lapis lazuli mineral to Venice during the Renaissance. What a moment, that in which a boat carrying the most vibrant blue ever seen arrived in Venice (the same blue that nowadays we refer to as ultramarine). Giotto used lapis for his frescos at the Scrovegni Chapel in such an extraordinary way that blue was elevated and recognised as the most divine and celestial hue of them all. With the positioning of blue as the most sacred colour, the Church tried to control lapis pigment as much as it could, using its influence so that its cost would even surpass the price of gold, or prohibiting the use of blue in anything but virgin Mary’s clothes.  

Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration. Marc Chagall


Many books about color have been written. There are scientific ones, like Theory of Color by Goethe or Isaac Newton’s writings; others display tencencies towards mysticism (like the ones by Rudolf Steiner or Johannes Itten), and some exude a very intimate spirit, like Derek Jarman’s Chroma. The ode to color that the British artist wrote towards the end of his life, while battling with his illness and loosing his sight. Chroma is raw and poetic in equal measures, packed with historical facts and valuable information.

Learning from books and teachers is like traveling by carriage, so we are told in the Veda. But, the carriage will serve only while one is on the highroad. He who reaches the end of the highroad will leave the carriage and walk afoot. Johannes Itten


My occupation and my passion make me reflect very often about the use of colour. How much is intuition and how much is technique? Colour diagrams always captivated me. So beautiful, and how satisfactory it is to look at all those chromatic gradients so well organised! Despite all this (now that we are among friends) I must too confess that the more the years pass, the less sense I can make of all those systems. Sometimes, I sense order as fear of chaos, when said chaos could simply be an order that we ourselves don’t yet understand. Systems and labels work well and are pretty useful, but in my opinion they carry the risk of generating restrictive beliefs. Producing judgements that can sometimes flirt with binary thinking that doesn’t recognise a cumulus of circumstances or shades of gray.

Diagrams apart, I believe that the key thing we can all do in order to work with colour is to observe—calmly, intently—to educate our retinas constantly. It is also important not to believe in natural born wisdom, not to limit ourselves to what the education system teaches us, and go through our daily lives with an attitude of observation that will enrich us little by little with firsthand knowledge.


The aim of our studies is to prove that color is the most relative means of artistic expression. Josef Albers


Josef Albers’ writings about color are usually labeled as “color theory”, even though he tried to avoid that label repeatedly. During his years as a teacher, Albers encouraged his students to experiment with the chromatic spectrum through a series of exercises so that themselves could learn about it through trial and error. Josef Albers always mantained that practise went before theory, and that with his teachings about color, he was sharing a filosophy and a way of seeing more than a theory per se.

Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet. Paul Klee


A small percent of tetrachromatic humans exists around the world at the moment. Tetrachromats possess four different types of  cone cells in the eye to perceive light and color. This lucky portion of the population can distinguish up to 10 different tonalities in the rainbow, meanwhile most of the people can only distinguish between 5 and 7 hues in it. Luckily there are new technologies to help our vision progress that don’t depend on human evolution, like for example, an experimental eyedrop treatment made out of a chlorophyll analog that induces temporary night vision. Biohacking to the rescue!

The visible spectrum has no exact limits; the average human eye can perceive wavelenghts from about 390 to 750 nm. Most of the light wavelenghts are colorless and the tonalities are created inside our eyes. What would happen if thanks to evolution or with the help of biotechnology we could amplify our perception of the spectrum? Would we be able to see colours we can’t even imagine? How would they be?























FIELDS:


Inner Monuments


I'll be presenting an site specific installation at Aparador Cuchilla (Aldo Chaparro's Studio) on August 24th, 2017. Mexico City.

If you want to attend to the opening, please rsvp to this e-mail address: rsvp(at)aldochaparrostudio.com























Play it on shuffle mode.

This way the forces of life will select the most suitable order for you ;)













ABOUT

THE  MULTIVERSE SERIES








This project started in the Autumn of 2015.

Camille Walala, Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk, Lakwena Maciver, Supermundane, Anthony Burrill, Charlie Patterson, David Shillinglaw, Hattie Stewart, Morag Myerscough and myself had been invited by They Made This to produce some artwork to be shown at Protein Gallery and auctioned at Christie's. All the profits were to go to Refuge charity.

Originally, I was planning to do a couple of Visual Mantras paintings. Playing with repetition as a way towards trance/meditation, but the restriction of the already decided pattern didn't resonate with me anymore. I felt the process of colouring more or less inside the lines quite rigid and didn't want to move forward with it.

At that point I was reading a few books about Quantum Physics, Dark Matter, Multiverses, supermassive black holes and all that. All mindbending and spellbinding in equal measures :)

I came up with the analogy of a Visual Mantras pattern as a framework that could represent the starting point at the beginning of a person's life—similar to a Natal Chart in astrology—and I started playing with how much this pattern/set of parameters could vary depending on the choices/events at this person's life—progressions and transits in astrology.

I compared it to the Multiverse theory. So many possibilities and realities can be happening at the same time to the different selves of an individual!
















