306 Steps in Guanajuato

I spent a month in the beautiful city of Guanajuato, Mexico.  People have lived in the area for thousands of years but it took on its current form in the 1500s when the Spanish colonized the region to mine the rich deposits of gold and silver found in the mountains.  I felt like a big American tourist when I brought my camera into the town to create some documentation of my experience in Guanajuato; I just didn't feel comfortable observing another culture in this way.  So I decided to shoot things other than people.  I became interested in two features of the city: the seemingly endless, steep staircases that constitute most of the streets of this mountainside city and the network of tunnels under the city that were once mines.   I shot video using my Flip camera and my new HD camera. I created a work with the staircase material, 306 Steps in Guanajuato, that was on view in November 2012 at a solo exhibition at the University of Guanajuato.



306 Steps in Guanajuato
varies: one or two-channel video installation, 2012

This video projection piece shows the 306 steps of the staircase streets from downtown Guanajuato, Mexico up to El Pipila, an enormous monument at the top of one of the mountains onto which this city is built. El Pipila was a hero of the Mexican War for Independence; his is an awesome story you should really read.  

This work grows out of my Minute Movies practice, as early one morning while I was taking my morning walk up to El Pipila, I suddenly had the idea to document each step of the staircase.  It took me almost two hours to crawl up the steps while recording each stair.  I then processed the video material to communicate the sense of moving up and down this very long set of stairs.