Popo de Paris
Wilson Díaz+Pablo León de la Barra
Opening: Thursday, September 18, 2003. 8.00pm
through October 11
La Rebeca has moved to Teusaquillo.
E S P A C I O L A R E B E C A
Travs. 17 #36-21 Bogotá, Colombia tel. 245 1040
March 28, 2003
Pablo León de la Barra: My dear Wilson. Michèle wrote me, asking me for a text about our exhibition in La Rebeca. I thought some sort of conversation between you and me would be appropriate. What do you think? It would begin something like this: Wilson, do you remember how we came up with the idea to do the video in Paris?
April 5, 2003
Wilson Díaz: Pablo, let me think a moment…I remember we were joking around (as usual) in Bogota in September or October, 2002 and going on about architecture, travels, characteristics and experiences of those large cities we’d been to and the theme of Paris came up and how the streets there are filled with dog mess, and we probably arrived at this theme because, when you have time to ramble on half seriously, half jokingly as we always do when we get together, you inevitably arrive at observations like this one—that every morning Paris is full of fresh dog mess…the waste management there is very efficient, if Paris were located in Colombia it would be swimming in shit within one week.
WD: Pablo, what was it that you said to me about the dogs in Paris not really being dogs? And I’d also like to ask you: as an architect…how do you feel about so much dog mess on the sidewalks of a city as monumental as Paris?
April 25, 2003
PLB: "The dogs of Paris are not dogs"—that phrase is very apt. I don’t remember saying it, but then again I’m always saying a lot things. It has to do with the idea of the domesticated dog as an extension of the owner’s personality. Because, in reality they’re not really dogs but living accessories. It’s funny, in Mexico City, where there are so many street dogs, there’s not so much dog mess (although it’s also true that one doesn’t walk around that much in Mexico), and so it has to do with this Parisian, middle class/bourgeois activity of taking the dog out for a walk. Following this line of thought, "Nor is Paris really Paris"—or the representation and museumification of a city. According to Koolhaas (the Dutch architect), "Paris is Disneyland," a city made for tourists, which is why I find this flaw so incredible: every day Paris wakes up covered in excrement, and every time anyone goes to Paris, they end up stepping in it. I also don’t remember exactly how we came up with the idea to do this video about stepping in poop in Paris, which is why I asked you. What I do remember is that we were in Paris in December…, and that I wanted to invite you to London to do something with 24/7—the gallery I co-direct with Beatriz López and Sebastián Ramírez…In reality the plan was double: in Paris we would step in dog poop and in London we would go from pub to pub drinking beer and getting drunk and vomiting outside of every pub on the way to the next one. That’s very British—the British get off work at 6 and go drinking until the pub closes at 11. On the way home afterwards (and especially on Fridays), they end up puking all over the sidewalk. Walking around at night you keep having to sidestep all this puke, which is very similar to what happens in Paris but with dog mess. There are different types of vomits depending on what was eaten, one could even conduct a study about all this puke. In the end you didn’t come to London (because it’s almost always impossible for Colombians to get travel visas) and so I went back to Paris two months later so that we could make the video.
PLB: So Wilson, have you seen the video yet?
WD: Yes Pablo. What struck me about the video was a certain melancholic air it has, I liked the video a lot, the speed worked really well because it accentuates the silence, a certain ceremoniousness and sobriety.
PLB: Yes, I also liked the way it turned out, very romantic. Have you thought about how we’ll show it in La Rebeca?