THE MORE WE KNOW,
THE MORE THERE IS.



The Universe keeps expanding, the same can happen with our hearts and brains.

Let's grow together and acknowledge there's always something else to try, learn and love.

















OF TOTOROS AND COLOCASIAS


(TEXT ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE PLANT MAGAZINE)

Some could say I moved to Mexico under a spell. All happened very fast: in two and a half months to be precise. I never paid much attention to this country, but when I visited it for a week in 2014, I fell in love with it hard and fast. I got back to London, separated from my husband, gave away 98 per cent of the stuff I owned (now that I think about it, maybe some of you, dear readers, might have one of the hundreds of books and vinyl records I donated to the Oxfam in Dalston? If that’s the case, send them my regards!), and promplty bought another plane ticket to return.

I landed in Mexico City late September 2014, with two bags, my senior cat and a lot of excitement. Months of fun and newness followed. Plenty of long walks too. I especially enjoyed witnessing how greenery takes over modern architecture with such beauty and ease in some neighbourhoods.

Despite me relishing endless megalopolitan pleasures, life had other plans for me. All of a sudden I found myself relocating to Tepoztlán, with a new love(r) and my aforementioned cat. “Tepoz” is a charming village one hour away from Mexico City, surrounded by mountains and spiced with a rich fauna and flora. When I speak of fauna I’m including the weird and wonderful humans that inhabit this area. Hippies that came in the 1960s and never left, ufologists waiting for sightings (quite common in the area), artists, ecowarriors, yogis, bon vivants and all the locals that have been here for generations and keep things as authentic as it gets.

Upon arrival, I rented a house from which you can see the aztec pyramid up the mountain. It came unfurnished, so I started to make experimental furniture with concrete blocks, pieces of wood and stuff like that. I didn’t want to start hoarding as much stuff as I had while in London or Barcelona, but plants were a different story, they always are.



                             

The garden already had a good selection of endemic vegetation: avocado, guava, loquat and lemon trees surrounded by bird-of- paradise plants and very tall Monsteras, but I wanted to adopt houseplants for the interior.

Here in Mexico I see the grownup version of the houseplants I used to have during my London years. At this scale they are like giants, dancing with the wind and producing alien looking owers. I love the gentle graphic beauty of the elephant ear plant. Besides its great looks, taro is a food staple in many countries and revered for its health benefits. I bought my first Alocasias and Colocasias at Viveros Yautepec, a massive plant nursery that is full of wonders. They even play classical music to the plants on speakers scattered over the expanse of the site! You can find all kinds of greenery there: ornamental, edible, tropical and whatnot.

I always get very carried away and our old Volkswagen van turns into a jungle-à-porter on the return trip. Oh! What joy to look behind you and see a flock of happy plants: roomies to be! Colocasia’s size appeals greatly to my inner child. I often catch myself fantasizing about waiting for a cat-bus while being sheltered from the rain by a taro-leaf umbrella, as if I was in some kind of My Neighbour Totoro alternate reality. Maybe we could breed an even bigger variety of Colocasia gigantea and use its leaves as temporary camping tents, experimental clothing or boat sails? So many possibilities: so much fun.
.












UTOPIA ASCENDING #1



Freethinking can be risky, and let’s be honest, requires more effort than following others’ ideas, but at this point in our society it is fundamental.

We need to think and choose for ourselves, trying to avoid being influenced by external inputs but instead trying to be guided by our thoughts, experience, feelings or intution.

Trying this, can bring a wondrous sense of empowerment, yet at the same time, can be unsettling. If you “fail” all the liability is yours, there’s no one to point your finger at while saying—it was his/her/their idea!.
Now, more than ever the time has come for us to question everything, analyze, compare and come up with what makes more sense to each of us. Any information that comes from the media, any random advice, any prescription… all are impregnated on the background or interests of someone else. They can be more or less aligned with yours but better reflect on all the facts before joining any of the factions.

In these times of information overload, it is crucial to discern what deserves our attention, what is relevant to us and what doesn’t apply. Choice is a powerful gift, but we need to remind ourselves that all power comes with responsibility.
























UNDER
THE
STARS





A playlist
for this week's
penumbral lunar eclipse.














Which one do you prefer, your online self or your offline self?

The first one is a fiction.
Attractive yet incomplete.

A projection curated by ourselves. Easy to love but illusory.

What about the offline one?

Human. Imperfect yet whole. Complete, with its light and its darkness. More difficult to love and accept unconditionally, true. But not accepting it can be like deniying our essences.


Compassion and a bit of humour can be key to embrace our "flaws". Not taking things too seriously and trusting the process of life more.

Sometimes, when I catch me being too harsh with myself I ask myself this question: Would I be this exigent/critical with someone I love (a dear friend, my partner, etc) in this situation?
Answer is always no.

Being more gentle and understanding with ourselves can be a good first step towards more self-acceptance, love and fun in our lives.



















My intention with this journal is to share ideas with you.

It is a work in progress in all possible ways, let’s see how it evolves :)

Welcome and thank you for being part of this.

Yours,

Ana.



Mark